The Tata group has been international in its approach to business from its inception. The Founder, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, began his business career in international trade in China and England. The businesses he later established in India measured up to international standards and used world-class technology. Tata Exports (now Tata International) was set up in 1962 and currently Tata companies export their products and services to over 85 countries.
In 2011-12 the Tata group had international sales of $58.5 billion, 58 percent
of its total revenues, with the UK and the US being the two main overseas revenue
For some companies, focus on the domestic Indian market remains the priority. For others, it is developing a presence in international markets in terms of trading and distribution of their products. Then there are Tata companies, increasing in number, setting up greenfield projects, making acquisitions and creating joint ventures in overseas geographies and becoming an integral part of the development and economy of those geographies.
Beginning with Tata Tea’s acquisition of Tetley in 2000, Tata companies made several significant overseas acquisitions including Corus by Tata Steel, Jaguar and Land Rover by Tata Motors and Brunner Mond by Tata Chemicals – all in the UK; Daewoo Commercial Vehicles by Tata Motors in South Korea; NatSteel in Singapore and Millennium Steel in Thailand by Tata Steel; and General Chemical Industrial Products by Tata Chemicals, Eight O’ Clock Coffee by Tata Tea and Tyco Global Network by Tata Communications in the US.
In 2004, Ratan Tata, then Chairman of Tata Sons, summed up the Tata group’s efforts to internationalise its operations thus: “I hope that a hundred years from now we will spread our wings far beyond India, that we become a global group, operating in many countries, an Indian business conglomerate that is at home in the world, carrying the same sense of trust that we do today.”