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Free «House of Tata» Essay Sample

In the recent years, the market environment for most firms across the globe has drastically changed. This can be caused by technological changes, reduced barriers of entry, increased competition among firms operating in the same field and other notable factors. For instance, the emergence of Web 2.0 has made it easier for smaller firms, having much less capital, to compete at the same platform as well-established businesses because of the fact that all business transactions can be carried out through online activities. This has resulted into World 2.0, where there is integration of markets, availability of new labor pools and other notable factors. Consequently, firms have been able to globalize benefiting from economies of scale as a result of reduced operational costs and a higher customer base. As argued by Richter (2007), the growth and expansion of most global firms have highly been hampered by the recent financial crisis, which originated from such well-established economies as the UK, the U.S., Japan, among others. The financial crisis has drastically reduced the buying power of most existing and potential customers in regard with most firms, especially multinational ones.

Some of the most affected companies are the ones dealing with manufacturing processes, airlines and others. This can be caused by high prices of fuel in the international market, which have almost tripled to approximately $ 130 per barrel for the last five years. Consequently, the profitability of manufacturing companies has been drastically reduced. It forced firms to enter into merger agreements benefiting from economies of scale. However, for most companies originating from the Asian and Asia-Pacific region, the rapid growth of countries’ economies has highly boosted the sustainability of these firms since 1980s. This can be caused by strong monetary and fiscal policies set by respective governments. Some of them include reduced taxation of firms, healthy infrastructures, such as roads, telecommunication and others. Based on the above arguments, the question how Tata Group, one of the biggest and well-respected business houses in India, has acquired global footprint is carefully evaluated in the paper.



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Background to the House of Tata

The Tata Group, headquartered in Mumbai, is one of the multinational conglomerate companies in India. As noted by Richter (2007), the Tata Group is one of the India’s most respected and largest conglomerates by revenue and market capitalization. For instance, in the FY 2006, the firm had market capitalization of $46.9 billion and a revenue of Rs 967,229 million ($21.9 billion), equivalent to 2.7% of India’s GDP. The group comprises at least 96 operating firms in seven sectors, namely services, consumer products, communication and information systems, materials, chemicals, and engineering. It was founded in the mid 19th century by Jamsetji Tata, when India gained independence from Britain, Indian colonial masters, business opportunities were strategically aligned with the overall objectives of the country, a factor that drastically resulted into the rapid growth of the firm. Richter (2007) indicates that since its inception, the House of Tata was one of the leading companies in India. As a result, it could open the first luxury hotel in 1903, a private steel firm in 1907, airlines and a software firm in 1932 and 1968 respectively. The commitment of the company to the country was clearly reflected in its notable charitable contributions. For instance, Tata Sons, one of the promoter firms serving as a group’s holding company, was 66% owned by two charitable trusts. These charitable organizations founded programs in such spheres as arts, economic development, education, medicine, scientific research and others. It is notable that the portfolio of the Tata Group immensely expanded during the tenure of JRD to 300 companies in 1991, from 13 companies in 1938.

This includes associate and subsidiary companies. Thompson (2001) indicates that the business of most companies overlaps as a result of their entrepreneurial activity, as well as independence in their expansion programs. In 1991, under the leadership of Ratan Tata, the firm was forced to streamline its portfolio and improve competitiveness of operating firms, such as motor and steel companies. Consequently, the group could make all businesses be economic–value–added positive. This was caused by the firm’s ability to divest and reorganize some of its operating companies in seven business sectors. This was a factor that led to the rapid growth of the firm. Later, the group came up with a brand equity schemeforcing all companies to pay for the use of the Tata brand. The resources obtained out of this venture were used to promote the group among other notable companies. Generally, from the financial year 1995, the overall market value of the companies of the group increased by almost 631% to approximately $60 billion in 2007. As the country’s biggest private employer, with approximately 300,000 employees, the Tata Group gained reputation as one of the revolutionary firms. For instance, in 2009, the Tata Group was ranked as the 11th most reputable firm globally by the Reputation Institute. Further, in 2007, the organization was honored with the Carnegie medal of philanthropy in recognition of the firm’s outstanding history of activities of philanthropy across the globe. Based on the market value, the firm was ranked as the wealthiest group in June 2011, with $98.71 billion.

