Technology Map of the World It's a global economy, but innovation thrives locally. From Boston to Beijing, here's a guide to the planet's emerging high-tech hot spots.
(Business 2.0) – Where will you find the best minds to tackle difficult technology problems? Call your travel agent. Just as jewelry stores and fast-food joints often huddle with their own kind, high-tech specialists tend to congregate in specific cities or regions. There's a logic to this: After a breakthrough company or top-tier university program lays the groundwork, an area may begin to attract managers and engineers with relevant technological expertise. Throw in a few financiers or venture capitalists to back budding entrepreneurs, and with luck you may find yourself in the next Silicon Valley.
Economists refer to these specialized business ecosystems as "clusters," and the tech world is famous for spawning them. Take Cambridge, England, where startup Plastic Logic was founded in 2000 to develop inexpensive computer chips using ink-jet printing techniques. "We knew that ink-jet expertise would be fundamental to our technology," says marketing executive Cranch Lamble. That made Cambridge, home to an ink-jet cluster, the place to be.
Specialized brainpower can be a draw for mature companies as well. Microsoft set up an R&D lab in Beijing partly because the city is rich in computer interface expertise--a talent nurtured by the need to adapt Western keyboards and software to China's pictographic language. The $80 million research center, which opened in 1998, is developing a digital pen with built-in handwriting-recognition capability and software that reads text in a natural voice.
Of course, you don't need us to tell you that San Jose is a great place to go for silicon chips or that Redmond is home to thousands of programmers who know a thing or two about creating software for PC operating systems. On the foldout pages that follow, you'll find Business 2.0's guide to the world's budding pockets of expertise, the up-and-coming technologies they champion, and the companies that are exploiting them.
KEY -- 1 to 10 COMPANIES -- 10 to 100 COMPANIES -- 100 to 1,000 COMPANIES Each location is listed at its epicenter, with companies headquartered within a two-hour drive.
SEATTLE, WASH. Streaming media Downloading big media files is cumbersome. Streaming makes it more manageable to transfer online audio and video across a network. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Microsoft, RealNetworks INDUSTRY SIZE: $3.5 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 10 to 100 COMPANIES
SAN JOSE, CALIF. Enterprise resource planning software Businesses use these complex software applications to monitor the performance of vendors, inventory, and staff. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Oracle, PeopleSoft INDUSTRY SIZE: $26.7 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 100 to 1,000 COMPANIES
SAN DIEGO, CALIF. J2ME software A slimmed-down flavor of the Java programming language, J2ME is used to create business applications and games for mobile phones. ANCHOR COMPANIES: PacketVideo, Qualcomm INDUSTRY SIZE: $500 million NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 100 to 1,000 COMPANIES
AUSTIN, TEXAS InfiniBand networks The nervous system of large data farms, InfiniBand is a new standard for shuttling data between servers at gigabit-per-second speeds. ANCHOR COMPANIES: NetEffect, Vieo INDUSTRY SIZE: $750 million NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 10 to 100 COMPANIES
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. Implantable medical devices This is where the man-machine interface becomes intimate. Local firms create under-the-skin electronics such as pacemakers, drug pumps, and neurostimulators. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Guidant, Medtronic INDUSTRY SIZE: $25 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 100 to 1,000 COMPANIES
MONTREAL, CANADA Animation and special-effects software Customized software plug-ins and large Unix-based rendering applications power the special effects in Hollywood films. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Discreet, Softimage INDUSTRY SIZE: $1.2 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 10 to 100 COMPANIES
BOSTON, MASS. Redundant array of independent discs (Raid) storage hardware Companies that need quick, reliable access to large databases and digital archives use Raid systems to store critical information. ANCHOR COMPANIES: EMC, Raid Inc. INDUSTRY SIZE: $12.9 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 10 to 100 COMPANIES
EDISON, N.J. Voice-over-Internet protocol (VOIP) Talking over the Internet eliminates long-distance charges. VOIP allows consumers to make phone calls over a high-bandwidth Net connection. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Quintum, VoicePulse, Vonage INDUSTRY SIZE: $1.7 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 10 to 100 COMPANIES
RALEIGH, N.C. Linux for the enterprise Commercialized versions of the famous open-source operating system are used to control corporate servers and e-commerce applications. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Red Hat, Visara INDUSTRY SIZE: $50 million NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 10 to 100 COMPANIES
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL E-banking Online technology allows consumers to manage personal finances, invest in securities, and pay for retail purchases. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Unibanco INDUSTRY SIZE: $1.7 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 10 to 100 COMPANIES
CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND Ink-jet printing Precision motors and tiny nozzles spray ink onto paper, packaging, or food to display text or images. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Domino Printing Sciences, Linx, Xaar INDUSTRY SIZE: $4.3 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 10 to 100 COMPANIES
PROVENCE-ALPE-COTE d'AZUR, FRANCE Embedded processors Cheap processors add smarts to mobile phones, PDAs, and computer peripherals, but these chips are less powerful than those found in PCs. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Atmel, Gemplus, STMicroelectronics INDUSTRY SIZE: $42 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 10 to 100 COMPANIES
HELSINKI, FINLAND Mobile handsets Expertise in mobile-phone hardware nurtures complementary industries such as chip design and mobile software. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Nokia, Sonera INDUSTRY SIZE: $42.6 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 100 to 1,000 COMPANIES
KRAKOW, POLAND Field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) Often found in industrial control systems, FPGAs allow engineers to adjust the functionality of silicon chips to perform different tasks. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Aldec, Evatronix, Inteco INDUSTRY SIZE: $2.3 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 10 to 100 COMPANIES
MOSCOW, RUSSIA Pattern recognition software To locate the needle in the haystack, corporations and governments use software that sifts volumes of text or data to find relevant information. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Abbyy, Megaputer Intelligence, Yandex INDUSTRY SIZE: $400 million NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 1 to 10 COMPANIES
STUTTGART and MUNICH, GERMANY Automotive electronics Vehicle manufacturers install these advanced sensors and control mechanisms in new cars and trucks. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Robert Bosch, Siemens VDO Automotive INDUSTRY SIZE: $75 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 100 to 1,000 COMPANIES
BUCHAREST, ROMANIA Antivirus software Many computer worms, trojan horses, and infected EXE files originate in Eastern Europe. So do many of the world's best computer security experts. ANCHOR COMPANIES: GeCad (Microsoft), Softwin INDUSTRY SIZE: $1.4 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 1 to 10 COMPANIES
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL Network security software To protect corporate data from prying eyes, local developers build intruder-resistant firewalls, virtual private networks, and air gaps. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Aladdin, Check Point, Whale Communications INDUSTRY SIZE: $9.6 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 100 to 1,000 COMPANIES
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA Wireless telemetry Handy for mining or vehicle tracking, telemetry hardware and software are used to send and receive data over long distances. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Netstar, Spero Group INDUSTRY SIZE: $1.8 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 10 to 100 COMPANIES
BANGALORE, INDIA Financial services software Coders develop business applications ranging from enterprise software customization to complex clearing systems used by stock markets and banks. ANCHOR COMPANY: Infosys Technologies INDUSTRY SIZE: $12 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 100 to 1,000 COMPANIES
SUZHOU, CHINA Laptop computers Local manufacturing plants have the know-how to produce electronic products that are compact, rugged, and built to demanding cost-control requirements. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Arima, Compal, Wistron INDUSTRY SIZE: $17.2 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 10 to 100 COMPANIES
BEIJING, CHINA Speech and handwriting recognition Advanced human-machine interfaces allow digital gadgets to turn spoken and written language into text and commands. ANCHOR COMPANIES: IBM China Research Laboratory, Intel China Research Center, Microsoft Research Asia INDUSTRY SIZE: $2.7 billon NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 1 to 10 COMPANIES
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA Liquid crystal displays Once used mainly in laptop computers, these flat, full-color screens are also making their way into PDAs, TVs, and desktop monitors. ANCHOR COMPANY: LGPhilips LCD INDUSTRY SIZE: $37 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 1 to 10 COMPANIES
TOKYO, JAPAN Blu-Ray and HD DVD These two rival videodisc formats are designed to store up to six times as much video as conventional DVDs. ANCHOR COMPANIES: NEC, Sony, Toshiba INDUSTRY SIZE: $3 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 10 to 100 COMPANIES
SINGAPORE Disc drives Magnetic discs that store information on spinning plates are a fixture in every personal computer. ANCHOR COMPANIES: Maxtor, Seagate INDUSTRY SIZE: $2.9 billion NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 100 to 1,000 COMPANIES
TAIPEI, TAIWAN Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays Used in cell phones and digital cameras, OLED screens are brighter and more energy-efficient than conventional LCDs. ANCHOR COMPANY: Ritdisplay INDUSTRY SIZE: $100 million NUMBER OF COMPANIES: 10 to 100 COMPANIES