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Indian Companies Increasing Foreign Acquisitions; More Companies "Indianized"

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Indian companies have become matured, while tough competition remains within the domestic market of the country, Indian companies are exploring more markets and adding more dimensions of competition. In the last decade we saw growing number of acquisitions by Indian company not only of smaller brands but also of much bigger and prestigious brands. In our previous article we discussed how the former colony India has been acquiring more businesses in the UK and “Indianizing” them, becoming the largest employer in the private sector of the UK. It is observed that Indian companies in a collective manner targeted UK businesses more actively, it could be unintentionally or may be some kind of nationalism. Indian companies are now equally active in the rest of the geography in the race to secure resources and technology.

In a report by Columbia University, India has gushed as the world’s 21st largest outward investor, having more than US$75 billion in foreign investment in the last decade. In another report by the Reserve Bank of India, during 2009-10 alone, the investments by domestic Indian companies in overseas joint ventures and wholly-owned subsidiaries stood impressively at US$10.3 billion.
Year 2000. One of the first major overseas acquisition by an Indian company was the acquisition of popular UK brand Tetley. Tata Tea in 2000 acquired Tetley for US$407 million. At the time of acquisition Tetley had three times the turnover of Tata Tea in India, but now it is the front runner brand of Tata Global Beverages and has made its successful presence in over 70 countries offering nearly 500 different varieties of popular tea.

Year 2003. In the year of 2003, one of the key Korean based commercial vehicle company, Daewoo was acquired by Tata Motors. Daewoo was famous for the cars Cielo and Matiz. After the acquisition Daewoo cars disappeared from Indian markets. Today Tata Daewoo is in the heavy vehicle business with its manufacturing and assembly mainly in Korea, India and Pakistan (Afzal Motors).

Year 2005. The confidence in the management of the Tata boosted so high that one by one it acquired more companies in US, South Africa and East Europe making it world’s second largest branded tea maker. US herbal and green tea brand Good Earth was bought by Tata Global Beverages in 2005.

In another move in the automobile industry Tata Motors bought one of the largest manufacturer of bus and coach cabins in Europe, Hispano Motors Carrocera in 2005. Apart from their main plant in Zaragoza, Hispano also has another facility across the Mediterranean sea in Africa, Casablanca, Morocco. Their combined capacity is to produce nearly 2.000 unites per year. With this acquisition Tata also brought a number of jobs by bringing manufacturing of Hispano bodied buses in India at ACGL plant in Goa. These buses are known as Tata Divo.

Tata Hispano
Why doesn’t Tata launch these buses in India? Variant of Tata Hispano Globus can be seen plying on the airports which lack functioning aerodrome facilities. Photo by Motor India

Later, in the same year Tata made another acquisition in the UK. UK-based Brunner Mond group and US-based General Chemical Industrial Products were back to back bought by Tata Chemicals.

Year 2006. Another US based beverages firm Eight O’ Clock Coffee was bought for US$220 million. Tata also successfully established itself in the tea markets of other small countries like Czech Republic, where it owns JEMČA which is the biggest selling tea brand in the country.

In a move to secure resources around the world, Indian companies are actively spreading their arms. A study by Ernst and Young reports that the Indian companies have advanced in recent years and have invested appreciably in securing mineral resources. For the first time, in the year 2010, India-based companies scored over Chinese counterparts in the acquisition of foreign mineral assets. To support the statement, Indian companies had invested US$4.64 billion in 2010 to acquire businesses outside India, while Chinese overseas investments declined by more than half to US$4.45 billion.

Year 2007. Tata, just after one year of making its dominating presence in the tea markets of US and UK, moved on to the next big thing, Steel! In the year 2007, ambitious Tata Steels bought a company five times bigger than itself for US$12.1 billion. At that time Corus was ranked eighth largest in the world. This pushed Tata Steel from 65th position in the world steel production to a comfortable 5th position. In an another move in the metallurgy industry by another Indian company, Aditya Birla Group acquired Canadian Novelis, an aluminum producing company, for around $6 billion by its flagship company Hindalco Industries. This acquisition has made Hindalco world’s leading aluminium rolled products producer.

Year 2008. India made notable acquisitions in the sector in which it is considered the world leader, IT sector. Indian company HCL acquired UK based enterprise solution provider Axon in mid 2008. Overall Axon group and its subsidiaries has constituted 14% of HCL Tech’s revenue of Rs 16,030 crore and net profit of Rs 1,646.5 crore proving impressively beneficial. HCL, Infosys, and Tata Consultancy Services have till date acquired large number of companies or established their centres around the world and maintain world dominance when it comes to IT.

In the same year, in one of the most surprising deal Tata Motor’s acquired prestigious British Jaguar and Land Rover auto brands. Still very few are aware that Tata Motors owns these super luxurious British automobile brands since 2008. Tata never renamed it as Tata Jaguar. Buying from the cash strapped Ford, Tata has now recorded massive net profit in JLR section.

