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Democracy & Technology Blog Silicon Valley East

For the last 20 years, many American states have attempted to duplicate the success of Silicon Valley — they’ve tried Silicon Alleys, Praries, Swamps, Meadows, and Hills. It’s a worthy goal — emulating the innovation and entrepreneurship of SV — but most places won’t fully succeed. There’s a place on the other side of the world, however, that might someday come close.
with John Rutledge (left) in Haidian, Beijing

It’s the Haidian District of Beijing. With 80 universities — including the nation’s top two, Beijing U. and Tsinghua — 400,000 undergrads and 30,000 graduate students, all the big American and Chinese technology companies, from Microsoft, IBM, and AMD to Lenovo, Baidu, and Sohu, and with Special Economic Zone status, including low tax rates and friendly regulations, Haidian is an emerging power. Did I mention it also will be host to 30 Olympic events in 2008 and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies? Or that it is home of China’s beautiful Summer Palace?
Haidian keeps getting better. This week, Haidian’s governor, Zhou Liangluo, named my friend John Rutledge its chief financial advisor. John’s a fantastic economist who bears siginificant responsibility for two of America’s most important recent economic acts — the ’81 Reagan and ’03 Bush tax cuts. Haidian now needs to recruit the financial capital and talent to propel its students and technology companies onto the world business stage. John is the perfect person to help them do that.
-Bret Swanson
with Haidian Governor Zhou (left), Rutledge, and physicist Luyu Wang, Haidian’s chief technology advisor

Bret Swanson

Bret Swanson is a Senior Fellow at Seattle's Discovery Institute, where he researches technology and economics and contributes to the Disco-Tech blog. He is currently writing a book on the abundance of the world economy, focusing on the Chinese boom and developing a new concept linking economics and information theory. Swanson writes frequently for the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal on topics ranging from broadband communications to monetary policy.