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Bahrain 'could be Mideast Silicon Valley'

MANAMA: Bahrain could be the Silicon Valley of the Middle East, according to a leading California-based technology expert.

Fortune Nest Corporation director and chief technical officer Alex Lightman told delegates at the Bahrain World Economic Summit that the kingdom's position as the financial centre of the Middle East meant it was ideally suited to be the technology centre of the region.

"If you look at Silicon Valley's leading companies like Google, Yahoo, Cisco and HP, one thing that they all have in common is that they were funded by development capital," he said.

"Bahrain is the regional centre which can provide development capital to the development of high technology businesses and that is why my business has a presence both here and in Qatar and is doing research into developing the opportunities here.

"I can see entrepreneurs seeing the advantages of developing high technology companies here," he added.

"You have people from six to seven countries within a single flight from Bahrain. Silicon Valley in California is on the edge of the world.

"You are at the centre of it so this is an obvious place for entrepreneurs to set up technology businesses," he said.

"Bahrain has the advantage that it is an open economy that will allow immigration to facilitate entrepreneurs to come here where they can set up a business in a tax-free environment.

"That has to be a very attractive opportunity for entrepreneurs, not least when you consider this is also a centre on investment for the region," he said.



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