Studies in the development of high-tech industries have shown low levels of community involvement and environmental mobilization. In contrast to the tenets of social movement theories, it seems that the openness of political systems and the tactics of social movements are not enough to lead to increased grassroots environmental resistance in the context of high-tech development. This article uses the example of high-tech electronic development in Hsinchu, Taiwan, to examine why and how grassroots activism has been impeded in the past two decades. The article highlights the industrial characteristics and processes within the information technology sector, and analyses existing obstacles to environmental mobilization in the context of a fast-growing high-tech economy. It argues that a unique IT development structure has dramatically changed local social characteristics in a way that constrains grassroots mobilization in public social agendas. It also shows how the influential and rapidly expanding IT sector has come to dominate resource-use in the area, leaving opposing forces more powerless than ever.