Bottom Line: As early as in the year 2010, Chennai had made it among the three Indian cities, along with Ahmedabad and Bangalore, to the U.S. magazine Forbes’ list of the world’s fastest growing cities of the next decade.
The list of 19 urban centres that were declared by Forbes as “emerging powerhouses” and were expected to play a significant role in the next decade was dominated by the two fast-growing Asian economies, India and China.
“India, although not by plan, also is experiencing a boom in once relatively obscure cities. Its rising urban centres include Bangalore (home of Infosys and Wipro), Ahmedabad (whose per capita income is twice that of the rest of India) and Chennai (which has created 100,000 jobs this year),” Forbes had noted.
The key, however, was the assessment of the potential of a city like Chennai by default and without the urban planning. However, in the last around decade time since then the city has been witness to the growth by design and not by default. Today, many of India’s key industries — auto manufacturing, software and entertainment — are growing at a decent pace in Chennai.
It is hence no surprise that Chennai is today among the 6 cities from India in top 20 world’s most dynamic city among 131 major established and emerging business hubs globally, according to the sixth City Momentum Index published by JLL. Chennai has been declared at the 7th spot in the list.
Another recent report by Oxford Economics says that when it comes to the top 10 cities for economic growth, India is set to dominate over the next two decades. Chennai figure in the list at the sixth spot.
Is there something in the very DNA of the city that makes every global forecast refer Chennai as the future city on the global map? Analysts believe Chennai is not only the capital city of Tamil Nadu but is also the largest industrial and commercial centre in South India. The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) is the flagship Urban Local Body in the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA). The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) is the oldest municipal Institution in India.
Today the urbanization has spread well beyond GCC limits, thanks to a growing economy and the real estate developments in this part of the world. The Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA) managed under the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) is the fourth largest urban agglomeration in India, which covers an area of 1189 sq.km, and has a population of 85 lakh as of Census 2011.
Chennai Metropolitan Region (including adjoining districts) is endowed with a diversified and balanced economic base. The region has attracted sizeable investments including Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Manufacturing, and has a thriving services base with well-developed Information Technology, Financial Services, and Education and Healthcare sectors.
Implementation of proposed trunk infrastructure initiatives including the Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor, Ring Roads and projects identified under Government of Tamil Nadu’s agenda for infrastructure development could stimulate further investment and engender growth.
Global competitiveness of Chennai
Forbes, Oxford Economics, JLL & Rockfeller Foundation has endorsed Chennai as a global city
Chennai yet to pick up in the business & economy or real estate opportunities
Competitive edge of Chennai due to lower property prices and cost of doing business
BK Ramaswamy, an old timer of the city who has seen the changing face of Chennai maintain that despite of Chennai grappling with natural calamities in the form of flood and cyclone the resilience of the city is its ability to persevere in the face of emergency. The city has the inherent ability to function despite serious challenges. Chennai has been chosen as one of the 4 cities in India by the Rockfeller foundation (100RC) which will be provided with resources necessary to develop a roadmap to resilience.
“Chennai is also one of the twenty cities chosen under India’s ‘Smart City Mission’. Chennai has emerged as the favourite destination and safe haven for industries and MNCs, besides many off-shore services, which has been the most important driver in attracting the population here. The industrial base is anchored by the automobile industry, software services, medical tourism, hardware manufacturing and financial services. The drivers for a preferred destination are its matured industrial base, well developed industrial infrastructure, port connectivity and largest producer of skilled manpower in India,” says Ramaswamy.
“So long the economy is growing and there are jobs in the city, no one can stop Chennai emerging as one of the global best cities,” says Raghu Menon, a local property agent. “Yes, Chennai has been slow behind Bengaluru and Hyderabad in overall developments. But just look at those cities and Chennai today. The city is nowhere near saturation, like these two cities. We have affordability in housing and cost of doing business per sq feet is much lesser in Chennai.”
There is no denying that among the South Indian cities where the economy and property markets are peaking, Chennai market is fairly balanced with no indication of heating up. Whatever makes a city truly global – be it job & economy, infrastructure, cosmopolitan culture, real estate opportunities – are fairly loaded in favour of the city. It seems Chennai has an obvious edge with the late movers’ advantage to be one of the key global cities.
Ravi Sinha @ravitrack2media
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