Importance of Globalization

Thompson (2001) argues that nowadays one of the main issues facing business environment is globalization. Robson (1997) indicates that globalization is the increased unification of global economic orders by reducing export fees, barriers to international trade tariffs, import quota and others. Richter (2007) points out that globalization is a process of integration and interaction among people, governments, companies and various nations. It is a process that is driven by such factors as as investments and international trade, mostly aided by information technologies. The main aim of globalization is to raise material wealth, services, and goods through international divisions in labor efficiencies, which are catalyzed by competition, specialization and international relations. Further, globalization can be described as a process, as a result of which which societies, cultures, and regional economies have become integrated through such aspects as trade, transport, communication and other notable factors. However, it is worthwhile noting that globalization is not a new phenomenon brought about by technological development. For instance, by the mid 17th century people and organizations had sold and bought goods and services from a long distance, especially in the Asian region. In the recent years, the invention of Web 2.0 applications, such as Face book, Twitter, MySpace, blogs, and micro-blogs has highly enhanced the development of globalization.

As clearly seen in the lecture slides, the issue of globalization of firms, such as the Tata Group, has been highly facilitated by the communication revolution, as well as the breakdown of artificial barriers to investment and trade. As earlier indicated, globalization forced such companies as the Tata Group, to deal with the aspect of fierce competition from emerging companies, which leverage on technology to maximize profits. There are numerous issues, with which businesses have to deal, as a result of globalization. Some of them include marketing, human resources, taxation, business practices, capital, laws, and entrepreneurship among others. Further, there exist international trade barriers, such as legal-political, socio-cultural, economic challenges and others. Generally, globalization has led to the rapid growth of multinational corporations (businesses operating in many countries) and transnational corporations (businesses, which operate in the global marketplace) (Thompson 2001).

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Globalization of the Tata Group

The Tata group started to take globalization efforts in the early 2000, with the acquisition of motor vehicle models by such foreign companies as the Tetley group, Land Rover and Jaguar, which previously were British-owned. There are different strategies that TATA has used to acquire a global footprint. The main methods that TATA has used to gain international market entry are mergers and acquisitions. The table below shows a list of the major acquisitions by TATA since the first one in 2000.

