Saturday, February 03, 2007

Is Chennai the place to be in 2007?

A friend of mine quipped a couple of days ago that Chennai is expected to overtake Bangalore in terms of the IT job market in 2007 by the sheet number of jobs on offer.

On the face of it, this seems to be true. All the massive-sized-companies have a huge presence in Chennai, and are growing really really fast. While Bangalore really seems to have hit the brakes due to the infrastructural problems, things aren't so bad in Chennai. Office space doesn't seem to be problem with all the huge complexes coming in almost every corner of the city. Traffic doesn't seem to be that much of a problem since Chennai, having been a metro for a long time now, is better planned in terms of the number of arterial roads. It takes a little less than 45 minutes to travel half way through the city in car in peak time (I do this every day) - not at all a bad deal, considering Mumbai and Bangalore. And there's going to be some big respite for the entertainment starved upper class populace what with the big multiplexes that are popping up at about a half-dozen locations.

I really couldn't find any statistics or news article proving this theory, but I did come across a blog posting on this.
One just has to just travel an hour out of Chennai,in any direction-and you wd see the phenomenal growth- of the manufacturing industry-which to my mind, is a much more endearing and long lasting impact than what the service industry can boost. If Dupont has transformed Gummidipundi and the surroundings - Hyundai and Ford have created ancillaries for miles along the other important highways. And one really cant forget Volvo-in Hosur which is practically the neighbour of Bangalore in Karnataka.
I sometimes wonder if all this is true or it is just a proximity effect on me. Bangalore seemed to be the most happening place when I stayed there 4 years ago. And now Chennai seems to be. Let's wait for some real statistics to nail down on the trend.

Sorry for typos/grammatical errors if any. In a hurry to catch a train right now...

Update 1 (March 7 2007): Guess I was right. I did find a news report that pretty much confirms my claim.


At Sunday, February 04, 2007 9:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With Dayanithi Maran as IT minister Chennai is bound to get more IT companies than any other city in India. I suspect whether he approves projects only if they have the word 'Chennai' in it. :)
Do you know that TCS - Chennai is TCS's biggest delivery centre and accounts for more than $1.2 billion dollors in revenue..
The next half-of-the-decade will be Chennai's.. :)

At Monday, February 05, 2007 8:00:00 AM, Blogger Govar said...

Yu got that damn right. I suspect Bangalore still leads in terms of number of companies opening up shop there, but when it comes to mass companies and sheer volumes, i think bangalore has lost ouut. One just has to visit TCS's siruseri campus to know the state of things. Let's see how things actually tunr out...

At Monday, February 05, 2007 5:00:00 PM, Blogger Vivek Malewar said...

I too live in Chennai .. so even I have a few observations

# Bangy is full ! Saturated ! in terms of infrastructure, roads, electricity, etc etc. Companies have to search for new locations.

# Chennai's plus points :
1. Electricity problem - far less compared to others
2. Bus Transport - City buses have a surprisingly good frequency and distribution throughout the city, including outskirts. In bangy, if the place is a little outside the city, the bus connectivity would be really bad.
(Although, the condition of buses are questionable)
3. Water problem is no longer an issue - with recent rains we needn't worry about it now.

# Chennai minus points :
1. The heat - I dont know how will I live here in summers !!!
2. Language barrier - local people are completely ignorant of both english and hindi.
3. Food - I'm a marathi and I'm sick of eating sambar. (Recently I've found out some places with decent north indian style food. So I things are changing in this respect ... or so I expect)
4. Autorickshaws charge hell ! they never user the meter. So either go by bus (standing) or pay a fortune.

But I happen to disagree with you on the topic of Traffic. Come to Old Mahabalipuram Road (the new IT Highway) to see real traffic. It's horrible and it takes some 45 odd minutes to just get out of OMR to enter city in peak hours. Moreover, they have just converted a part of OMR (to that 6 lane highway) and most of it is still in dreadful state. Till the time the whole thing is completed, the traffic in this part of the city will be frustating.

(sorry for any typos up there :) )

At Monday, February 05, 2007 9:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Vivek: 1 - Assuming you are in the IT industry, I don't think heat is that much of a problem. It's going to be like Delhi or Mumbai... and even if its bad it's going to be for 2/3 months.
2 - Yes, language and food are serious barriers to Northies, and I don't see any solution for anytime now.

3 - Rickshaws. They fleece EVERYBODY. DOesnt matter whether you know the lnaguage or not. So just get a vehicle and zip past yourself.

And about the traffic, I had mentioned that it's ok... but within city limits. I know how bad OMR is... but I guess things are going to change for good what with the 6-laning plan till Siruseri. Let's hpe it happens fast.

At Tuesday, February 06, 2007 9:47:00 AM, Blogger Krishna said...

Govar, dont underestimate the climate of chennai :). It is not just for 2-3 months of hot sun. If it starts in the month of March, it will go in full form till August/september. This is how it has been for the past two years.

At Friday, February 09, 2007 4:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting comments i must say!

TCS..Chennai..there are lots of coincidences...look at all the department heads and the CEOs in TCS they all hail from Chennai and its in their self interest that they should have the biggest centre there, which ensures frequent visits to that place.
North Indian food joints is a huge business opportunity in good north indian food chain establishes a franchise there...its gonna be a huge for all those IT frustrated souls..this looks like a viable opportunity to go after.

At Sunday, February 11, 2007 10:21:00 AM, Blogger Govar said...

It might be self-centric but all research reports point to south and especially chennai these days as the best center to open up mass recruiting companies. So it's a bit of both. And being self-centric is not unique. The bombay company i worked with is in bombay coz the top mgmt is bombay - despite all the research reports that ask companies to avoid bombay coz of costs.

At Wednesday, February 14, 2007 8:48:00 AM, Blogger q said...

While chennai's infrastructure maybe marginally better than bangalore, what helps spread the traffic in part is that it has the ability to set up jobs in 3 directions.. that is the OMR stretch, tambaram strecth, and sriperumbdur stretch. The factors of class IT sez's like mahindra city, some dedicated power projects to chennai, some maran style marketing, and the fact that 1 in 8 engineers in the world are from tamilnadu seems to be doing chennai a world of good. Well the tamils had to reach the decision making level at some point in there respective co's :) Cosmopolitan life will come here as opportunities boom. Trust me when i say, 5 years back you would be hardpressed to see a chic wearing jeans on chennais streets. Today it aint a big deal.. if that is cultural developement, or some people moving in from delhi and bombay is left for you to decide :)


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