The city is much smaller and less crowded than Taipei, about midway between Taipei and Taichung, while close enough to keep the resources of Taipei readily accessible. The cost of living is also much lower and the variety of housing is more varied than that of Taipei. Hsinchu has special economic zones where many of the multinational corporations have their factories.
Hsinchu is best known for its Science Industrial Park where only the highly educated are allowed to live and work. Many of Taiwan's computer industry and national universities are located in the area. It is about one and a half-hours by train from Taipei.