For all the buzz that Tata’s release of the Nano received last year, the long term impact of the company’s new venture may be even greater. The sprawling Tata empire, loosely held together by Ratan Tata, recently announced a plan to build affordable housing for India’s burgeoning middle class. Here’s an excerpt from BusinessWeek:
Tata, the Indian company that made worldwide headlines with its $2,000 Nano car, now plans to build 1,000 tiny apartments outside Mumbai that will sell for $7,800 to $13,400 each. The company plans to roll out low-cost projects outside other major cities.
Tata’s housing division is targeting a segment of the market that was largely overlooked during the housing boom. India’s builders were concentrating on building shiny new high rises and mansions on golf courses. Builders were after profits, but they were also trying to justify their fast-accelerating land costs, especially in and around Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) and other major cities.
As a Cornell trained architect, Ratan Tata clearly understands the value of creating spaces that foster a sense of being and community. Like the Nano, the Shubh Griha community probably won’t attract the well connected, wealthy Indian, rather it is meant to serve as another building block for the rising Indian middle class. This is the real growth market in India, this is the market that will truly shape the India of tomorrow. Ratan Tata gets it.
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