WASHINGTON: Three Indian cities - Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Chennai - have been listed among the world's fastest-growing cities by Forbes magazine. It also called Gujarat the "most market-oriented and business-friendly" among Indian states.
"The urban powerhouses of the next decade aren't behemoths like New York or Mumbai, but smaller cities like Chongqing, China; Santiago, Chile; and Austin, Texas," it says shifting its focus from established global centres like New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong or Tokyo.
While "China's bold urban diversification strategy hinges both on forging new transportation links and nurturing businesses in interior cities," Forbes says "India, although not by plan, also is experiencing a boom in once relatively obscure cities."
"Its rising urban centers include Bangalore (home of Infosys and Wipro), Ahmedabad (whose per-capita incomes are twice that of the rest of India) and Chennai (which has created 100,000 jobs this year). Many of India's key industries - auto manufacturing, software and entertainment - are establishing themselves in these cities."
"The growth of India and China also creates opportunity for other emerging players, particularly in Southeast Asia by creating markets for goods and services as well as investment capital."
Forbes describes Ahmedabad as "the largest metropolitan region in Gujarat, perhaps the most market-oriented and business-friendly of Indian states."
Noting that Gujarat's policies helped lure away the new Tata Nano plant from West Bengal to Sanand, one of Gurajat's exurbs, it cites one Indian academic, Sedha Menon, as comparing the state - which has developed infrastructure more quickly than its domestic rivals - with Singapore and parts of Malaysia.
Many big players in tech and services - Goldman Sachs, Cisco, HP as well as India-based giants like Tata - have located operations in Bangalore, notes Forbes.
"But the city also boasts home-grown tech giants Infosys and Wipro, which each have over 60,000 employees worldwide."
But with Bangalore's population projected to reach 9.5 million by 2025, "maintaining Bangalore's advantage over smaller, less congested cities could prove a challenge," it says.
Chennai, projected to reach a population of 10 million by 2025, "has so far this year created over 100,000 jobs - more than any other Indian city outside of the much larger Delhi and Mumbai," Forbes says.
"Chennai's metropolitan area is taking full advantage of India's soaring industrial sector, particularly the booming automobile sector. Electronics, led by Dell, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Siemens, Sony and Foxconn, are also booming. Chennai is home to India's second-largest entertainment industry, behind Mumbai."