Jaguar Land Rover Profit

Year 2009. When most of the Indian private companies were surprising the world with one after the other big acquisitions, state run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) also expanded its arm, and this time again it was UK! In January 2009, ONGC bought U.K. firm Imperial Energy for $2.1 billion. It was one of the biggest foreign acquisitions by ONGC Videsh (OVL), which is the overseas arm of ONGC. OVL successfully holds stakes in various parts of the world, notably the Gulf, Latin american and Siberia.

Year 2010. In mid 2010, In one of the largest coal mines deals by an Indian group, Adani Enterprises, in a cash and royalty deal, acquired the Australian coal assets of Linc Energy for US$2.7 billion.

In the same year, Bharati Airtel, India’s largest telco also became world’s fifth largest telecom company after acquiring African assets of Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Co., Zain. Apart from its massive Indian subscribers, this deal provided Bharati Airtel additional 180 million customers in 18 countries and annual revenue of $12.4 billion

Flowing in the spirit, Sahara India Pariwar in late 2010 controversially bought iconic Grosvenor House hotel in London for 470 million pounds (around Rs 3,250 crore), which gave it a considerable stronghold in the global hospitality business. Sahara India Pariwar had been losing businesses in India, Sahara airways, one of them. Sahara is also known for sponsoring various Indian and Bangladeshi sports team.

Talking about sports, Venky, flagship company of Venkateshwara Hatcheries Group bought Blackburn Rovers, 135-year old English premier division football club which however could not keep club’s fans happy.

Pedro Moreno de los Ríos, partner at Parangon Partners explains “One of the great advantages of Indian executives, compared with their Chinese counterparts, is their knowledge of Anglo-American culture. Another advantage is the greater openness that India has enjoyed when it comes to foreign capital”. He further added, “Indian managers tend to have an international approach, and “India is [even] exporting managers to China.”

Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor Professor of Management at The Wharton School and Director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources says, “They [Indian Companies] are aware that there are markets that have not been exploited, and they want to take advantage of them, but not if foreigners get one hundred percent of the profits,” explains Peters. He further adds, “That way, they guarantee that India will not be sold off to foreigners.” He says India and Indian companies are giving more important to their development and are open to foreign companies to gain expertise, technology and funding while maintaining control. “India wants to create its own companies and brands, while China leaves the road wide open to foreign companies,” says Peters.

India, which is third largest economy in terms of GDP (PPP) knows that it needs a stable economy if it is dreaming of becoming a super power in every manner. A strong economy, jobs, education, food security and political stability will help India excel in the path which it has already chosen. A number of foreign acquisitions like these have helped Indian companies gain expertise, technology and management lessons which will help this country shape even more global brands in the future. Companies like Tata, Birla, Reliance and Jaypee are also determined to structure better education in India through their state of the art institutions of technology. Foreign acquisition did bring some jobs to India and more importantly India has secured and has been securing some of the key resources field around the world, that will keep feeding its giant economy in a long run.

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Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.

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How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Customers

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As a company owner, you should always be aiming to improve your business by whatever means necessary. After all, when your business evolves over time, it means that you are adapting to consumer habits and staying on top of current trends – giving your business the longevity it deserves. Thankfully, there are also various ways in which you can go about improving your business. For example, this could include: 

  • Hiring new staff with innovative ideas.
  • Retaining staff who make a real difference in the workplace, reducing employee turnover rates.
  • Investing in new employees by offering unique training programs or giving them a chance to develop new skills. 
  • Developing new products or services that cannot be purchased elsewhere. 
  • Moving from working from within your home and opening up a store or office space. 
  • Updating your business plan regularly to account for your growth. 
  • Brushing up on your finances, ensuring that you stay within budget and spend your money wisely.
  • Reaching out to investors who can help you take your brand to the next level.
  • Introducing a new marketing campaign to increase your brand’s visibility. 
  • Developing a better relationship with your customers. 

While any of the above suggestions are a great way to go about growing your business, the most important is developing the relationship you have with your customers. After all, a business without customers will struggle to stay afloat for more than a few weeks.

With that in mind, here are some ways in which you can begin to develop a better relationship with your customers. 

Know who your customers are. This is perhaps the most obvious ways to improve your relationship with your customers – and it doesn’t mean that you have to memorise every name or face that comes into your store. Instead, you should ensure that you have a clear understanding of your target audience and demographic. For example, while you may have a vision of your typical customer in your head – you need to ensure that this is reflected in the people that actually purchase or use your products/services. There are various ways in which you can achieve this goal. For example, you could: 

  • Monitor consumer habits
  • Host focus groups 
  • Ask for customer information when making a purchase
  • Studying analytics on social media. 

