Deep in the forested mountains of Hsinchu County lies the Atayal settlement of Smangus (司馬庫斯; Sīmǎkùsī), the last village in Taiwan to be connected to the electric grid (in 1980). For centuries here, life went on pretty much as it always had, with hunting and farming millet, taro, yams and bamboo forming the backbone of the local economy.
In the early 1990s a forest of ancient red cypress trees was discovered nearby and lowland Taiwanese began to flock here in numbers. There was intense competition between villagers for customers, until in 2004 a cooperative (modelled on the Israeli kibbutz) was formed to manage lodging and the area's resources. Fortunes could have been made selling out to developers but instead the village has admirably gone the local and sustainable route.