Dublin, Ireland (Ireland)
Being Ireland's capital, Dublin boasts an active and varied economic base. A large percentage of the city's income is generated by tourism, light industry, food manufacturing, and the service sector, but in the last few years the Irish capital has become a globally recognised technological centre that has been compared to Silicon Valley and London's Tech City. In this article we explore the development of Dublin as an important hi-tech hub.
The Hi-Tech Industry in Dublin
As it happened in other cities throughout Europe and North America, the decade of the 1990s had a profound impact on the economic make-up of Dublin. During that period, the city experienced a rapid increase in the number of companies involved in information technology and telecommunications. Some of the blue-chip firms that opened offices in the Irish capital included Oracle, eBay, Microsoft, Yahoo, EMC, and Dell Computers.
The Internet Neutral Exchange (INEX) began to operate in Dublin in 1997. Initially designed to improve the IP traffic exchange facilities in Ireland, the INEX has grown to accommodate IP service and digital content providers from other countries. As of June 2013, the INEX had 77 members, which included Netflix, Microsoft, Verizon Business, Amazon, Virgin Media, BT Ireland, Cogent Communications, and Nokia Siemens.
Likewise, the National Digital Park was inaugurated with the objective of providing top-class Internet connectivity and direct fibre optic links to more than 20 cities around the world. The park also serves as a data centre for telecommunications providers like BT, Eircom, and Telecity.
During the 1990s, Dublin also became known for being one of the most important European hubs for multilingual technical support centres. This attracted young professionals from other European countries and helped reduce significantly the traditionally high unemployment levels in the city, which decreased from over 15 per cent to just 8 per cent.
Another factor that helped establish the city as a leading hi-tech centre was the creation of the Dublin Institute of Technology in 1992. This educational institution is one of the most respected centres at global level, as it was recently listed as the World's Best Institute of Tehnology by the Sunday Times. The engineering and technology certifications on offer are in high-demand by employers, and the institute also offers business support and development services to local entrepreneurs through its Research and Enterprise Centre.
Similarly, the establishment of the Trinity College Technology and Enterprise campus helped attract several high-value knowledge and technology-based companies to the city. The campus provides business support, incubation space, and access to venture and seed funding. Over the years, the services provided have helped launch successful and novel indigenous ventures and have attracted high levels of inward investment.
Technology Companies in Dublin
Some of the most important tech companies that have set up offices in Dublin include:
- Gala Networks
- Polaris Ventures
On the other hand, the National Digital Park provides services to companies like Sanofi Aventis, Roche, Pfizer, Unilever, Allied Irish Bank, Sony, Sage Software, AC Nielsen, Colgate Palmolive, Adobe, Independent News and Media Plc., SAP, TDK, Daikin Europe, Nestlé, and Xilinx.
The Tech Industry in Dublin: Facts and Figures
The majority of hi-tech companies that choose to launch operations in Dublin often mention the city's excellent technical infrastructure and the local pool of talent as two of the main draws. The country's low corporate tax rate (currently set at 12.5 per cent) is another important factor.
With more than 3,000 employees, Google is one of the largest employers in the tech sector in Dublin. Social media site Facebook has recently increased their staff number to 500. eBay and PayPal employ more than 2,000 staff, and companies like IBM or Gala Networks regularly create new jobs in the city.
Since the 1990s, hi-tech industrial sectors have grown to the point of accounting for 80 per cent of the country's merchandise exports, and generate annual revenues in excess of €50 billion. It is expected that by 2016, the value of the Internet-based economy alone will be over €11 billion.
Overall, the technology sector (most of which is based in Dublin) provides almost 80,000 jobs. This figure is set to increase as Dublin's competitiveness and reputation as a high-profile technology hub continue to grow.
Dublin airport serves more than 125 destinations in the UK, Europe, and the world's most important business hubs. The airport is linked to the city centre via public buses and coaches. AirCoach runs express servies to the southern part of Dublin, where many business parks and tech companies are headquartered.
Train services depart the stations at Connolly and Heuston and connect the capital with oter Irish cities. In addition, there are passenger ferries linking Dublin with Liverpool and Holyhead.