On an international scale, we know India as the second largest country in terms of population, falling right behind China with 1.2 billion people. We also recognize it for its rich, diverse culture encased in a beautiful landscape, and for its incredible culinary culture – and perhaps some of us acknowledge India for bringing the world the Kama Sutra!
But India is also notable as the third richest country in the world with a GDP (PPP) of well over $5 trillion. Yet, this country also struggles with wealth inequality, gender inequality and city slums. According to data reported in 2010, over 68% of India’s population lives on less than $2 a day, and during the last decade over 28% of the country’s whole wealth was held by the top 10% of the population. India is home to some of the world’s wealthiest billionaires, and the country’s economy is expanding. The liberalization of India’s economy into a free market in the early ’90s has meant rapid growth for the country. But with less than a third of the country’s population living in urban areas – compared to about 80% of the population in America and the United Kingdom, for example – it’s reasonable to assume that a large volume of India’s wealth is concentrated over a small urban area. Whether it’s the country’s relatively minimal urbanisation, a rapidly growing economy or a significant wealth gap – or, a combination of all of these factors – the cities in India do account for a huge volume of the wealth. Let’s take a look at the most recent statistics available on the 10 richest cities in India, as per a Yahoo Finance India Report in 2011, ranked by PPP GDP.
10. Visakhapatnam- $26 billion
Visakhapatnam is primarily an industrial city where various heavy industries, steel plants, banking firms, and international informational technologies contribute to the economic growth. It’s also home to the country’s oldest shipyard and some of the largest seaports in India. The city is also referred to as the Jewel of the East Coast because of its location on the southeast coast of India.
9. Surat- $40 billion
Surat has been referred to as the Diamond capital of the world – as it’s where the world’s diamonds (over 90%) are commonly sent to be polished and cut. It’s also known as the Textile capital of India. Obviously, the diamond industry definitely contributes to the GDP of Surat, but steel, petrochemical, and Jari manufacturing have also played their part in making this one of the wealthiest cities in India. Real estate is also starting to become popular in Surat, so the city is expected to grow over the years as the real estate industry takes off.
8. Pune – GDP of $48 billion
Pune can trace its origins back to 847 AD – when it was, of course, a much smaller town. Now, it is a bustling city primarily known for its educational facilities. The automotive and I.T. industries are responsible for the economic growth of Pune but the glass, sugar, and forging industries have also contributed to this urban expansion. The city attracted a host of giants in the automotive industry including Mercedes Benz and Kinetic Motors, which have positively impacted the city’s GDP of $48 billion.
7. Ahmedabad- GDP of $64 billion
Ahmedabad is the largest industrial center in Gujarat. Its high GDP is due in part to Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Nima, and Adani Group. These businesses have played a huge role in the economic growth of the city – recently, Ahmedabad made number 3 on Forbes’s list of fastest growing cities in the decade. The city also hosts religious festivals frequently throughout the year to honor the various religious groups of the city.
6. Chennai- GDP of $66 billion
Chennai is the biggest commercial and industrial center in South India; it’s also a cultural, economic, and educational center and the second largest exporter of business process outsourcing services and information technology in India. Known as the ‘Detroit of India’ for its reliance on the automobile industry, other activities that have contributed to the city’s economic growth are health care services, technology, and hardware manufacturing: Chennai is India’s second largest exporter of I.T. It’s the 6th largest city in India with a population of well over 4.5 million people.
5. Hyderabad- GDP of $74 billion
Historically, this city was known as a pearl and diamond trading center. Although those days are long over, Hyderabad is still known as the City of Pearls. A lot of the bazaars present throughout the city have been operating for centuries, further adding to the rich history of Hyderabad. During the 20th century, the city saw an influx in manufacturing, research, and financial institutions which helped contribute to the hefty GDP.
4. Bangalore- GDP of $83 billion
Bangalore is also referred to as the Silicon Valley of India because of the numerous information technology companies that call this city home, and the fact that it is the nation’s leading information technology exporter. Because the city rests at an elevated 3000 feet above sea level, residents enjoy a pleasant climate year round. The city’s also ranked in the top ten preferred entrepreneurial locations in the world, so sun-loving entrepreneurs should option Bangalore for their next move!
3. Kolkata- GDP of $150 billion
Kolkata, or Calcutta, is considered to be one of the most important financial hubs of India and is also the key commercial, educational, and cultural center of East India. The city is rapidly expanding thanks to a wide range of industries including steel, mining, pharmaceuticals, and textiles productions. The I.T. sector has grown hugely here, too – it was reported that the I.T. industry here as grown by twice the national average, at a rate of 70% in the 2000s.
2. Delhi- GDP of $167 billion
The capital city of India comes in at number two on our list of the richest Indian cities. It’s one of the biggest commercial cities in South Asia and as an added bonus, boasts the largest foreign direct investment. Retail industries are thriving within the city, in addition to construction, power, and telecommunications. Delhi is also the world’s second most populous city and the largest in India in terms of size. As of 2008, 10 of India’s wealthiest billionaires all resided in Delhi.
1. Mumbai- GDP of $209 billion
In 2009, Mumbai was named as one of the world’s “Alpha Cities” – and for good reason. It’s considered to be the technical hub of India due to the fact that it houses premier scientific and nuclear institutes. Mumbai is also one of the largest cities in the world in terms of population and it’s responsible for 70% of capital transactions of the nation’s economy. Mumbai comes in at 6 of the top 10 global cities on the billionaire count; a total of 26 billionaires call Mumbai home.