Electronics Production | January 10, 2007
Hopes still alive in Silicon Glen, Scotland
Silicon Glen, a region between Scotland's two largest cities became home to a host of the world's largest electronics firms in the 1990s. Since then the region has lost much of its glitter.
The electronics industry still accounts for more than half of Scotland's exports, despite its well-publicised traumas of recent years. During 2000 and 2001, more than 6,000 jobs were lost in West Lothian alone as firms moved manufacturing operations to cheaper locations in Asia and Europe, this is a trend that still remains. Senior executive Hugh Aitken at Sun Microsystems, which employs 650 staff in Linlithgow told BBC "We have to collapse a few myths about manufacturing electronics being dead in Scotland," "It is not. It is very much alive here and some people need to start taking up the manufacturing sector in Scotland." More than 1,000 companies still operate in the field, employing about 25,000 people and generating £2.3bn for the economy. Foreign firms account for more than 60% of all corporate research & development spending in Scotland, one reason why their presence is so vital to wealth creation as well as jobs. The enterprise agency is responsible for attracting inward investment to Scotland, and despite the retrenchment of recent years, the electronics sector remains one of its six priority industries. Experts believe Scotland appeals strongly to many Indian and Chinese firms because of its high educational standards and the integrity of its legal system.