Hyderabad: Minarets and Microchips

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Founded in 1591, Hyderabad today is India’s fifth-largest city, with a population of more than 4 million. The city is famous for its minarets and its pearl bazaar. In vivid contrast to its ancient architecture of palaces, houses, and gardens, and its historical ambience, Hyderabad features modern five-star hotels, shopping centers, restaurants, and entertainment facilities, along with some of the country’s best hospitals. Hindi is the national language, but English is commonly spoken.

The capital of Andhra Pradesh in south-central India, Hyderabad comprises the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, which grew up side by side and then merged. The two cities still have distinct differences in atmosphere, the layout of their buildings, and the lifestyles of their residents, but today they share a common identity. An artificial lake constructed centuries ago separates the two cities.

With the addition of business facilities such as Hi-Tec City, said to be Asia’s largest technopark, Hyderabad is gaining a reputation as the Silicon Valley of India. Microsoft’s India Development Center occupies half of the ninth floor of the 10-story Hi-Tec building.

Microsoft chose Hyderabad from seven cities in India that it considered for the new product development center, said S. Somasegar, who conducted Microsoft’s feasibility study for the center. “We looked at 20 factors, all very important, including the quality of life, cost of living, transportation, and telecommunications infrastructure,” he said. Somasegar is a native of Chennai (formerly Madras), India, a few hundred miles south of Hyderabad.

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