INDIA'S economic liberalisation has inspired a new generation of exporters prepared to challenge for a stake in world markets. The phenomenon has seen traditional exports such as spices, carpets, basmati rice and handicrafts now supported by growing sales of automobiles, watches, liquor, software, electronic goods, herbal products and food. The arrival in India of multinationals had accelerated the trend to explore world markets, said economics commentator S. K. Aggarwal. 'Producing and exporting products that match or exceed in quality those new entrants is the only way for Indian companies wanting to survive and grow,' he said. 'India did not earlier opt for the global approach because industry was too busy catering for domestic needs. But the scene is now different. The changing profile of the consumer, both in India and abroad, is responsible for the rush of Indian marketers to join the international bandwagon.' In the watch industry, Titan Industries has invested US$6 million (about HK$46 million) in a plant at Hosur, Karnataka to launch three new ranges specifically designed for the European markets. 'Titan's Western forays can be considered a pioneering step in the country's efforts at creating global brands,' Mr Aggarwal said. Also breaking new ground is Bajaj Auto, which until recently was exporting only a few thousand two and three-wheelers a year to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Now Bajaj is selling two-wheelers to Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Exports to China, the world's largest two-wheeler market, started last year and the company has just contracted a Japanese design firm set up by former Honda engineers to produce a 50cc scooter for the international market. As a result, Bajaj turnover has leapt by 900 per cent in the last three years. Similarly, auto company Hero Majestic has just agreed to establish a moped plant in China, while car and commercial vehicle manufacturers like TELCO, Ashok Leyland, DCM Toyota, Eicher Motors, Fullbore Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra and Maruti Udyog are venturing successfully into the European markets. Also jumping into the export fray are Indian brewers, with exports growing nearly four-fold last year. United Breweries' (UB) Kingfisher beer has become widely available since breaching the United States, British, European, Singapore and Hong Kong markets. Kalyani Black Label, another UB brew, has just been launched in Japan. Meanwhile, the growing back-to-nature herbal market is also being lucratively tapped. Dabur, which started by selling products to Indians settled in Britain, now exports to 50 countries. Balsara products are available in 37 countries and exports have grown by 300 per cent in two years. Balsara is setting-up manufacturing plants in Russia, the Far East and Africa to meet demand. Catering for the booming demand for Indian cuisine, Nestle India is putting TV dinner-style dishes in supermarkets worldwide. Computer software makers, headed by Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Unisys, Pentafour and Silverline, last year broke the $1 billion export barrier for the first time. Similarly, electronics manufacturers are enjoying annual export growth of over 30 per cent in sales of television sets, quartz clocks, audio and video cassettes. 'The performance is remarkable because the industry has carved out new selling centres after exports to the traditional rupee-earning East European and Soviet markets vanished in the early 1990s,' Mr Aggarwal said. Electronic products are now finding new markets from Africa and the Middle East to South America and the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, the Indian drug industry is forging global alliances to cash in on the price-conscious generic market and access technology and distribution networks. Ranbaxy (India) Laboratories, one of India's largest pharmaceutical companies and the country's sixth-largest foreign exchange earner, has joined with US giant Eli Lilly to produce drugs.