Chennai's economy is based on the automobile sector, software services, hardware manufacturing, healthcare and financial services. 1991 Census charted the bifurcation as the city's workforce was mainly engaged in trade- 25.65%, manufacturing- 23.52%, construction- 6.3%, transportation- 10.72% whereas other services constituted- 31.8%.
Companies like Infosys, TCS, Wipro, Satyam, HCL, EDS, Accenture, Sun Microsystems and HP are based in the city's software and biotech parks. Software exports of US$19230mn during 2006–07, earned a name for Chennai as the second-largest exporter of software in the country, behind Bangalore.
The Industrial hub of South India, Chennai, has about 45% of India's auto components and 27% of the vehicle industry. Chennai houses several automobile giants like Mitsubishi, Ford, Hyundai, Ashok Leyland, Royal Enfield, TAFE, MRF, Dunlop, and TI Cycles. The Integral Coach Factory manufactures railway coaches and other rolling stock for Indian Railways. Chennai has acquired the name as being the Detroit of Southern Asia.
India's leather exports constitute a share of more than 50% that comes from Chennai. An SEZ (Special Economy Zone) has been set up, which manufactures apparel and footwear. The said SEZ is located in the southern suburbs of the city. Chennai has an electronics manufacturing hub. This is a place where many MNC's have set up electronics and hardware manufacturing plants. Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Dell, Flextronics and Foxconn are few examples. Research and Development facilities have also been set up in Chennai. Various chemicals giant Dow Chemicals, pharmaceuticals giants like Pfizer, and the telecom giants like Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent have their factories in Chennai.
Chennai is the seat of prominent financial institutions, including the World Bank, HSBC, Citi Bank. Chennai holds three large national level commercial banks and many state-level cooperative banks, finance and insurance companies.
Apollo Hospitals, the largest private healthcare provider in Asia, is based in Chennai. Also, some of India's well-known healthcare institutions, such as Sankara Nethralaya and Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre are based in the city. Such renowned institutions offer world-class care and cure makes Chennai the most preferred place for medical tourism across the globe.
Several SSI's (Small Scale Industries) has been established in Chennai, offering the good facilities provided by the city. Moreover, industrial units also have been set up in Chennai due to its very liberal policy. Expectedly, by 2025, Chennai's economy would increase to about $150bn from the current $45bn.