Remember, your target audience may be defined by the following characteristics: 

  • An age group.
  • A gender.
  • A geographical location.
  • Special hobbies.
  • Skills and Interests. 
  • Careers.
  • Lifestyles.

Once you have a better understanding of your target audience, it will be easier to ensure that you are providing them with everything they need. As a result, they will develop a closer affinity to your brand as they feel as though it was made just for them!

Make them feel important. Studies suggest that customers are happiest when they feel important. Therefore, you can improve your relationship with your customers by simply ensuring that you make them feel special. For example, you could attach a note to each order that thanks them for their purchase. Alternatively, you could put a loyalty scheme in place or offer discounts to returning customers – which can help you win over new customers while retaining your old ones. 

Make it easier for them to communicate with you. The key to any relationship is being able to communicate freely with each other. Therefore, you can improve your relationship with your customers by making it easier for them to reach you should they have any questions. For example, in addition to a telephone line, you should give your customers plenty of different ways to contact you. This could include: 

  • A postal address.
  • A customer service specific email.
  • An online chat function.

However, managing multiple different channels like this can prove to be a challenge if you don’t have the right technology at your side. For example, you could use dashboard software, such as those provided by Click4Assistance, to monitor different chats and calls simultaneously. For more information, visit this website

Furthemore, you can also improve the way in which you communicate with your customers by being active on social media. Not only does this mean that your customers can contact you through direct messaging or comments, but it also puts your brand on the map by making you visible to a much wider audience. When curating your social media presence – you should ensure that your content reflects your brand. Don’t focus on overly professional language – instead, try to be as approachable and friendly as possible – as this will help customers relate to your brand. When customers find you approachable, they are more likely to make a purchase. 

Another way in which you can better communicate with your customers is by setting up a mailing list. While they may seem outdated in the world of social media, they are a great way to keep your customers in the loop and let them know about any upcoming product releases. 

Admit your mistakes. As a business owner, how others perceive your brand will likely be incredibly important to you. As a result, this means that you may be keen to bury any mistakes you make so that they cannot tarnish your reputation. However, this is not the right attitude to take on if you want to develop a relationship with your customers – as simply ignoring complaints or negative reviews will only drive them away. Therefore, you should ensure that you respond quickly to any negative complaints and reviews – and work with the customer to resolve this issue sooner rather than later. This also means that you need to be honest about any mistakes that you may have made in the past. Holding yourself accountable will actually make yourself more attractive to potential customers. 

Focus on innovation. If you want to retain customers, you need to ensure that you continue to provide them with new goods or services. After all, it’s unlikely that they will continue to buy the same product over and over again. Therefore, you should work hard to ensure that you remain on top of your game – introducing new and innovative products to the market as often as possible. While this doesn’t mean you should rush to launch a new product or service every month, you should always have a new plan or idea in the pipeline. Furthemore, you should also ensure that the products/services you are working on align with current consumer trends. 

Get online. Another way in which you can develop your relationship with your customers is by making your business more accessible. For example, while many customers may visit your store to make a purchase – others may prefer to shop online. In this case, you need to make sure that your website is up to scratch and easy to navigate. The easiest way to draw in new customers online is by improving the user experience of your website.  For example, a broken link or malfunctioning site does not necessarily make your brand appear trustworthy – while a seamless and functional website will demonstrate your professionalism and help you connect with a global audience. 

Furthemore, you should also ensure that your website is as accessible as possible. For example, you could add audio descriptions of products or text so that those who may be deaf or hard of hearing can navigate your site freely. You should also ensure that you caption any videos or add alternative descriptions underneath images. 

Be great at what you do. Perhaps the simplest way in which you can improve your relationship with your customers by being great at what you do – and providing them with the consistency they require. For example, you should ensure that every aspect of your business is always up to scratch – from product development to administration.  Being great at what you do means that your customers will always stick around and invest their money into your brand. 

Similarly, you should never underestimate the importance of good customer service skills – and you must ensure that every employee is trained within the area. For example, they should be bright, friendly and ready to answer any questions that come their way. This means that they need to develop excellent skills in communication alongside a lot of patience and intuition. This is particularly important when dealing with difficult customers who always complain -but will also allow them to develop lasting relationships with friendly customers too. 

In short, there are various steps you can take to ensure that you improve your relationship with your customers – many of which simply revolve around adopting a ‘customer-centric mindset. By making important decisions regarding your business with the customer in mind, you’ll be able to emphasise the fact that they are at the core of everything you do – thus making your brand appear more attractive and improving retention rates. Furthemore, you can improve your relationship with your customers by making it abundantly clear that you care about them and want to provide them with only the best. Doing so will make it easier for customers to trust you and purchase your products or services.

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What Is Cryptocurrency And Why Is It So Volatile?

