The World’s 10 Most Tech-Savvy Areas Outside of Silicon Valley

by Staff Writer

Lately, news outlets and tech hopefuls are quick to draw the comparison between their city and the renowned technology center, Silicon Valley. You could probably Google a random, Mid-Western small town and find someone somewhere calling it the next Silicon Valley. Some cities around the world actually deserve the recognition, though, whether they are leading in innovation in a technology-saturated country like the U.S. or are bringing new ideas and business to a country that has been behind for decades. Keep an eye on these tech-savvy centers: you might be addicted to their products someday.

  1. India

    In the minds of many, India is just a country where American ideas are sent to be manufactured, or worse yet, where the customer service for American brands is located. But the highly populated democracy has actually been making strides in innovation in recent years, especially in the technology field. Companies like GE and Intel have research centers in India, and products that can be marketed worldwide are being developed there, like more advanced CT scans and safer car bumpers.

  2. Seattle

    Rain and Starbucks are more likely to pop into your head when you think about Seattle, but this West Coast city actually has more technology job growth than Silicon Valley itself. That's not too surprising when you consider the fact that Internet giants like Facebook, Amazon, and Google have offices in the city, and Microsoft and Nintendo of America have been headquartered there for decades. Tech startups are popping up all over the city and trying to come up with the next big thing in mobile devices, software, and whatever else nerds like.

  3. Tel Aviv, Israel

    Whether it's because Israel was thought to lack natural resources (though oil and natural gas has recently been discovered there) or because Tel Aviv naturally attracts technology geeks, the city has seen a boom in innovative startups in the past decade. Out of 600 companies on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, more than 20% are technology companies. Even many American entrepreneurs who were previously doing business in Silicon Valley have made the move to Tel Aviv because they see more promise there for tech advances. The area has come to be known as Silicon Wadi, the Hebrew version of Silicon Valley.

  4. Hsinchu, Taiwan

    Thirty years ago, China's government invested almost $1 billion to build Taiwan's Hsinchu Science and Industrial Park in an effort to copy the success of Silicon Valley. That area is now home to more than 400 technology companies. Apparently the investment paid off, because these companies made up 10% of Taiwan's GDP by 2007. Two major science and engineering universities sit near the park, as well as an entire amusement park with a science theme (strangely named Little Ding-Dong Science Park). These major attractions are apparently working when it comes to drawing in the technology wizards; this hotspot shows no signs of slowing down.

  5. Nairobi, Kenya

    The continent of Africa has long experienced an unfortunate phenomenon known as brain drain, where the best minds leave the country to get a good education and don't come back since they can find better jobs abroad. But Nairobi is starting to change that when it comes to the technology sector. Though their tech-savvy area is still in its infancy, it is already being touted as the Silicon Valley of Africa. Innovative Kenyans have been gathering advice from Silicon Valley bigwigs in order to produce the most effective center for their startups, which will likely cost around $7 billion and be called Konza Technology City. It's yet to be seen whether it will compete with the geekiest areas of the globe, but it's a good step for Africa.

  6. Guatemala City, Guatemala

    This small slice of techie heaven may be worlds away from California's rich oasis, but it is a sign of good things to come for the South American country that has had a hard time moving its economy beyond coffee and vast inequality. In one tall building, known as Campus Tecnológico, a multitude of tech companies contribute to the industry with online games and digital renderings. One sure sign that the area is turning into a prime tech target: skinny-jeaned hipster nerds can be found walking the streets at lunchtime. They're obviously well on their way to competing in the tech world.

  7. Buenos Aires, Argentina

    When costs climb too high in the U.S., businesses look for cheaper places to move operations and maximize profits. The fall of the peso about a decade ago made Argentina an attractive destination for tech companies, and many of these operations enjoy the smaller time difference between Argentina and the U.S. compared to other relocation possibilities, like Asia. Many technology giants, like IBM, Microsoft, and Cisco have divisions in Buenos Aires, making the site well known for its advantages to offshore operations. Many startups are moving to the area as well, so profits will be larger even when the company is young.

  8. Dublin

    Sometimes luring in big-name technology firms is all an area needs to become a magnet for innovation. Dublin's docklands, which have been nicknamed Silicon dock, have drawn in leading companies from around the globe because of their low corporate tax rate and impressive infrastructure. So far, Dublin's got an office for Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. They're hoping startups will follow and encourage innovation from the Irish themselves.

  9. New York City

    It's probably not surprising that New York would be near the top of the pile when it comes to innovation. It's the city where dreams come true (and thousands of others go to die). The same is true for geeks' dreams of becoming legendary millionaires. The section of New York City known as Silicon Alley that popped up during the '90s is home to more than a handful of successful tech startups. And just this year, New York City passed up Boston to become the city with the second most available venture capital in the U.S., with Silicon Valley as No. 1.

  10. Skolkovo, Russia

    It was only a few decades ago that Russia was in close competition with the U.S. in terms of innovation, but since the Cold War, the U.S. has clearly outmatched the Russians. Tech lovers in Skolkovo are hoping to change that, though, and make a renowned center in this town near Moscow. With an important business school and an "innovation city" next to each other, the government is hoping that the synergy between the two will create successful high-tech startups that will give a boost to the economy. With the amount of money being invested in the project, it won't be surprising if some serious money starts coming out of it.


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