Zurich metropolitan area
The European Metropolitan Region of Zurich (EMRZ), also Greater Zurich Area (GZA, German Zürcher Wirtschaftsraum, Metropolregion Zürich), the metropolitan area surrounding Zurich, is one of Europe’s economically strongest areas and Switzerland’s economic centre. It comprises the area that can be reached within a roughly 80-minute drive from Zurich Airport. Home to many international companies, it includes most of the Canton of Zurich, and stretches as far as the Aargau and Solothurn in the west, Thurgau, St. Gallen and parts of Grisons in the east, Schaffhausen in the north and Zug and parts of Schwyz and Glarus in the south. Roughly three million people live in the area. However the area is mainly rural and is lacking a true metropolitan character with the comparatively small city of Zurich functioning as a mere hypothetical centre.
The Swiss federal office for statistics defines an unofficial metropolitan area as including all areas where more than 8.33% of the workforce commutes to the core area. According to the 2000 Swiss census, this includes a total of 220 municipalities in seven cantons: 127 in the canton of Zurich, 58 in Aargau, 11 in Schwyz, 10 in Zug, 9 in Schaffhausen, 3 in Thurgau and 2 in St. Gallen. The area covered by these municipalities is 2103 km² (excluding Lake Zurich and Greifensee), inhabited by a population of 3.8 million. Note: with a total Swiss population of roughly 8 million this is a rather loose and very broad interpretation of the actual "Zurich Metropolitan Area". Its main purpose seems to be to seek a mere accumulation of inhabitants by including as many cities into the area as possible.
Numerous Swiss and international corporations are based in the area, profiting from benefits such as
- the low tax rate
- the low cost of doing business, excellent infrastructure
- the high quality of life
- the dominant financial sector Zurich
The Greater Zurich Area AG, a nonprofit organization, is the marketing association for the Greater Zurich Area business region. It recruits international companies abroad and assists them with setting up companies and making investments in the Greater Zurich Area. Its sponsor is the Stiftung Greater Zurich Area Standortmarketing, a public-private partnership that was established in November 1998. Since that time, its membership has grown to include the cantons of Glarus, Grisons, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Zug and Zurich, the cities of Zurich and Winterthur, and several businesses.
- Banking, Insurance, Financial Services
- Biotechnology, Life Sciences, Medical Technologies
- Information and Communication Technologies ICT
- Hightech, Microtech and Nanotech
- Prime location for R&D, academic research
- Greater Zurich Area AG
- Ralph Etter, Appenzell als Teil der "Greater Zurich Area" – Chancen, Risiken und Handlungsansätze (2003) 
- Zürcher Wirtschaftsförderung unter der Lupe, Neue Zürcher Zeitung 26 October 2006.
- Patrick Dümmler, Alain Thierstein, The European metropolitan region of Zurich : a cluster of economic clusters?, ETH Zurich, Institute for National, Regional and Local Planning, Chair of Spatial Development, 2002 
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