India of the 21st century

Prices soar in Sriperumbudur, the tongue-twister of a place that every Indian knows. Sriperumbudur, a town 40 km southwest of Chennai, became notorious in 1991, when Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated there.

Close to 15 years since that tragic event, Sriperumbudur has flagged itself high on India’s investment map.

Some Rs 4,700 crore is headed there, with several big companies having announced locations for manufacturing units in Sriperumbudur.

Three newcomers to the region — Nokia, Flextronics and Foxconn — alone account for around Rs 1,600 crore of the planned investments in a town that’s fast becoming a global lure as a manufacturing hub.

The phenomenon is barely a decade old. Korean car-maker Hyundai was the first to spot opportunity there. In 1996, it set up a plant to make cars for the Indian market, and its success story needs no retelling. Now it has commisioned its second plant at an investment of Rs 2,000 crore.

Hyundai has the French glass maker, Saint Gobain, as its neighbour. This company plans to invest Rs 800 crore on an expansion programme that includes a second float glass plant with (daily capacity: 850 tonnes).

According to B Santhanam, managing director of Saint Gobain India, the company is putting up an advanced architectural processing facility.

The new story, however, is the electronics one. The Taiwan-based electronic component manufacturer Foxconn expects to invest $110 million (Rs 485 crore) in its local plant.

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600450 India of the 21st century
Date: 9 March 2006

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