Table 1. Major Acquisitions

Year TATA company Acquired company country Stake acquired Value ($)  
February 2000 TATA tea and TATA sons TETLY group United Kingdom 100% 433.6 million  
November 2001 TATA sons (TCS) Computer Maintenance corporation India      
February 2002 TATA sons VSNL India      
September 2002 Indian Hotels Regent Hotels India 100% 93 million  
December 2002 TATA Teleservices Hughes Telecom India India 50.83% 178.8 million  
July 2003 VSNL Gempex United States      
January 2004 TCS AFSS India India      
March 2004 TATA Motors  Daewoo Commercial vehicle co. Korea 100% 102 million  
March 2004 VSNL Dishnet DSL (ISP Division)  India      
March 2004 Aviation Software Dev India        
June 2004 TATA Chemicals Hind Lever Chemicals India Amalgamation    
July 2004 TCS Phoenix global Solutions India India      
November 2004 VSNL Tyco Global network United States   130 million  
February 2005 TATA Steel NatSteel Asia Singapore 100% 285.4 million  
February 2005 TATA Motors Hispano Carrocera Spain 21% 16.1 million  
March 2005 TATA Chemicals Indo Maroc Phosphore Morocco Equal partner 38 million  
April 2005 TATA Motors TATA Finance India Merger    
July 2005 Indian Hotels The Pierre U.S Lease 9 million  
July 2005 TATA Industries Indigene Pharmaceuticals U.S < 30%    
July 2005 VSNL Teleglobe International U.S   239 million  
August 2005 TATA Technologies INCAT International United Kingdom      
August 2005 Trent Landmark India 76% 24.09 million  
Sep 2005 TATA AutoComp Systems Wundsch Weindger Germany   8.6 million  
Sep 2005 VSNL TATA Power Broadband India      
Oct 2005 Tata Tea Good Earth Corp. and Fmali herb. U.S 100% 31 million  
Oct 2005 TCS Financial Network services Australia      
Oct 2005 TCS Pearl group U.K      
Nov 2005 TCS ComiCrom Chile      
Dec 2005 Indian Hotels W Hotel Sydney Australia 100% 29 million  
Dec 2005 TATA chemicals Bruner Mond U.K 63.5% 111.6 million  
Jan 2006 TATA Metaliks Usha Ispat ( Red Unit) India 100% 26 million  
Jan 2006 TATA Interactive Tertia Udosoft Gmbh Germany 90 %    
Jan 2006 TATA Interactive Tertia Udosoft AG Switzerland 90.38 %    
Feb 2006 TCS TATA Infotech India      
March 2006 TATA chemicals Brunner Mond U.K 36.5 % 65.4 million  
April 2006 TATA Steel Millennium Steel Thailand 67.11 % 167 million  
May 2006 TATA Tea JEMCA Czech republic   21.7 million  
June 2006 TATAT Coffee Eight O’clock coffee U.S 100 % 220 million  
August 2006 TATA Tea and TATA sons Energy Brands U.S 30 % 677 million  
Sep 2006 TATA Tea Joekel Tea Packers South Africa 33.3 % 1.72 million  
Oct 2006 TCS TKS Technosoft Switzerland 75% 80.2 million  
November 2006 TCS Total Comm. Solutions Australia 100% 11.6 million  
Jan 2007 Indian Hotels Ritz Carlton Boston U.S 100 % 170 million  
March 2007 TATA Steel Rawmet Industries India 100 % 23.1 million  
April 2007 TATA Steel Corus U.K 100 % 12.1 billion  
April 2007 Indian Hotels Hotel Compton place U.S 100 % 58 million  
April 2007 Noetel Transtel Telecoms South Africa 100 % 33 million  
April 2007 TATA Power Coastal Gujarat power India      
June 2007 TATA Tea Mount Everest mineral water   25.7 %    
June 2007 TATA Power PT Kaltim Prime Coal Indonesia 30 % 1.1 billion  
July 2007 Indian Hotels Innovative Foods India 70%    

(Richter 2007)

The Group Structure of the TATA Family

The TATA family comprises many companies in seven categories. The main owners are TATA Sons, Jardine Matheson Group, and other TATA companies. There are the following categories, which include engineering, services, materials, energy, chemicals, information systems, and communications, as well as consumer products (Timmons 2008). The table below shows companies listed under each category and their contribution to the group revenue in the FY 2007.

Table 2. The listed companies

category Main companies Revenue percentage FY 07
Engineering TATA Motors, TATA Auto comp systems, Voltas 30.1%
Services Indian Hotels, TATA Asset mgmt. TATA Realty and Infrastructure 7.3 %
Materials TATA Steel, TATA Advanced Materials 21.4 %
Energy TATA Power, TATA BP Solar TATA Petrodyne 5.7%
Chemicals TATA chemicals, Rallis India, Advinus Therapeutics 5.1%
Information Systems and communications TATA Consultancy Services, VSNL,TATA Teleservices, NELCO 25.1 %
Consumer Products Trent, Titan Industries ,Tata Tea 5.3 %

(Sriwastawa 2006)

The table shows that the most profitable division is engineering. It may be noted that TATA acquired motor vehicle companies, including Ashok Leyland, Daimler Chrysler, Land Rover, and Jaguar. The automotive department is in the engineering division, and therefore, these purchases reflect a positive decision. The second best revenue earner is information systems, followed by the material division, with which purchased Corus and Tetly groups deal. Again this reflects positive changes in the growth after purchases.

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TATA SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis is a crucial tool for determining the strengths and weaknesses of a business or a company (Huggler 2007). Through its more than 130 years in existence, TATA has developed its own resources, products and services, strategies and a business model. It has the following strengths:

Raw Materials

TATA has traditionally operated in India, where it concentrated its efforts and strategies on taking advantage of India’s vast resources. Some of the traditional ventures of TATA were metal fabrication and automobiles. Apart from the domestic market, TATA is always careful to merge with or acquire other companies, as opposed to establish itself organically in other domains. In this way, the TATA strategy served well to get not just the market share and expertise of the acquired company, but also its resource base and favorable negotiation capacities (Hazarika 2009).


