Dr. Ravindra Sannareddy: Revolutionizing Infrastructure and Manufacturing in India

Dr. Ravindra Sannareddy

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Key Points:

  • Dr. Ravindra Sannareddy founded Sri City after realizing that India’s industrial sector lacked robust infrastructure, hindering its full potential despite a vast workforce.
  • Sri City is a vibrant ‘Integrated Business City,’ with world-class infrastructure, comprising a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), a Domestic Tariff Zone (DTZ), a Free Trade Warehousing Zone (FTWZ), and an Electronic Manufacturing Cluster (EMC), all within its vicinity.
  • 210+ companies from 28 countries operate in this Business City, with 30 Japanese majors leading the pack. Together, they brought in over USD 4 billion in investments and exported products worth over USD 2 billion.

India has immense potential, with a vast and talented workforce, a diverse and rich culture, and a growing and dynamic economy. However, to realize its full potential, India needs top-notch infrastructure, especially in the industrial sector, where many challenges and opportunities exist.

To address this need, Dr. Ravindra Sannareddy, an entrepreneur and a visionary, founded Sri City, a vibrant ‘Integrated Business City’ that offers world-class infrastructure and facilities for industrial development. Sri City is home to global giants and many other international and domestic companies that coexist and thrive in a green and sustainable ecosystem.

“Imagine a place where American giants like Mondelez, Kellogg’s, Colgate Palmolive, and Pepsi coexist harmoniously with Japanese heavyweights like Isuzu, Kobelco, Daikin, Panasonic, and numerous other international and domestic companies – all thriving together under a green and sustainable ecosystem,” says Dr. Sannareddy.

Sri City supports the “Make in India” and “Atmanirbhar Bharat” initiatives, which aim to boost domestic manufacturing and attract foreign investment. Sri City also provides a platform for indigenous businesses to flourish and connect globally. Sri City is more than a business hub; it is a driving force for India’s self-reliance and global prominence in manufacturing.

Join us as we discover Sri City, a self-contained and sustained city that is revolutionizing the industrial landscape of India, and learn from the insights and experiences of Dr. Ravindra Sannareddy, the Founder and Managing Director of Sri City.

Business APAC: You have built a successful IT and infrastructure development career. What inspired you to pursue this path? How did your early education and experiences shape your vision?

Dr. Sannareddy: I grew up in rural India, where I saw the challenges and hardships people face due to a lack of opportunities and backwardness. This ignited a burning desire within me to create a space where everyone could pursue their dreams and aspirations, regardless of their background.

I started my journey over 30 years ago with a passion for innovation and learning. I earned my postgraduate degrees from Utah State and Johns Hopkins Universities in the USA. Initially, I worked as a consultant for the US Environmental Protection Agency, then founded a software startup in 1994 and expanded it across the United States. In 1998, I founded an Offshore Development Centre for my business in India, which marked the beginning of a global expansion. I transformed the business into a leading product-based technology company focused on the telecom sector.

However, I always wondered why India’s industrial sector was not reaching its full potential despite its vast workforce. I realised that the missing piece was top-notch infrastructure, essential for attracting investors and replicating India’s IT success in manufacturing.

Business APAC: How did you conceive the idea of Sri City, a world-class business city in India? What are the main sectors and industries that Sri City caters to,  and why?

Dr. Ravindra Sannareddy: As a ‘son of the soil’, I never forgot my commitment to making a positive impact on my homeland. I was inspired by the industrial prowess of the major manufacturing cities in the world, such as Shenzhen, Shanghai, Hong Kong (China), Columbia, Maryland (USA), and Cyberjaya (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). I wanted to create a similar hub in India, with exceptional infrastructure and a focus on manufacturing advancement. I also wanted to make it sustainable and inclusive, caring for people as well as businesses. So, I decided to embark on a mission: to conceive and establish a meticulously planned business city in India, a symbol of exceptional infrastructure and one dedicated to propelling the nation’s manufacturing advancement.

With the support of like-minded friends and personal wealth, I launched Sri City in August 2008, transforming a vast region into a well-planned and self-contained city. It offers a ‘work-live-learn-play’ destination, with industrial zones, residential areas, commercial hubs, educational establishments, healthcare facilities, recreation centers, and all the necessary amenities. It is a truly integrated development for commercial enterprise and lifestyle.

Sri City hosts over 210 companies from 28 countries, with a large presence of Japanese majors (30). These companies have brought in over USD 4 billion in investments and exports that exceed USD 2 billion. They represent a diverse range of sectors, such as automotive, locomotives, electronics, engineering, air conditioners, formulations, FMCG, food processing, renewable energy, logistics & warehousing. Sri City is a multi-product manufacturing powerhouse in India, embodying the ‘Make in India’ initiative and offsetting imports with significant exports.

Business APAC: How does Sri City stand out as a leader in infrastructure development in the APAC region? What are the benefits of doing business in Sri City for both domestic and foreign investors?

Dr. Ravindra Sannareddy: Sri City is a result of many factors that work together to make it an ideal place to do business. One of the key factors is its location, which provides quick and easy access to all modes of logistics, enabling smooth movement of goods within and outside the country. Sri City also showcases the diversity of its products, ranging from common to niche and exclusive ones that are produced in its numerous factories. Sri City lives up to its motto of ‘Work, Live, Learn, Play,’ as it caters to everything that a person needs in daily life.

