California was at the centre of technological advancement in the 1980s, with Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay area, renowned around the world.
Decades of Technological Advancement
Silicon Valley became specifically famous in the computer industry, through its being a major centre for manufacturing the silicon required for semi-conductors. Even before the name Silicon Valley had been coined, the San Francisco area had been used for US Navy research as early as 1909.
Advancements in computer related products generally began to emerge in California throughout the second half of the 20th Century. California’s Stanford University had also played a key part in producing students who would go on to became important figures in advancing computer technology.
The computer mouse and the graphical user interface were both created in California, and many advancements in computer operating systems and software also came out of the state. Silicon Valley was seen as being at the heart of the 1990s internet boom, and even the subsequent dot-com crash didn’t affect California’s reputation as a hotbed of innovation.
By the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, the San Francisco Bay area still employed more people in the hi-tech industries than nearest American rivals the New York and Washington, D.C. areas. Silicon Valley is still home to some of the most important and powerful companies on Earth, including Apple, Google, eBay, Hewlett-Packard, Yahoo!, Intel and Adobe Systems. A large number of other significant companies also have their headquarters in Silicon Valley.
The Rise of Asia
Many countries have cities that are important technological hubs, and the explosion of the middle classes in China and India in particular will fuel demand for both countries to continue to grow. Western Europe has always been strong technologically, notably Germany, France and the UK, and countries such as Russia and Brazil are likely to become increasingly major players in the field of technology as the 21st Century progresses.
California, though, still remains the area that the whole world looks to in terms of technological innovation. The number of technological hubs around the world that include the word ‘Silicon’ in their name is testament to how they aspire to be a new Silicon Valley.
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