Tata sees digital, solar driving future business

Tata Industries will now focus on digital, solar and advanced materials as the businesses of the future.

business Updated: Sep 28, 2015 23:12 IST
Ramsurya Mamidenna
Ramsurya Mamidenna
Hindustan Times
Tata industries,Solar energy,Digital sector
(HT File Photo)

Tata Industries, the Tata Group launch vehicle that spawned the Rs 7.2-lakh crore conglomerate’s various businesses in the past 70 years, will now focus on digital, solar and advanced materials as the businesses of the future.

The Mumbai-based group has already developed three digital verticals at an initial investment of about Rs 1,000 crore, including the largest, an e-commerce marketplace that will be launched soon with over 100 international marquee brands.

Tata Industries has picked up 40% equity stake in Flisom, a solar project start-up which is a spin-off of ETH Zurich, one of the world’s leading universities for technology and natural sciences. It has invested a total of $30 million so far in Flisom, which makes flexible thin solar modules which cost less and are easier to install.

“Tata Industries continues to look for things which will keep us relevant and bring us closer to the customer at a profit,” executive director, KRS Jamwal told HT in an interview. “Digital is a key element of what will happen in next 30 years. We see business opportunities in digital. We also think solar energy is extraordinarily relevant,” he added.

Tata Advanced Materials that makes futuristic metals is the third promising area.

The 147-year old group mainly has big brick and mortar companies. But recently chairman Cyrus Mistry asked senior executives to prepare for a shift to digital businesses while also targeting to bring a quarter of the global population as customers of the conglomerate.

Even as India’s business faces disruption from e-commerce, the industry is closely watching the Tata’s plans. “The marketplace launch will be tactical based on brands we sign up. The idea is to have a curated omni-channel marketplace and not launch it in a period such as Diwali or Christmas where there will already be hype,” said Jamwal.

Omni-channel markets, which use online, offline and mobile platforms to build a seamless marketplace, will help in sharing of inventories of brands such as Zara, Nu Look.

Apart from this, Tata is also building large plans on carbon fibre, which has applications in aerospace and is used by aircraft makers including Boeing, in its 787 Dreamliners.

First Published: Sep 28, 2015 00:00 IST