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Cryptocurrency has recently made headlines, exploding into the spotlight with the same relentless intensity that characterises its value and demand.

However, as they become more mainstream, they may become confusing. It’s money, but there’s no bank looking after it or controlling it; it’s an asset, but it’s not backed up by anything tangible.

Here is a brief overview of cryptocurrency and a quick look at why it is so volatile.

What is it?

In a nutshell, it is the digital equivalent of money. It is designed to function in almost the same way: users have wallets in which they can keep money, which is used to symbolize value in the economy and can be exchanged for goods or services with others.

Cryptocurrency, like much money in today’s traditional banking system, does not exist tangibly; instead, it is recorded as figures in a database that signify how much of a particular cryptocurrency a certain person has.

However, in contrast to today’s banking system, is decentralised. Rather, it is recorded in the blockchain, which is distributed throughout the network and records transactions in a transparent and verifiable manner that belongs to no one individual or organization in particular.

The first of them was bitcoin, which was developed in 2009 by an unknown individual known only as Satoshi Nakamoto. Since then, a slew of new cryptocurrencies has sprouted up. These include ethereum and dogecoin. It is interesting to look into the background of these, and ask yourself who created Dogecoin?

Why are there so many?

A cryptocurrency can hypothetically be created by anyone; at their foundation, they are just software, therefore anyone can create one. There is no authoritative body that decides what is and isn’t a cryptocurrency.

As a result, dozens of new cryptocurrencies, known as altcoins, have emerged. Some of them have grown into consistent performers, leading to predictions that they could turn bitcoin on its head and become the most valuable cryptocurrency.

Some of these altcoins aim to provide innovative answers to problems that exist with large players like bitcoin, such as making transactions easier or more efficient. Others, such as Dogecoin, which originated as a joke, are developed solely as alternatives.

They sometimes move in sync, with the entire cryptocurrency market fluctuating in response to certain pieces of news. However, traders occasionally switch between currencies, as when the price of dogecoin soared thanks to the support of figures such as Elon Musk.

What makes cryptocurrency so volatile?

Unlike traditional financial assets like stocks and commodities, cryptocurrencies are not valued in terms of what they can be used for; in theory, they are a bet on a company’s future profits or the usefulness of a given material, but cryptocurrencies are primarily a bet on how interested people are in them.

Cryptocurrencies, unlike traditional fiat currencies, do not have a central bank entrusted with employing monetary policy to keep their value from fluctuating too much.

As a result, the value of cryptocurrencies varies dramatically, frequently and without warning, and without always being linked to evident world events.

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Marketing Practices That Could Remain After The Pandemic

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The global pandemic has changed businesses in many ways, and marketing, in particular, has seen a lot of developments over the last year. Businesses have had to adapt to digital practices quickly, which has changed the way they promote their activities. It has also changed consumer behavior, meaning tactics need to change to reach them in new and innovative ways.

While businesses are beginning to revert to some sort of normality, there are some practices that will continue even after the pandemic is over. Discover some of the marketing practices that could be here to stay.

A greater focus on retaining existing customers

The global pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s shopping behaviors. It’s no secret that brand loyalty has been in decline over the years, largely due to consumers’ preference for convenience – especially in the digital age. But the pandemic has made this even more apparent, with many consumers switching brands as a result of supply chain issues and more. For businesses, putting your energy into retaining your existing customers could yield better results than trying to win over existing customers. 

The resurgence of the QR code

Just over a year ago, people might have turned their nose up at the idea of using a QR code in a marketing campaign. Did people know what they were? What did they achieve? Well, thanks to the pandemic, QR codes have had something of a resurgence. Exploring QR code APIs can help you work out how they can be used in your marketing campaigns effectively to bring the best results for your business. QR codes are capable of generating some great data, helping you measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Localized marketing

The pandemic has shifted a lot of people away from busy cities and urban areas, and into more rural neighborhoods. This has meant that businesses are having to change their marketing tactics to provide a more personalized, local feel that better aligns with changing behaviors. People are choosing to shop locally and choose local-based businesses, and you’ll need to think carefully about how you can form better engagement with those audiences to help spread the word about your business.

Bigger budgets for social media advertising

With people spending more time at home, they are more active online watching box sets, shopping, gaming and more. This means they might be less likely to see more traditional advertising such as billboards and subway signs. Social media advertising can help you reach those audiences, providing a great ROI compared to other forms of advertising. Ensuring social media is a firm part of your marketing strategy can help you reach your audiences where they are, and even save money compared to your spend on more traditional advertising. 
Change is nothing new for the marketing world. The pandemic has seen some major developments, and as we enter the ‘new normal,’ it will be interesting to see what comes next. Staying up to date on current marketing trends can keep your business relevant, and help secure the best results for your business – no matter what’s happening in the rest of the world.

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