India's Hot Cities

Suddenly, they're outshining much bigger towns--without the blight

Ten years ago, the South Indian port city of Madras was so quiet that most of its inhabitants were asleep by 9:30 p.m. No more. Now, restaurants such as Senor Pepe's Tex Mex and Pizza Corner draw diners until midnight, and people of all stripes dance into the wee hours at the trendy Gatsby 2000 disco. Some 60 new software development companies have sprung up, lured by the city's promise of an educated, industrious workforce. Booming businesses making auto parts, trucks, textiles, and chemicals have created 2.7 million jobs in the area. With more than $11 billion of proposed new investment--surpassing even Bombay--Madras is becoming an industrial powerhouse.

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