Empires: India's Tiger

Ratan Tata turned a sleepy firm into a global power by targeting the low end of the market

It's not that Ratan Tata finds the rich uninteresting--after all he's one of them. No, it's more the case that he finds the opportunities to be richer at the bottom end of the consumer universe. "Everyone is catering to the top of the pyramid," says the 69-year-old at his office in Bombay House, the Tata group's elegant Edwardian headquarters in India's business capital. "The challenge we've given to all our companies is to address a different market. Pare your margins. Create new markets."

The Tata group's global clout means that its chairman's thoughts get concrete results. Tata comprises 96 companies, including...

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