Chennai is the fourth largest metropolitan area of India and the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, Chennai had a population of 4.2 million in the 2001 census within its municipal corporation. The urban agglomeration of Chennai has an estimated population over 8 million making it one of the largest urban agglomerations in India.
The city was established in the 17th century by the British, who developed it into a major urban centre and naval base. By the 20th century, it had become an important administrative centre, as the capital of the Madras Presidency.
Chennai's economy has a broad industrial base in the automobile, technology, hardware manufacturing, and healthcare industries. The city is home to much of India's automobile industry and is the country's second-largest exporter of software, information technology and information-technology-enabled services behind Bangalore. Chennai Zone contributes 39 per cent of the State’s GDP. Chennai accounts for 60 per cent of the country’s automotive exports and is sometimes referred to as "the Detroit of India".