- Hi-tech drive moves into the fast lane -
Investment in telecoms and infrastructure is bringing Hawaiian companies into the global e-marketplace while investment in education is equipping workers with the skills to compete
are a few places in the world that evoke most peoples idea of
heaven on earth a combination of sun-kissed tropical island and
modern comforts. Hawaii
is such a place and its reputation as a holiday resort par excellence
state is transforming the dynamics of its economy. Its emergence as
a strategic centre for hi-tech business signals a new era in the
history of our islands, says governor Benjamin
By combining these
elements in the home of the worlds finest climate and beaches,
we have established Hawaii as a place of business growth in the Pacific
Rim, he says.
I took office, there was a $750 million deficit. We struggled with it
and by last year we had recovered, he says. The private
sector went through a difficult time, but all businesses have made the
transition to new technology, which has helped them a great deal to
do business all over the world. Our isolation is a disadvantage, but
we have been able to deal with that through investment in telecommunications
Hawaii has one of the best telecommunications networks in the US, according
to Mr Cayetano. Hi-tech and biotech companies have set up business on
the islands because of the quality of life here he adds.
these, software is the driving force, providing 40 per cent of IT jobs.
Around 1,600 people work in software at 210 sites around the state.
The growth in software development jobs has been impressive, rising
178 per cent from 1996-1999.
agricultural biotechnology accounts for about 85 per cent of total biotech
activity. It includes food crops grown under cover and aquaculture.
Other types of biotech include medicinal, botanical and diagnostic research.
the next 20 years most of the economic growth and population growth
will be in Asia, and we have tremendous attributes to be a part of that
global community. If we can tap into the special Asian global economy,
then enormous possibilities open up. Our geographical location means
that you can do business in the US East Coast markets and Asia on the
same day, says Mr Harris.
and development, including cloning techniques, are conducted at the
University of Hawaii. Meanwhile, the federal government conducts research
and development (R&D) into missile launching and testing at the
Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai.
has been a tremendous rise in the entrepreneurial spirit, he says.
And there is a great push to expand. Hawaii can be used by hi-tech
businesses to bring in teachers and trainers from Asia.
is the estates largest project to date and is the centre for business
activity in the west of Oahu. The city comprises retail and commercial
developments, a shopping centre, parks, entertainment and childcare
centres, a government civic centre, a library and police station.
Just as the City of Kapolei is wired for global business, its schools are wired for hi-tech education. Kapolei Elementary School principal Mike Miyamura says: The idea was to use technology as a seamless part of the curriculum. The kids did their research on the internet and produced presentations using technology.
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