Home to many of the worlds most successful and largest tech-companies as well as small, promising start-ups, the Silicon Valley in the San Franciso Bay Area in Northern California is the most famous area for innovation.
Over the past decades, many areas in other countries all over the world have started to create an alike environment where R&D centers, bright minds, branches of large tech-companies and start-ups build a dense network for innovation and know-how.
The “Silicon Wadi” in Israel, the “Silicon Roundabout” in London and the “Silicon Plateau” in Bangalore, India are among the biggest “alternative Silicon Valleys” in the world.
1. “Silicon Island”, Hsinchi (Taiwan)
Once a rural area, the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park, not far away from the country’s capital Taipeh, is today the heart of Taiwan’s tech industry. Over 250 startup companies prospered since the park’s opening in 1980, shaping the country into the largest manufacturer of keyboards, monitors and motherboards as well as the provider of one-third of the world’s notebooks. With about 68,500 people working in Hsinchu Park, this place contributes nearly 5% of Taiwan’s $284 billion economy. Many employees and engineers have formerly worked in Silicon Valley which is why the “Silicon Island” is in its culture very similar to the original.
2. “Silicon Wadi” in Israel
Located in the coastal plain in Israel, this place has a remarkably high concentration of high-tech companies. Israel has more start-up companies per capita than any other country in the world, including the U.S., which makes this place a truly dynamic innovation hub for large high-tech companies like Microsoft, IBM, Google or Intel. These global players, among many others, have built large R&D centers in Israel in order to benefit from the country’s remarkably tech-savvy work force. In addition to a world class education and outstanding tech-skills, mostly acquired through compulsory military service for both men and women, the israeli mentality, often referred to as “Chutzpah” which can be translated as persistence, assertiveness and boldness, is considered a key driving factor for the country’s success in building a highly competitive entrepreneurship culture. Saul Singer and Dan Senor, the authors of “Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle” point out why this mentality is so beneficial for an entrepreneurial culture.
3. “Silicon Plateau” in Bangalore (India)
As a trend-setter in software devices and IT, Bangalore is labelled as one of the most progressive, booming and innovative cities in India. After India’s gained independence in 1948 and its subsequent economic growth, Bangalore was transformed into a role model of technological strength. With a high density of bright minds and high-capacity for R&D, this 6,5 million-population-city is home to several state-funded projects including Electronic City and IT Park as well as the big players of the IT world like Intel, Microsoft, Dell and Oracle, who opened their headquarters in Bangalore, not far away from traditional temples. In Addition to its role as a world class center for IT, Bangalore is also gaining recognition as a budding leader in biotech, attracting additional experts from the U.S. and Europe.
4. “Silicon Roundabout” (London)
A rather new space for innovation excellence and a high number of web businesses was named and mapped out in 2008 by Matt Biddulph, CTO at Product Club. Jokingly coined ‘Silicon Roundabout’ on Twitter as a specification of East London’s developing startup scene, it became the name for the area around Old Street. Among the first tech companies in that area were Last.fm, TweetDeck, Dopplr and Songkick. Today the new hub for UK’s entrepreneurship entails over 85 startups, from web firms to games development companies. Georgina Voss, a researcher who studied the area and work environment around Old Street, describes it as a “culture of self-education and mutual support.” In 2008 Google announced that it had acquired a seven-storey building in Bonhill Street, not far away from Old Street in order to host ”a range of activities, such as speaker series, hackathons, training workshops and product demonstrations”. Furthermore, providing workspace for new companies.
5. “Silicon Gulf” in Davao (Philippines)
The Silicon Gulf started as an initiative in 2006 , emphasizing the cooperation between industry, government and academia in order to transform Davao from an agricultural and industrial economy to a knowledge-based one via use of technical know-how and developing talent in the field of entrepreneurship, IT project management and core technical skills. The high tech cluster located in Davao City comprises a growing number of IT companies and IT Enables Services (ITES). In addition to its status as the most competitive city in the Philippines with the lowest cost of doing business declared by the Asian Institute of Management, it also has a lot of IT Parks and Incubators which faciliate the formation of new businesses.