India’s Tata group sees expansion scope in Africa


New Delhi : Ratan Tata, chairman of India’s multinational company, Tata Group has said he has an “affinity” to South Africa and the firm is expected to increase its focus on Africa with a slew of new business launches being drawn up.

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“In India, we believe in destiny. I find that I have an affinity to South Africa,” he told Economic Times in an interview, adding: “It’s not brick and mortar that brings people back.”

Tata was in South Africa along with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma to lead the the government-corporate mission with targets to boost the bilateral trade to $12 billion by 2012.

“The low-cost housing segment in South Africa is an area we can make an impact on,” he said, also noting the opportunity for 4-star hotels in South Africa is huge and should be tapped into.

Tata Sons’ director R.K. Krishnakumar told the paper that the group’s hospitality wing, the Indian Hotels Company is planning to launch its budget chain Ginger in global markets.

“Ginger has international potential starting with the emerging markets,” he said.

With the Indian Ocean region as the base to launch the Tata brand across the world, collaborating with countries like Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives to form the link between Africa and India, Tata said that he felt the Indian Ocean will link rather than separate India and Africa.

The Tata group also has investments in a ferrochrome operation in Richards Bay in South Africa’s northern Kwazulu-Natal province. Software major Tata Consultancy has a South Africa operation too.

Considering the market for its cars in South Africa, Tata informed that the group is relaunching Tata cars in South Africa.

“We have taken over an old Nissan factory outside Johannesburg,” said Tata, who adding that the group has been investing in the region for over 15 years now.