Chennai as the investment destination of choice

Much has been made about Chennai being the beneficiary of a flood of FDI only because Mr. Maran orchestrated investments towards the state and the city. While it may be true that the former Union Minister may have played a part in the choice of Chennai by the international companies, it is unlikely that billions of dollars were committed by the big giants in telecommunications, semiconductors and automotives betting on the political power of one person alone. It is obvious that the inherent strengths of the city which were hitherto not getting their due recognition, came to light with only the barest of nudges from the powers-that-be, who were also interested in promoting investments in this highly industrialized state. I have studied the start-up culture in India, although not in any great depth and have found that if it is a start-up by Indians at the helm, especially returning ones, the choice of location is invariably based on language and regional affinity of the promoters and usually not based on the particular city’s strongpoints. With respect to Chennai, of course, there is some prejudice in the minds of some of these Indian entrepreneurs, who have never been here and who tend to see the city from the lens of the historically biased reporting against it. The multinational heads usually do not suffer from these biases which is why Office Tiger chose this city and also why its chief says he would do so again if he had to start all over.

12 Comments so far

  1. tsk tsk (unregistered) on May 14th, 2007 @ 11:38 pm

    Do u really think its just a nudge that maran gave, that led to investments into chennai?
    I DOUBT!! Ask ur self if chennai would have got half as much if the same politcal party wasnt in power at both the centre and state. Besides, it helped that Maran was a great business inclined person.

    Im sure u have no idea what doing business is like so please dont make such hardlined statements – the fact that you think promoters cultural affinity is the determining factor for company to start businesses in a city is bollocks.

    There are alot of Market factors, strategic factors,cost considerations and regulatory factors behind it. Say, would u start a mutual fund in Kolkata or in Mumbai? Or would u pay Mumbai salaries for a startup BPO? Would u start a shipyard in Coimbatore? Or Vizag? ..Would u start an automotive tooling plant in patna? Would u start a luxury fashion brand for women in chennai? Er.. u see what im saying…


  2. Planemad (unregistered) on May 14th, 2007 @ 11:44 pm

    shipyard in coimbatore sounds like a good idea. Oh wait, im not a businessman.


  3. anonym (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 12:18 am

    a luxury fashion brand for women in chennai……why not….you think girls in chennai run around naked or something …….oh wait….i forgot….chennai is not hip enough…!!:):)


  4. Chennaiite (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 1:25 am

    The author needs help!! Serious help. Usually it is the ‘wrong perception’ of Chennai. This time it is the “prejudice” against Chennai. What else is new?? Grow up dude!!


  5. Govar (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 1:33 am

    I don’t think Maran’s contribution to chennai was a ‘nudge’. Your argument that billions might not have been committed against one person alone is self-defeating since Maran wasn’t there before this FDI binge, the city was pretty much the same and nothhing outstanding happened. Chennai might’ve been good, but any product which is a commodity is useless if you don’t have a good salesman or a sound strategy. What Maran had that others didn’t was a dash for business (he’s quite elite looking compared to lot others – who was Bangalore’s or Hyderabad’s ambassadors?), a keen understanding of what MNCs look for (investment sops, tax rebates, positive political initiative, and a presence of competitors in same region) and the ability to convey all this in a business language to the clients. He was a sucker for limelight, but then, he did the job, which is all that matters.

    In my own view – it makes little difference between Bangalore or Chennai or Hyderabad (upper north might fall short of quality [and docile] graduates), and the salesman has the final deal.

    Just give him the credit!

    P.S: Am not from DMK. :)


  6. Kokki_jacobus (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 11:34 am

    yea, yeah.. we know madras has a lot of bias against it.. but to see that in almost every other post is just freakin’ irritating. thangala!


  7. SN (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 12:43 pm

    Seriously folks, what’s your problem with Thennavan highlighting things about Chennai or even setting right negative perceptions about it? If you don’t like what he writes, don’t read it. The way you whine makes Kindergarteners look like adults.


  8. gila_monster (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 1:58 pm

    Multinationals like fools to exploit!


  9. Yuva (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 1:33 pm

    ofcourse credits for FDI is not only Maran’s infact, if anything.. he (in)directly responsible for Tata’s to stay away from TN.

    Chennai favorite destination because of cost advantage and talent pool. personal i can understand why people grew-up in bangalore, delhi, mumbai dont have make chennai as home. and that reflects in domestic investments.

    its good if chennai can become more pro-hindi


  10. Navaneethan Santhanam (unregistered) on May 18th, 2007 @ 7:14 am

    I hope Chennai never becomes pro-Hindi. It’s unnecessary.


  11. khaleel ahmed (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:38 am

    it is not that chennai needs maran to get its billions of investments in the previous years nor maran has just given a ‘nudge’. it was a fantastic relationship and it worked out well. a city with all the due requirements to be the world’s factory, IT hub, a medical capital. and a person who is determined to bring the best to the city.
    however ford, hyundai nokia and bmw came long before maran.!!!
    all said and done chennai / TN will certainly miss maran.


  12. Abraham Judah (unregistered) on June 3rd, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

    MNC`s choose Chennai because of its talent pool.Northern local bias still remains.Sad.We all know that the intelectual landscape is in the South.The southern growth phenomena was a natural evolvement.The centre had nothing to do with it.

    The north is very much living in self denial .Since time memorial the tamils never had representation .They choose not to understand the south .India is still living in Old India though they may claim its the New India .The TATA and the Ambani are still the same.

    But Chennai holds promise.Its the DNA of the South. Why IT is not in the North ? The Aryans lacked the work cuture and the mental acumen of the South.And the non biased MNC`s know all this.



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