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Silicon Valley is a nickname for the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area, which is located in part of the U.S. state of California known as Northern California. It is home to many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations, as well as thousands of startup companies. Geographically, it encompasses all of the Santa Clara Valley, the southern half of the San Francisco Peninsula, and southern portions of the East Bay. It includes parts or most of Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Alameda County.
The word “valley” refers to the Santa Clara Valley, where the region has traditionally been centered, which includes the city of San Jose and surrounding cities and towns. The word “silicon” originally referred to the large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers in the region. The term “Silicon Valley” eventually came to refer to all high tech businesses in the area, and is now generally used as a synecdoche for the American high-technology economic sector. It also became a global synonym for leading high-tech research and enterprises, and thus inspired similar named locations, as well as research parks and technology centers with a comparable structure all around the world.