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When people think of advanced technology, they usually have one name in mind: Silicon Valley. The region located at the south of the San Francisco Bay Area is famous the world over for being the center of innovation, bold ideas, venture capital for tech startups (VC), high technology, and even social media.

Silicon Valley (SV) is composed of various cities, including San Jose, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View. The tech hub got its name from the large number of silicon chip manufacturers and innovators from the area, but the place is now home to some of the world’s biggest names including 39 companies listed in the Fortune 1000, as well as plenty of startups. However, there’s something else giving Silicon Valley a run for their money, and it’s not who you expect.

A Surprise Contender

There are many challengers to Silicon Valley’s dominance in high tech revolution. With the area serving as the home to big names such as Apple, Google, and Facebook, sunny California’s SV has established itself as an amazing place to create and grow bold, disruptive ideas that are worth millions.

There are many high tech areas that also prove to be just as hip and innovative as SV, including: the Greater Seattle Area (Microsoft, Amazon); Texas (Dell, Texas Instruments); and Boston (TripAdvisor, Akamai). Areas like Denver Tech Center in Colorado, Silicon Alley in New York, Research Triangle of North Carolina, and the Golden Corridor in Chicago, are all blooming when it comes to thriving businesses.

Internationally, there are interesting non-American locations with promising futures. Berlin, Germany; Toronto, Canada; Singapore; Paris, France; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Bangalore, India; Sydney, Australia; Tel Aviv, Israel; London, England; and Moscow, Russia. However, there is a surprise contender that is shocking and disrupting businesses worldwide: China.

A new report by VentureSource reveals that China, one of the biggest and most populous countries in the world, is closing in on the United States as the largest backer of startups. The report shows how the Asian country owns about a third (about 33 percent) of total startup financing in 2017, closing in on the US’s 47 percent.

China-based investors also now lead about a quarter of total investments, compared to America’s 44 percent, further showing China’s steady climb in both VC and high technology. In addition, Sequoia Capital established itself as one of the leading VC names, especially as their investor Neil Shen was put in the Forbes Midas list – the list of top 100 dealmakers in tech and lifestyle VCs.

The China Question

China did not become a threat to Silicon Valley overnight. What exactly happened? The shift to China includes an upsurge in spending for research and development (R&D), patent applications, scientific research, and even engineering graduates.

China’s R&D spending is currently at $409 billion, alarmingly close to America’s $497 billion. Spending is also increasing at 18 percent a year, versus only 4 percent for the US.

China’s patent applications in 2017 increased 13.4 percent (48,882 applicants) – 20 percent of the total number of applicants worldwide. Meanwhile, the US claims a whopping 29 percent (56, 624 applicants) that same year.

As far as scientific research goes, China accounts for 18.6 percent globally, while the US still has a respectable but overshadowed 17.8 percent.

China also boasts having 22 percent of the world’s bachelor degrees in science and engineering. The US is at 10 percent for the US. It’s slightly different for doctoral degrees, though China is still a contender at 34,000 compared to the US which has 40,000.

While China is starting to become a truly disruptive threat to other tech hubs found all over the world, people should not see it in a negative light – if anything, this bold impact can be something worth spending positive energy on, allowing brilliant minds from within and outside of Silicon Valley to challenge themselves to become even better than they already are.

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