Photo credit: Singapore by Arian Zwegers
It’s a well known fact that Mexico is a leader when it comes to automobile manufacturing; all major car brands are expanding their facilities in the country or building brand-new plants to keep up with demand. The work force in the Spanish-speaking North American country also enjoys an excellent reputation; they have a very strong work ethic and are among the most highly skilled workers in the world.
However, many think that the only opportunities in Mexico only exist for those that are involved in the automotive industry; they might think that opportunities only exist for Japanese, American, and German auto firms. This simply is not true; while the auto manufacturing industry’s opportunities are still growing, Mexico’s talent pool is wide and astoundingly diversified, and one area Mexico excels in is that of high technology and knowledge. This is one area where Singapore tech companies could find an entire host of business opportunities.
Mexico is now producing more engineers from its top-quality universities and technical institutions than most developed countries; not only will a business have a workforce educated and skilled in cutting-edge technology, wages will cost far less than wages cost a business elsewhere. For example, an engineer’s wages are 1/3 the wages of an engineer doing the same job in the United States.
Furthermore, Singapore tech companies could take advantage of this highly skilled labor pool and of Mexico’s plentiful free trade agreements with literally dozens of nations: tech companies can easily get access to the United States market and transportation costs would be far less than exporting from Asian countries.
But what makes Mexico particularly attractive is that the high tech industry is growing at an astounding rate. One investor in Mexico claims the industry is growing at such a rate that it only took it one year to grow to the same extent as California’s Silicon Valley, which took fifteen years.
“If you want to predict the future in the Mexican tech sector, take the previous 15 years of what happened in the Bay Area, and compress it into a single year, and then watch it happen in fast forward,” says Andy Kieffer, a veteran entrepreneur and founder of Agave Lab in Guadalajara.
“It’s something that was made easier by being in Mexico,” Kieffer said about developing apps and tech businesses in Mexico rather than in the United States. It’s a question of cost effectiveness.
“It’s hard to develop two to four products at seed stage in the Bay Area and filter your winners, because step one is raise $1.5 million and build a team. Here I can build a [minimum viable product] for a few grand and test to see what works.”
Flextronics of Singapore is one of the tech companies that’s decided to invest in the “Aztec Tiger”: the company has opened a new technology center in Guadalajara and offers clients complete product analysis and test characterization services.
“We are delighted to include the Technology Center as part of our diverse infrastructure in Guadalajara,” said Flextronics’ Chief Operating Officer Mike McNamara. “By integrating complete product analysis and characterization with our existing offerings, we are well positioned to meet the increasing customer demand to accelerate new product introductions.”
Other opportunities for Singapore tech companies may exist in infrastructure in Mexico: the country is currently focusing on competition in the telecommunications sector and wants to improve access to telecommunications technologies.