The traditional Indian market is very populous having sustained TATA’s organic growth for more than a century. Today, more than two thirds of TATA’s revenue comes from its vast investments and ventures outside India, but the company owes its roots and initial growth exclusively to the Indian people and market. In India, TATA is the biggest private employer, as well as the number one taxpayer. The firm globally employs more than half a million people.


TATA has vast experience in the steel and vehicle manufacturing sectors. This experience serves well to give it an upper hand in fabrication, product development, innovative capabilities, and ability to cut favorable bargains during its production stages as a result of mass production of cheap dependable products.

Other Factors

Other factors that favor TATA’s growth include its Indian micro-environment with its inherent Indian culture, which the TATA’s management team is a part of. Strategy formulators and product developers are more likely to understand requirements of the market because they are a part of the nation. The TATA Group has also traditionally held a very strict business model of hard work and a dynamic product range to give variety and quality, and to put interests of the customer at focus. Its philanthropic ventures are also a power front in terms of advertising, whereby TATA Sons, a major component of the TATA group, is largely owned by public trusts (Richter 2007).

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Weaknesses of the TATA Group


Since the traditional market becomes exhausted, TATA is forced to look elsewhere. The major weakness emerges in its very limited understanding of the macro-environment. TATA has mostly relied on exports over the years. Competition on a global scale has progressively introduced new challenges to market penetration and brand growth. For instance, outside India and developing countries, TATA lacks sufficient brand recognition in terms of automobiles. It has negligible sales in the U.S. and other major economies. However, with the acquisition of the Ford-owned Jaguar and Land Rover Company, , the TATA group may focus on taking advantage of existing brands and building on the already existing platform (Maulik 2007).


TATA lacks sufficient overseas arrangements for effective distribution of its products. It should focus on international marketing, vigorous advertisement, and value addition to its new products. It already has sound customer satisfaction policies, which will aid in the formulation and development of new products. It could also approach established companies in foreign markets and merge with them, and hence ensure easier marketing.

Opportunities of the TATA Group


The TATA Group has good opportunities to increase its exports through better policy implementation, as well as sound export arrangements with foreign companies in the target markets. The group already has a dynamic range of products for different economies, with its principal niche being the lower income segment of developing nations. Its low-priced products, such as the TATA Nano Mini automobiles, may experience better sales if better marketing is done, since it targets low-income earners. Its steel products may also be in high demand in developing countries.

New Products and New Markets

As the global platform changes, new trends demand new products. It is inevitable for a company to be flexible and innovative in order to remain on the top and beat the competition. The TATA Group may take advantage of shifting technological demands of low and median income economies to come up with new products. Decentralization and small scale production of products by large factories force technological giants out of business. A new strategy is a paradigm shift in favor of speciation and value addition, not just cost benefits that come with mass production (Osterwalder and Tucci 2005).

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Threats to the TATA Group

Free Market and Low Barriers

As market liberalization is enhanced in a global scale through financial and trade deregulation, more companies gain easier access to markets previously restricted. This liberalization will aid many market players in terms of market penetration and growth. However, it may also result in a disadvantage for companies traditionally dominant in certain markets. For instance, the entry of mostly cheaper and equally good Chinese products in the Indian market, as well as other international markets, where TATA traditionally has reigned, may threaten TATA’s market dominance. Globalization may also hinder TATA’s continued dominance, since new products will keep evolving, and the company will gain easy access to its market segments both in India and overseas. Such emerging economies as China have been already taking up markets traditionally held by TATA in developing countries.

TATA’s Globalization Strategy

A strategy entails all processes aimed at coordinating and driving an entire organization towards the realization of a pre-set number of objectives or goals (Sutherland and Canwell 2004). In order to expand its interests in the global trade platform, TATA has adopted various policies in different regions. Usually, there are various methods that companies use to acquire foreign markets. These methods include acquisitions, mergers, licensing, and subsidiaries among others. TATA has mainly adopted acquisition as its major method. The purchase of Corus, a major steel plant in the UK, was one of its major overseas acquisitions. Ratan Tata, the group’s chairman, stated in the media interview that the group’s strategic policy is to expand to territories, where the group may have a meaningful presence. It has a strong focus on steel products, because of its firm belief that steel owners will have a strong foothold in the future markets. Another major focus of the group is securing access to raw materials.

