Silicon Corridor Thames Valley (UK)
The Silicon Corridor is another name that has been given to the M4 Corridor, which is a technology center in the United Kingdom. This corridor houses some of the most influential and important technology companies in the entire country. Even some of the top worldwide technology research and development companies have their headquarters here. Aside from the companies that are headquartered along the M4 Corridor, many other companies have major operational stakes in land and buildings along the length of the corridor. These features make this area between South Wales and London one of the most technologically productive areas of Western Europe.
Geographically, the Silicon Corridor is accessible via the M4 motorway, which has led to the alternative moniker "M4 Corridor." It is also serviced by the Great Western Main Line, the South Wales Main Line and Heathrow Airport. There are a number of important cities in the UK that fall along the boundaries of the Silicon Corridor. These towns and cities include Bath, Bristol, Maidenhead, Newbury, Newport, Slough and Swindon. Thanks to the close proximity of city centers and national motorways, the Silicon Corridor has been able to develop a healthy economy based largely around the technology industry.
Famous Companies Operating in the Corridor
There are a number of famous companies operating within the Silicon Corridor, including some very recognizable worldwide companies. While not all of these companies are "headquartered" in the area, they do maintain a significant base of operations here. Companies like Microsoft and Dell have essentially centered the majority of their UK developments along this corridor.
Hutchison 3G UK is headquartered in the city of Maidenhead on the UK side of the corridor. Hutchison 3G is a company that specializes in mobile networks and VoIP technology solutions. The company has nearly 28 million customers around the world, and it employs thousands of people throughout its various bases of operation.
The major communications company O2 is headquartered in Slough, which is right along the corridor. O2 is a mainstay in the English economy, and it has helped to finance serious research into communications software and other technologies. The company also helps to build large, important structures around the United Kingdom. The O2 Dome is a prime example of this philanthropy in action. As of the numbers released in 2012, O2 employs more than 10,000 people in as part of one of the largest communications networks on Earth.
Vodafone is another large, famous company in Europe that maintains significant operations along the Silicon Corridor. The company has a large campus along the corridor that is based in Newbury.
The Impact on the Economy
The truth is that there are a lot of technology hubs throughout the UK that have had a major impact on the economy of the region. However, the Silicon Corridor is unique in the sense that it has brought a disproportionately larger amount of development to Wales than to England. No fewer than 16 major commercial development projects have been developed in Wales that can be directly linked to the corridor.
Over the years, many companies that already existed in the area have invested money in further developing the region. They have done this by contributing money to funds that help to build bridges and create additions to the M4. These additions are credited with providing greater access to the area, and therefore bringing more businesses into the area. For example, the major international communications firm Alcatel maintains its UK headquarters along the Silicon Corridor in Wales. These businesses help to raise the overall profile of the area and they help make the area more attractive to newcomers.
The Importance of the Silicon Corridor
The Silicon Corridor has created a way for many businesses to take advantage of excellent transport options and great business incentives. Thanks to the proximity of ports, parks, cities and major motorways, the Silicon Corridor is a hotbed of development for new companies and old ones alike. As these companies move into the area, so too do their business operations. When larger companies like Alcatel or Microsoft move in to find a base for their operations in the UK, that rising tide does indeed raise all ships.
There is a lot that still needs to be done to help bring in new investors to the areas between London and South Wales. However, the Silicon Corridor has done quite a lot to bring in large amounts of new businesses. To bring these companies in, local and national government agencies need to work together to create incentives. For many businesses, the ability to consistently get to London without having to be based out of London is a major perk. No matter what the reasoning is, more and more companies look to the Silicon Corridor every year as the future of their business operations.