India – Focus on Chennai

Chennai is the biggest industrial and commercial centre in Southern India as well as a major cultural, economic and educational centre. Chennai, sometimes referred to as the “Gateway to South India” is also Host to the third-largest expatriate population in India after Mumbai and Delhi.

Chennai Map
Chennai is a Multi Industrial base with the major focus being the Chennai port as a Shipping Hub, which supports the huge manufacturing base of companies in and around Chennai. The manufacturing sector is complimented by India’s IT/ITeS companies along with FSI (banking, financial services and insurance) sectors contributing to its growth.

Chennai is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. The State Government of Tamil Nadu is focused to increase the industrial growth via the following initiatives and has set up Tamil Nadu Industrial Guidance & Export Promotion Bureau to accelerate the growth:

  • It plans to invest US$ 2.64 billion for the energy sector in the state
  • Increase the automobile manufacturing capacity to 5.8 million units by 2020
  • The government is continuously working on developing strong IT infrastructure in order to support the development of hardware and software industries. In the 2017-18 budget, US$ 18 million was allocated for the Information Technology Department
  • Tamil Nadu Vision 2023 envisages an investment of US$ 27.7 billion for improving highways. Chennai is slated to get 17 new projects worth US$ 334.8 million
  • In June 2018, the State Government invested Rs 5,000 crore (US$ 745.82 million) to boost renewable energy policies, transmission infrastructure and commission a floating solar plant

Several Multi-National Companies have invested towards their manufacturing plans in Chennai which mostly includes the automobile, computer, technology and hardware industries. Chennai is known as the Detroit of Asia as it accounts for over 60 per cent of the country’s automobile exports. In addition to this Chennai’s economic development has been closely tied to its port and transport infrastructure. These industries have demonstrated their faith in India’s economic growth.

Companies especially in the sectors of e-commerce, telecom and healthcare have expanded strongly.  Lately there is a shift in the global and Indian economy towards technology-driven enterprises. There are several cities, including Chennai which are a hot bed to such activities.

Defence Expo 2018, with its theme as “India: The Emerging Defence Hub”, was held in Chennai during the month of April 2018 and was attended by 670 companies, including 154 international firms. Top global defence companies were present in strength. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Saab (Sweden), Thales, Airbus, Rostec State Corporation (Russia), BAE Systems, MBDA, MoD Slovak Republic, Naval Group, and even a few South Korean, German, and Finnish companies put up their stalls, among others. Defence Expo 2018 also witnessed the signing of a large number of Memorandums of Understanding and partnerships. A few important ones include an agreement between Boeing, HAL and Mahindras to produce F/A 18 Super Hornet jets in India. With India set to buy 110 fighter aircraft, the partnership provides Boeing with a bit more muscle.

The housing market in Chennai is complex and usually managed through Professionals / agents. One may need a helping hand of support through the process of identifying suitable housing and going through the process of negotiations, Legalisation of the contract/ agreement in the Government offices/ courts, to get the property into a liveable condition and property moving in process. Although there are sufficient options in the market; finding the right one matching the standards is usually a challenging exercise.

Expats prefer to live in south Chennai in areas along the stretch of East coast road and adjoining areas like Alwarpet, Raja Annamalai Puram, Besant Nagar, Adyar and OMR to name a few. Expat housing is available as Apartments & Villas in gated communities.

Chennai provides a number of support groups to join, giving a platform for EXPATS to relate to others who have moved into the city and are willing to share their experiences and advice on living in Chennai.

International schools are the most popular option among the  expatriate community. The schools recommended for foreign expats are The American International School, The British School, Vael’s Billabong High International School and The Sishya school. The largest school in Chennai for expatriate children is the American International School – Chennai (AISC).

Chennai in the recent times has seen an increased focus on improving its transportation and one good example of this is the commissioning of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL). The Phase 1 and 2 connecting the Airport and the Chennai Central Railway Station is already operational and running, the new lines connecting the North and south end of the City is progressing.