This strategy is well-placed, since TATA is a major automobile manufacturer, and may benefit from low-costs of production adding value to its steel plants, from which the company obtains raw materials for the automobile industry (Thompson 2001). In addition, the group made great efforts to ensure that materials needed for production are produced on-site in order to avoid hefty transportation costs and processes. For instance, thhis is shown in the purchase of Corus UK steelworks, as well as the Tetly group. The products of these factories can be utilized within the same geographical region, a factor that can significantly reduce transportation costs for TATA.

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Another reason for acquisitions is to save on exportation costs and avoid market penetration barriers, such as import duties, bloc restrictions, and embargos. TATA focuses on producing materials in the destined market, thereby gaining privileges of a local producer. In regard with acquisitions, TATA does not need to worry about brand recognition and prestige, since the name of its products and their quality do not change. A famous example is the purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover. The current buyer is just as satisfied as the one, who has bought these products before TATA acquired the Ford company division, but the profits now go to TATA (Meghani 2004).

Strategic Capabilities and Resources of the TATA Group

TATA has both tangible and intangible resources, by means of which it implements its globalization strategy (Ritcher, 2007). A key value of the TATA’s strategy is to bring quality to customers. In order to do this, the company uses cost efficiency as a strategic capability. To TATA, the source of cost efficiency is economies of scale, the cost of supplies, as well as the experience in product design (Robson 1997). For instance, TCS (Tata Cost Efficiency) has a solid experience in the IT industry. Further, TATA has a competitive human resource division that ensures visionary leadership. The only skepticism about TCS is its lack of specific focus on certain goods and preference to produce a wide range of IT solutions. This may necessarily make the company compromise the quality of products. According to TATA’s website, its major profit generators are automobile, technology, chemical, and pharmaceutical divisions. Therefore, the focus of the firm is laid on expanding these divisions into new and enlarging markets, such as Africa, Latin America, and East Asia. According to Sutherland and Canwell (2004), those, companies, which had previously focused on organic growth in their traditional markets, became aware that there was neither a potential, nor a scale to allow sustained growth. Hence, they were forced to go global.

TATA divisions that rely on economies of scale to enhance value addition and cost efficiency include TATA motors, TATA steel, TATA BP solar India, TATA power, TATA petrodyne (Oil and Gas), Rallis India, TATA chemicals, and TATA pigments. Divisions that rely on experience are TATA Quality Management Services, TATA services, the strategic management group, TATA asset management group, financial services, TATA Investment Corporation, and TATA consultancy. The product design division relies on the expertise and cost efficiency generated by TAL Manufacturing Solutions, Telco Construction Company, TRF, TATA projects, TCE consulting engineers, and TATA technologies. The supply cost division is aided by the TACCO supply chain management (Vaswani 2007).

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TATA Business Model and Strategic Position

A business model is a tool explaining e various elements and their inter-relationships in a business venture in a waythat allows for the formulation of the business logic. It focuses on the explanation of the infrastructure of a firm, as well as how it adds value to a customer base though creating, producing and marketing products to create a sustainable revenue (Sutherland and Canwell 2004). Both the Porter’s SWOT analysis and the Boston Consultant Group (BCG)’s matrix can predict TATA’s current position in the form of a strategy. According to the BCG matrix, an industry can have players in four categories: high market share/high profit, high market share/low profit, low market share/high profit and low market share/low profit. The table below illustrates the relation.

Table 3. TATA Business Model

Stars- High market share- High profit









Engineering services

Cash Cows- High market share- Low Profit




Oil and gas



Dogs- Low market share low profit


Information systems communication

(Sutherland and Canwell 2004)

From the table above one can see that TATAs ventures can be categorized according to its market share and profitability. This indicates those divisions or companies, which have the highest return and those with the least one. Sectors generating high income are also such traditional companies as those in the motor vehicle sector, as well as in the tea and chemical sector. These segments also have a high market share. The oldest ventures, such as steel, power, and gas, have been still enjoying market dominance but with reduced profitability. The reason for this is because new trends in production drift away from the traditional steel sector. Such trends include the increased use of fiber and super-plastics in place of metal. There are also emerging technologies for electricity generation, such as solar, wind and other renewable sources to substitute or complement traditional hydropower and diesel. Information system is the least profitable division, but also one with the highest potential for growth. Services divisions are classified separately because of their nature that some have no directly measurable returns of profitability.

