Since the entry of Hyundai to the Indian car market in the late 1990s, thousands of Korean expats have been coming to live in Chennai. The establishment of two car manufacturing plants in Sriperumbudur, 45KM south east of Chennai, means that the locality has one of the highest concentrations of Korean expats anywhere in India. It is estimated that nearly 4,000 Koreans are living in and around Chennai, one of the largest expat populations in the city.
With so many Koreans living in the city, many businesses have been set up to serve the specific needs of the Korean population. Within Chennai there are Korean only hotels and restaurants. Entire apartment complexes are designed and built in a manner that mimics Korean apartments.
While Hyundai is one of the major contributors to the Korean expat population in Chennai, there are over 200 other Korean companies that bring Koreans into the city. In the past a neighbourhood known as Kilpauk was popular with Korean expats but with so many Korean businesses located to the south and south east of the city, more and more expats are choosing to live along two roads, one is called Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) and the other is called East Coast Road (ECR). There are many luxurious villas located on the ECR with gardens and private swimming pools.
Rental costs can range from 25,000 rupees a month for a small apartment to over 200,000 rupees a month for a villa with a swimming pool.
Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Chennai
The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea is located in the centre of the city on RK Salai.
The InKo Centre in the Boat Club Road area of Chennai promotes Korean culture in India and aims to raise cultural relations between the two cities. It hosts a number of events and exhibitions that are aimed at promoting cultural ties between Korea and India.
International Schools in Chennai
The American International School is the place where most expats send their children while staying in Chennai. The school is well equipped to handle children from any country. The lessons are all taught in English. The school fees are around $35,000 per child, per year.
There are two big things to know about eating out in Chennai. One is that alcohol is not served at most restaurants unless it is located inside a hotel. The second is that certain meats are not easily available like beef and pork. Most restaurants except those at the big hotels will not serve beef and pork in their menus. Seafood is readily available.
There are several restaurants that have opened up to cater specifically to the Korean expats living in Chennai. New Seoul Hotels in the centre of the city is very popular.
Clubs and Organizations
There are a number of Korean organizations in India that help Koreans living in India. There are also a number of international organizations such as Internations and Overseas Women’s Club which cater to expats from various countries.