Sri City is a vibrant ‘Integrated Business City,’ equipped with world-class infrastructure and comprising a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), a Domestic Tariff Zone (DTZ), a Free Trade Warehousing Zone (FTWZ), and an Electronic Manufacturing Cluster (EMC). It also has excellent social infrastructure, offering holistic solutions for various investment options and lifestyles. Some of the attractive features of Sri City are:

  • Strategic location on the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu
  • Excellent multi-modal connectivity
  • World-class expertise in the design, function, and maintenance of infrastructure
  • All approvals in place
  • Integrated Business City (SEZ+DTZ+FTWZ+EMC)
  • Plug-and-play convenience: with integrated business zones and ready-to-use offices
  • Talent pool galore: a readily available workforce

Sri City is where vision meets sustainable growth, creating a thriving business destination.

Business APAC: What challenges did you face in developing and maintaining Sri City’s infrastructure, and how did you overcome them?

Dr. Ravindra Sannareddy: One of the main challenges was land acquisition. We resolved this by offering fair compensation and job opportunities to the landholders and obtaining their consent without any litigation. This ‘consent-based land acquisition’ has become a model for the National Land Acquisition Act.

Another challenge was the global financial crisis in 2008, which affected the investment plans of several companies in Sri City. We used this as an opportunity to develop infrastructure at a lower cost. We also diversified our market by developing a Domestic Tariff Zone alongside the SEZ.

The pandemic was a recent challenge that threatened the operations of Sri City. We managed to keep the industrial city ‘Covid-free’ by implementing strict health protocols and community protection measures, with the cooperation of all the stakeholders. We ensured the continuity of essential goods production in Sri City.

Business APAC: As the Founder and Managing Director of Sri City, what are your main responsibilities and achievements? What are some of the projects, partnerships, or awards that you are proud of?

Dr. Ravindra Sannareddy: My responsibility is to transform this region into a thriving business hub with socio-economic prosperity. I have led the city’s development, attracting multinational corporations and creating economic opportunities and jobs. Our milestones include the creation of cutting-edge industrial zones, self-contained townships, and world-class amenities that support industrialisation.

Some of the awards that reflect our impact are:

  • “Inspirational Leader 2018” award
  • “Asia’s Most Admired Brand” award
  • National Award for Excellence in CSR
  • IGBC’s ‘Gold’ certification
  • Business World’s ‘India’s Most Innovative Sustainability Project of the year 2023’
  • Regional winner for Asia Pacific, in FDI Intelligence publication’s ‘Best Global Free Zone of the Year-2023’
  • Times Group Economic Times Edge’s ‘Iconic Brand of India – 2023’ Award
  • Economic Time’s ‘The Most Promising Business Leaders of Asia’
  • AP State Award for Industrialisation of the District

Business APAC: How do you balance sustainability, innovation, and teamwork in Sri City? What are the benefits of these values for the region and the country?

Dr. Ravindra Sannareddy: Sustainability, innovation, and teamwork are the core values of Sri City. They guide our development ethos and make us a leader in global business destinations. We have achieved excellence in urban planning and economic revitalisation. Sri City is a symbol of successful leadership in regional transformation.

Sustainability is not just an environmental issue but also a holistic approach to economic and social development. We have brought in new investments and created over 50 thousand industrial jobs, mostly for the local communities. We have also adopted eco-friendly practices, such as using only surface water, harvesting rainwater, treating wastewater, managing solid waste, and generating renewable energy. Sri City has an installed capacity of 8 MW of solar electricity, and most manufacturing firms use rooftop solar panels. Sri City has won many awards for its sustainable practices, proving its environmental consciousness. Sri City shows how industrial growth and environmental protection can go hand in hand, setting a standard for responsible development.

Innovation is our way of enhancing our infrastructure and services. We have integrated smart technologies, efficient logistics, and state-of-the-art facilities to attract diverse industries and position Sri City as a hub for technological advancements. We have also embraced cutting-edge methods to improve our processes and outcomes.

Teamwork is our key strength. We have cultivated a culture of collaboration and synergy among the various stakeholders involved in Sri City’s development. The teamwork here not only speeds up the development but also creates a favorable environment for businesses to thrive. I am proud to lead the team that has transformed a backward region into a flourishing industrial hub and set a benchmark for forward-thinking development.

Business APAC: How do you balance your work and personal life? What are your hobbies or interests outside work?

Dr. Ravindra Sannareddy: Work-life balance is a challenge, especially in the work-from-home era due to Covid-19. But I follow some simple tips to achieve it. I complete my work duties with proper breaks without compromising on my passions or hobbies. I also spend quality time with my friends and family. This gives me an excellent work-life balance. I enjoy listening to soulful music, reading, spending time with family members, socialising, etc. These activities keep my spirits high and refresh me.

Business APAC: What are your tips for aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs in the Indian infrastructure space?

Dr. Ravindra Sannareddy: To succeed in the Indian infrastructure space, you need to focus on innovation, sustainability, and collaboration. Embrace emerging technologies to optimise project efficiency and reduce environmental impact. Build strong partnerships with government bodies, local communities, and industry stakeholders to overcome regulatory hurdles. Cultivate a forward-thinking mindset, keep up with market trends, and grab growth opportunities.

Develop a resilient and adaptable business strategy that can withstand challenges. Invest in your team’s professional development, and embrace diversity and inclusivity. Ultimately, success in the Indian infrastructure space demands a harmonious blend of vision, adaptability, and a commitment to driving positive change.

Quotes

Our commitment to sustainability and innovation resonates with the “Make in India” initiative, promoting self-reliance and bolstering the nation’s manufacturing capabilities.

Also read: Business APAC’s Leading Infrastructure Leaders, 2024

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