Certain brands have become an integral part of every Indian household, so much so that we really don’t question where they originally came from. We simply assume they are Indian, but, that’s not the case always. 

Yup, it might surprise you to know that some of the most common brands we think are Indian are actually not Indian at all.

1. Bata

From the biggest cities to the smallest towns, Bata is undoubtedly one of India’s favourite footwear brands that is spread across the country. But, it’s not an Indian brand. The actual headquarters of Bata is in Lausanne, Switzerland. The company was founded in 1894 in Zlín, Moravia by a family of cobblers. 


2. Hindustan Unilever 

Be it soaps, detergent, coffee or ice-cream, Hindustan Unilever manufactures almost everything under the sun. Though, despite having ‘Hindustan’ in its name, the company is actually a subsidiary of Unilever which is a British-Dutch conglomerate. 


3. Colgate

Almost every Indian swears by this toothpaste brand that has been around for centuries. I mean, we’ve literally grown up with Colgate so, it’s quite easy to think of it to be an Indian brand. But, it is not. In fact, Colgate is owned and manufactured by Colgate-Palmolive, which is an American worldwide consumer products company.


4. Indian Motorcycles

Of course, with ‘Indian’ as part of its brand, one would automatically think of this as a desi company but, sadly that’s not the case here. The ‘Indian’ in its name actually refers to American Indians– the indigenous people of the United States. Got it?


5. Bose Speakers 

If you have the notion that Bose Speakers are from West Bengal, you are wrong. So, why is it named Bose, you ask? Well, it was founded by Amar Bose, an American of Indian descent back in 1964 and so it was named after him. This world-renowned audio products company is an American brand which is based in Framingham, Massachusetts. 


6. Reynolds

We all grew up using Reynolds ball point pens but, did you know that the headquarters of this company is based in the US? Neither did I. In 1945, Milton Reynold manufactured and introduced the first ever ball point pen in the US. The brand travelled across the world and eventually made its way to India. 


7. Vespa

Vespa is in fact an Italian brand of scooters manufactured by Piaggio. At first, Bajaj was licensed to manufacture Vespa in India but, when the company lost the license in 1917, they came out with Chetak, an uncanny replica of Vespa. Who would have known?


8. Boost

Boost is owned by Hindustan Unilever and has its roots in Switzerland. Of course, the minute this brand pops up in our heads, we think of Sachin Tendulkar and his famous dialogue- “Boost is the secret of my energy!” So, naturally we all thought Boost to be an Indian brand but, in reality it’s not.


9. Maggi

This brand needs no introduction. It’s a staple in every Indian household and it can be found anywhere in India, be it the hills, the beaches or the cities. But, unfortunately Maggi is not an Indian brand either. Maggi is owned by Nestle, a Swiss multinational company.


10. Lifebuoy

Every Indian knows about Lifebuoy. It’s like India’s favourite soap that everyone trusts. But, this brand isn’t from India. It finds its origins in England where it came into existence in 1895 and was owned by Procter and Gamble. Also, it is the second oldest soap brand after Ivory. 


11. Nestle 

Nestle is a food and beverage company that’s behind some of our favourite items like Maggi and Kitkat but, is not an Indian company as many would think it to be. Nestle is in fact a Swiss multinational company which has its headquarters based in Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland.


12. Gudang Garam Cigarettes

These spiced cigarettes actually belong to Indonesia. The brand was founded on 26th June in 1958 by Tjoa Ing Hwie who later changed his name to Surya Wonowidjojo. Here’s a fun fact though, Gudang Garam actually means “salt warehouse”.


13. Tide

This detergent brand is part of almost every Indian household but, it doesn’t belong to India. Tide is actually manufactured by Procter & Gamble, an American company. It was introduced in the US markets in 1946 and soon it expanded over the years and finally made its way into India. 


14. Star TV

For those who don’t know, the ‘Star’ in Star TV stands for Satellite Television Asian Region. It is an Asian TV service owned by 21st Century Fox which is an American multinational mass media corporation. It is structured into 3 units – STAR Indian, STAR Greater China and Fox International Channels Asia.  


Learnt something new today?