Developed countries such as United States, France, Germany, England, Japan, Korea and Israel have been the key players in the technology industry since its beginning. Regions such as Silicon Valley, Boston, Munich, Cambridge, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Seoul etc. were in the forefront of the evolution of the tech sector. The government research programs, university industry partnerships, required infrastructure investments, entrepreneurial eco-system and access to venture capital and abundance of talent made these cities undisputable locations of choice for technology companies.
Many of the successful companies in the technology sector were started in these cities or very soon expanded into these cities to leverage the eco-system built by the industry. Companies, in many cases, had no option but to grow in the cities as the most critical element of their success, Talent, was available only in these regions. Countries and regions aspired to replicate the magic of these cities to attract the next generation job growth engines.
In many cases, technology segment reshaped these regions. Since 1960s, Talent across the globe migrated to these cities to be part of this new technology revolution.
Over the period of time, companies in these cities defined their characteristics. Silicon Valley came to be the capitol of the technology sector across segments; Seattle became a hub for software, Tokyo and Seoul for consumer electronics, San Diego for mobile, Tel Aviv for security etc.
These cities remained the undisputed kings till the end of the millennium.
However, post 2000 saw an emergence of new global hotspots. Companies faced with high cost of operations, lack of talent began scouting for locations across the globe and found emerging countries as well as Tier 2 cities in US to be suitable locations for expansion and in some cases relocation. Maturity of the industry, emergence of new markets, availability of infrastructure for remote teams set all ensured that concentration of talent is no longer a requirement.
Countries such as India, Eastern Europe which played a role in addressing the technology issues in the IT industry proved that quality talent at an optimal cost is available in these emerging cities. In US too, companies saw new opportunities in Tier 2 cities such as Austin, Phoenix, Boulder where the cost of living is significantly lower than the traditional technology hubs.
Local governments of these emerging cities capitalize of the industry’s requirements and started to promote these regions aggressively. Tax incentives, infrastructure investment, commitments for talent growth etc. helped ease the concerns of the corporations. Successes of the early adopters in these emerging cities gave the much needed boost for the players looking for growth to aggressively expand into these regions.
Today we see an emergence of new wave of cities across Brazil, China, India, South East Asia, Central & Eastern Europe. Many cities such as Beijing, Bangalore, Moscow, Sao Paolo, Shanghai, Manila have become tech hubs on their own, competing with established regions. Many of these cities grew at an exponential rate in the past decade. Bangalore today has over 100,000 employees just in the product industry alone. In addition, there are another 500,000 are employed in the IT, BPO, Support and other technology related areas making it the largest employer of hi-tech resources in the world.
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