Kerala is a very small state. Its area is 38863 sq km and is 22nd in the order of area among states in India. Below Kerala is only the NE states, Goa, Delhi and the UTs. However it is 12 th in population and density of population is 859 as per 2011 census. In Density of population Kerala is 3 rd among the states.
The total of areas in highlands - hills and mountains and coastal area or lowland s is about 50 percent of the total area. That means vacant land sufficient for large industries is not available in Kerala.
This is one basic reason of absence of large industries in Kerala. However Kerala is not devoid of large industries. Kerala has large industries(most of them in public sector) Like Fertilizers And Chemicals Travancore Limited , Indian Rare Earths , Hindustan Insecticide Limited , Hindustan Machine Tools , Travancore Cochin Chemicals, Bharath Petroleum Company Limited , Hindustan Petroleum Company Limited , Hindustan Organic Chemicals, COCHIN SHIPYARD , Transformers and Electrical Kerala Limited etc. There were a few large industries in private sector like There is Hindustana Aluminum Ltd and Philips Carbon Black also in Kerala. However many industries like Toshiba Anand, Travancore Rayons Ltd, Mavoor Rayons etc had to close down. There are many medium and small industries.
However much private capital is not coming to Kerala due to the powerful political trade unionism, high labour cost and public consciousness against capitalist exploitation, pollution etc. As land is not available, but skilled and educated labour is available, the state has now turned its attention to less polluting, less land consuming industries like Electronics, IT and telecom sector. Kerala became pioneer in this by starting KELTRON, and then Technopark and Infopark .There is an Export processing zone in Kochi.
As it is a consumption state, trade and commerce units are more .