Canon executives are considering setting up research and development on Long Island, sparking hopes among area leaders that the New York City suburbs could become a technology innovation hub a la Silicon Valley, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“It’s safe to say that we would consider it, especially for R&D, considering that there are several top universities,” Seymour Liebman, vice president of Canon U.S.A., told the Journal.
The electronics maker opened a new $500 million headquarters building in Melville, on Long Island, in February.
While locating a research and development facility in the area would enable the company to draw on a growing base of science and engineering talent, Liebman told the Journal, other factors such as tax incentives may prompt the move.
Long Island politicians and business leaders have seized on the plan as a step in growing an innovation-based economy in the area. But while experts told the Journal that these economic-development plans have reasons for hope, the island’s balkanized government — divided into two counties, two cities, 13 towns and dozens of villages and other taxing districts — could be a liability.
“We have a government structure that is not set up to solve regional problems,” Nancy Rauch Douzinas, president of the Rauch Foundation, a nonprofit organization that studies the island’s economy, told the Journal. “When you take everything down to such a small level, it fosters local thinking and undermines any ability to get bigger entities.” [WSJ] — Julie Strickland