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The Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM) was adopted in 1990 from Malcolm Baldrige to achieve business excellence. Tata Quality Management Services (TQMS) focus on the process of helping different Tata companies achieve high levels of efficiency through streamlining specific processes using the TBEM. The TBEM helps Tata companies evolve and stay at par with changing global business trends (Sutherland and Canwell 2004). In regard to a competitive advantage, the Tata strategy is efficient in keeping with growing trends and consumer demands. The company introduced low cost vehicles in the Indian market to replace two wheelers in an effort to capture the local growing market, as well as to gain a competitive advantage, a venture, which was largely a success. Such strategic decisions help the group beat competition and add to the group’s value chain to fit with its development agenda.

TATA’s Value Chain and Competitive Advantage

Tata reacts accordingly to changes in market trends. The primary advantage is the Indian population, which is the biggest single market entity with revenues above one third of the group’s total revenues. The advantage specifically refers to low costs of materials and labor, as well as to product differentiation due to diverse market segments supported by a huge market population (Stacy 1993). Because of the fact that majority of people in India, which are the main market of TATA, are low and medium income earners, the cost of production becomes vital as a determinant of prices of products, because affordability is key. Therefore, Tata’s strategy to incorporate steel, power and fabrication industries in its assets provides low-cost materials at a convenience (Roy 2005).

Table 4. Tata’s Value Chain

Stars- cost leadership










Engineering services

Cash Cows- cost focus





Oil and gas



Differentiation focus- dogs


Information systems communication

(Thompson 2001)

Tata’s value chain is independent from company’s resources, but largely dependent on a place for manufacturing. For sustainability, a good business model should contribute positively to the customer’s benefit. One of the problems facing Tata’s business model maybe group’s over-reliance on steel as a means to achieve coat leadership. This risk becomes more pronounced as trends move away from metal to cheaper and more flexible plastics and fiber. As stated by the managing director, Mr. Harsh K in 2004, Tata prides in receiving positive reviews regarding products from customers (Sutherland and Canwell 2004). As another example, Rallis India, an agrochemical company owned by Tata, consults with customers before formulating a certain product. The campaign was dubbed ‘the silent revolver’, whereby farmers were individually approached to give suggestions about a product, which they needed (Sutherland and Canwell 2004). This campaign made Rallis Indiathe most profitable agrochemical company.

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TATA’s Current Strategies

Tata’s current strategies revolve around globalization. It targets mainly automobile, steel, information services and chemical sectors, which are areas that Tata has sound background in. Major acquisitions, mergers, and partnerships are expected to target these areas. The major markets are developing countries, where the ‘no-frill’ strategy meaning low-cost value, low-value added and low-price products is likely to work. The hybrid strategy also applied by Tata seeks to develop composite products with higher value addition in comparison with competitor’s lower prices. It focuses on differentiation and higher organizational excellence and departmental integration (Kneale 2009).

Tata, India, is an appropriate example of companies that have embarked on globalization. The firm is especially relevant for globalization study, because of its unique growth conditions, special characteristics of its original large Indian population, the purchase of companies traditionally associated with highly developed and economically affluent markets, such as Jaguar and Land Rover. Further, the group has a long-standing legacy of family administration, as well as unique market entry strategies. The Tata Group provides a clear example of why the choice of globalization strategy is important because of such factors as the cost of entry, restrictions, brand perceptions, and raw materials availability. Tata has also formed mergers, as well as partnerships in its globalization process, all of which are crucial case studies. The study of Tata also offers a clear example of the influence of the market share of company’s products on its strategies and business model formulation. Other factors, which come out clearly during this study, include the choice of an international market, the choice of the time of entry, the location of entry and the mode of entry. Tata’s globalization was as rapid as it was gradual. Its soft entry modes, namely through exporting and licensing, were old and gradual, while harder entry modes, such as acquisitions and mergers, were very recent, but rapid. It provides a perfect case study of the extremities of the company’s operations and the dynamics of globalization.


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