Silicon Valley - America's High Tech Centre
Silicon Valley is located in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay area. It originally got its name from the large number of companies that produced silicon chips. Today it is a general name for the high-tech industry of Northern California.
The beginning of Silicon Valley goes back to the early 20 th century when the United States military and other companies started experimenting in the fields of radio, communications and electronics. The area also grew because Stanford and other universities and colleges produced a number of students who were interested in technology.
One of the first companies that started in Silicon Valley was Hewlett Packard. It was founded by two graduates of Stanford University in 1939. Today HP is the world’s largest technology company and operates in almost all countries in the world.
After World War II an industrial park was built around Stanford University. Companies rented offices from the university and employed students as engineers and scientists.
In the 1950s the silicon transistor was developed and many companies started moving into the region. In the 1970s Silicon Valley became a well-known term in the United States because of the computer and software firms that were founded in the area. About a hundred new companies were established every year. Such growth was possible because people could found a company, get money and rent office space in only a few weeks.
Among the well known companies in the region are search engines Google and Yahoo!, chip producer Intel, computer and software manufacturers Apple and Adobe.
By 1992 Silicon Valley accounted for over 250,000 jobs and over 40% of California’s exports. Companies began calling in specialists from China and India because more and more high-tech scientists and engineers were needed.
When the Internet boom began in the 1990s a number of new so-called dot.com enterprises sprang up, including the online auction house eBay and others. When the boom collapsed at the beginning of the new millennium, thousands of high tech workers lost their jobs and couldn’t afford the high housing prices that the area produced.
But even after the global financial crisis of 2008 Silicon Valley remains one of the top research and high-tech centres in the world.
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- account for = to be a part of something
- afford = if you do not have the money to buy something
- boom =an increase or very quick rise in the economy of a country
- call in = to offer a job to
- collapse = fall apart
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- dot.com enterprise = a company that works in the Internet business
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- online auction house = a website in which you can sell things to the person who offers the highest price
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- scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a lab
- silicon chip = computer chip
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- transistor = a small piece of metal in radios and TVs that controls electricity