18/03/2015 4:23 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Ratan Tata: India Has A Tremendous Appetite For Digital Ventures

The Aga Khan, spiritual head of Ismaili Muslims, left, and Chairman of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust Ratan Tata listen to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the inauguration of the restored 16th century Humayun's Tomb in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. It took six years of conservation work and 200,000 work days by master craftsmen to restore the tomb's Mughal finery, according to a press release. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

COVENTRY — Putting his weight and funds behind the 'nascent' internet-based industry, legendary industrialist Ratan Tata sees a tremendous appetite for such services in India, even as he hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bringing in a "new spirit" to the country. Stating that "it is still very early days" for the Make in India initiative of the Prime Minister, Tata said, "The sentiment is very high, which is good. "India has got a new spirit. I think it's been a long time since the leadership in India has made such a bold statement," Tata told in an interview here.

The USD 103-billion Tata Group's Chairman Emeritus was here for the foundation stone laying ceremony for a new 150-million pound innovation venture he had helped conceptualise a few years ago. On a spate of investments he has made in his personal capacity in the recent past in the e-commerce ventures, Tata said he has chosen to support this industry as he sees a tremendous group potential there.

"India is a big country with a tremendous appetite for computer-based or Internet-based services. It is a nascent industry and I have chosen to support it." he said. In the recent months, Tata has invested in at least five companies linked to the digital economy and these include Snapdeal, CarDekho, Urban Ladder, Bluestone and most recently Paytm, although the size of his investments are not known. 77-year-old Tata retired as Tata Group Chairman in December 2012 after a 50-year run at the business conglomerate, including over two decades as its chief. He assumed the role of Chairman Emeritus post his retirement.

Earlier this month, mobile commerce firm Paytm announced an investment by Ratan Tata in his personal capacity.

The investment by Tata came after the world's biggest e-commerce firm Alibaba announced last month that it will acquire 25 per cent stake in One97 Communications, Paytm's parent firm.

Paytm aims to grow the number of mobile wallets to 100 million by year-end from 25 million active wallets at present. Tata will also take on the role of an adviser there. He also has an advisory role at venture fund Kalaari Capital.

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