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International Jornal of Marketing Education

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Tata Tea Limited: How to Go Global? (only available in printed journal)

IJME vol 1 issue 1


Author(s): Amitava Chattopadhyay

In late 1999, India's second-largest tea company, Tata Tea, is presented with the opportunity of acquiring Tetley's Tea, the world's second largest tea brand. Tata Tea is a part of the Tata group of companies; one of the largest and most highly regarded family-owned conglomerates in India. Tata Tea's strong presence in India is based on a value proposition of guaranteed freshness and quality stemming from its control of the supply chain from 'tea bush to teacup'. Tata Tea has expertise in plantation management and tea cultivation. It sells mainly to the mass market in India. Internationally, the company sells bulk tea that is blended and sold by branded tea marketers. Deregulation of the Indian tea industry and the consequent expectation of intensified international competition, a backward, mass-produced, old-fashioned image of tea in India and other countries, and the worldwide development of a segment of affluent tea lovers with an increasing interest in specialty teas (high quality, specific origin teas, green teas, herbal teas, etc.), has made Tata Tea seriously consider whether to go international. The questions facing Tata Tea are: 1) Should it bid for Tetley's Tea and, if so, how much? 2) Or, should it try and build its own brand globally?