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Silicon Valley’s New Immigrant High-Growth Entrepreneurs

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  • AnnaLee Saxenian

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

This article examines the economic contributions of skilled Asian immigrants in Silicon Valley—both directly, as entrepreneurs, and indirectly, as facilitators of trade with and investment in their countries of origin. Skilled immigrants account for one third of the region’s engineering workforce and are increasingly visible as entrepreneurs and investors. Two thirds of the region’s foreign-born engineers were from Asia. Chinese and Indian immigrants in turn accounted for 74% of the total Asian-born engineering workforce. In 1998, Chinese and Indian engineers were senior executives at one quarter of Silicon Valley’s technology businesses. These immigrant-run companies collectively accounted for more than $26.8 billion in sales and 58,282 jobs. The region’s most successful immigrant entrepreneurs rely heavily on ethnic resources while integrating into the mainstream technology economy. The challenge for policy makers will be to recognize these mutually beneficial connections between immigration, investment, trade, and economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • AnnaLee Saxenian, 2002. "Silicon Valley’s New Immigrant High-Growth Entrepreneurs," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 16(1), pages 20-31, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ecdequ:v:16:y:2002:i:1:p:20-31
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