1970, in the heart of Chennai, adjacent to Mount Road (Anna
Salai), on a tiny street called, Ritchie Street, five shops,
dealing in electronic component spare parts opened up. In
five years, this tiny market had 25 shops, with people from
all over Tamil Nadu coming here to purchase electronic component
spare parts, for assembling electronic equipment.
Ritchie Street was developing rapidly, but the sales tax
structure proved to be a major hindrance to growth. The Sales
tax of 12% was a big turn-off for customers and the state
was also losing a lot of revenue through unbilled sales. Despite
this, the market progressed and between 1982 and 1990, 125
more shops had come up. Under President's rule, Dr. P.C.
Alexander, the then State Governor, reduced Sales Tax
from 12% to 2% and Central Sales Tax by 1%. This bold step
encouraged big names like Bharat Electronics Limited, Meltron,
Philips, Keltron and others to set shop on Ritchie Street.
As demand grew, people (especially form North India) who
recognised the market potential for electronic goods on Ritchie
Street, started setting up shop here. By 1982, 175 shops covered
most of Ritchie Street up to Mount Road. Today the shops are
spread over Ritchie Street, Narasinghapuram Street, Meeran
Shaib Street and Waller's Road.
H Chandalia, Secretary, South India Radio and Electronic
Traders Association (who has been in Ritchie Street for
over 30 years now) says, "Another highlight of Ritchie
Street is its cassette industry. Nearly 50,000 audio cassettes,
blank and recorded, are being produced daily. What sets apart
Ritchie Street is the service facilities it offers for each
type of product that is sold here".
Today, with more than 900 shops, it is the second largest
market for Computer spares and peripherals in India.
Approach: After Gaiety and Casino
Theatres, the left turn adjacent to Geeta's Coffee
centre, Mount Road.