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Empire Strikes Back


Written by Shane McGinley for Arabian Business

Some companies, like Microsoft, Coca Cola or Google, become a part of our collective heritage, while others help write the history books and actively participate in creating the world we live in today.

One such iconic name is the East India Company. Created nearly half a millenium ago, it was a trading phenomenon and epitomised the driving force behind the global expansion of the British Empire.

Resurrected in 2005 by an aspirational Indian businessman, it is currently masterminding its comeback after a hiatus of over 130 years and, unsurprisingly, the Middle East is set to play a pivotal role in the company’s resurgence.

“Without the East India Company our world would not be as it is today. It changed the world’s tastes, its thinking, and its people,” Mumbai-born businessman Sanjiv Mehta, the company’s chairman and new owner, says modestly. “I have not created this brand, history has created it. I am just the curator of it,” he adds.

In order to understand the influence this mammoth brand holds in the minds of the Indian population, a quick history lesson is needed. After the English defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588, a group of wealthy London merchants decided to set sail around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean in search of wealth to help build what would become the British Empire.

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