The world is changing very fast due to rapidly accelerating globalization. Technology is now everywhere on the globe; allowing anyone to participate in knowledge-based work. This distribution of technology has erased traditional borders. As professor Richard Florida has discovered – it is now the mega regions of the world that are the real economic powers.
By his account, there are 20 mega-regions in the world, which:
• account for just 10% of the world’s population
• but produce half of all economic activity,
• two thirds of all scientific activity
• and three quarters of all global innovations.
The Bay Area is one of these 20 mega-regions, but, due to the speed of change, our future success depends on a massive improvement in our global connections, a retooling of our region’s infrastructure to facilitate global trade, and an unadulterated commitment to bringing the brightest and most innovative minds to invent the future in our region. The Bay Area Council has begun a concerted effort to build formal business community-to-business community relationships with these 19 other mega-regions. The organization began with the most obvious partner – Shanghai and the Yangtze region – but will expand to others as well.
Luckily, the Bay Area stands on a solid foundation of existing global connections. The Bay Area has the fourth highest concentration of Forbes 2,000 Global Companies, ranking after only Tokyo, London and New York. It also has 645 foreign-owned company subsidiaries, and the amount is rapidly increasing. A recent poll by the Bay Area Council found that local residents endorse, by a wide majority of 88 percent, the rapid acceleration in global trade and economic and cultural connections between the Bay Area and other countries, in stark juxtaposition to immigration and globalization fears in many other parts of the United States. Some of this enthusiasm may stem from the fact that many residents are themselves migrants. The percentage of Bay Area residents born outside the United States is more than twice the national average – 27 percent in the nine counties that make up the region, compared to 13 percent nationally. Forty percent of Bay Area residents speak a language other than English at home – twice the national average.