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9.2 Brain circulation

AnnaLee Saxenian’s (2002) concept of brain circulation refers to the way in which immigrant entrepreneurs from developing countries, such as India and China, who were attracted to Silicon Valley’s high technology hive, return home and use what they have learned.

Figure 21 We live in a much more inter-connected world

In the late 1990s, immigrants – most of whom were born in Asian countries – accounted for more than half of Silicon Valley’s 200 000 scientists and engineers. But subsequently, high-technology growth in China and India has started to attract those who had once felt that success depended only on settling abroad.

By 2002, brain circulation had become a well-established aspect of China and India’s abilities to span technological and cultural boundaries (Saxenian, 2006b). While those who emigrate to pursue a better life abroad might be viewed as unpatriotic, Saxenian contends that brain circulation has been significant in transferring know-how from Silicon Valley to China and India’s indigenous industries.