Welcome to Guadalajara, Jalisco: Mexico's Silicon Valley|
by Alan and Ron Young
The bright blue banner spanning the highway to Guadalajara is by no
means an empty attempt at notoriety. General Electric, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Motorola,
Solectron, Flextronics, SCI, Kodak, Siemens, ... they're all here, and
the list goes on.
coupled with a number two rating on the "Worlds best Climate" list,
makes Jalisco an exciting discovery for a growing number of offshore
entrepreneurs. The thousands of "retired" Canadians and Americans who
winter here would undoubtedly agree.
The State of Jalisco is rapidly becoming known for a great deal more
than just tequila these days! The political and
The city of Guadalajara is located 45 kilometers north of Mexico's
largest lake, and at an elevation of approximately 5,200 feet. This
combination of high elevation and the moderating effect from Lake
Chapala, create a warm and sunny climate all year, without most of the
flying insects and humidity associated with life at lower altitudes.
"International Living Magazine" called Guadalajara "The City of Eternal
foreign capital flows in on the
heels of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Many new roads are
being constructed and modern, manicured industrial parks now encircle
Within the past decade, electronics and manufacturing facilities have been
popping up like mushrooms as billions in
For many Mexican families, higher paying jobs and a more "American type"
lifestyle have become a reality. As a result, both local government and
citizens look upon foreign businesses located here favorably. Affluent
Canadians and chartered accountants alike, speak of considerable
tax-sheltering benefits enjoyed by being owners of equity interests in
Jalisco. Real estate and business transactions in U.S. dollars are
quite commonplace, and are said to provide further diversification and
protection from devaluation of the Canadian dollar.
Jalisco seems lacking in neither money nor modern technology, however
unlike Canada and the United States, skilled and experienced industrial
trades people are extremely rare. Technological training and tooling
support is developing, but not in step with an "industry transplant" of
this magnitude. Until there is further development of a custom tool
supply infrastructure, foreign giants will remain largely dependant upon
importing their needs from outside of Mexico.
leaders. The Presidential agenda thus far,
has shown both efforts to improve trade relations with the north, and
the establishment of Mexico as an integral hub attracting international
trade and commerce with South American and European countries. Fox, a
graduate of the Harvard Business School and former CEO of Coca-Cola
Mexico, has already started making positive changes within many areas of
government as well.
Since the election of Vicente Fox as President, however, optimism is
high among local business
Visitors to Jalisco, for the most part, will probably find most citizens
to be extremely hospitable and unusually tolerant of their presence, in
relation to most other countries.
Foreigners are allowed to stay up to six months by completing a tourist
visa at the border or on route by air. For longer periods, an annually
renewable FM-3 visa can be obtained quickly, and inexpensively.
For those adventurous souls who plan not to be business owners, yet seek
to earn income here, an FM-3 visa is not sufficient. Sponsorship by an
existing international corporation is probably your best method for
entry into Mexico. This method will "smooth" immigration procedures and
may even provide a semi-English working environment while one is
learning to adapt in other areas of life.
Language, and other native traditions tend to weed out those unable to appreciate the beauty of Mexico's unique people, culture and history. Canada has long been known for its cleanliness and attention to detail. Mexico, in contrast and in spite of its stunning natural beauty, does not attempt to present such a tidy facade. Rural areas and roadsides often appear quite cluttered by comparison.
Changes are occurring rapidly however, and ecological preservation is
now becoming an important issue throughout the education process.
All things considered, the State of Jalisco appears poised to provide
considerable force within the economic tide of North America and beyond.
Public transit throughout the state is excellent, readily available, and
inexpensive. Travelers can obtain bus transportation to anywhere, from
anywhere, with the inclusion of most small Pueblos along the way.
Arriving Northerners should be advised to expect numerous cultural
For it's attributes, it is a modern jewel on this ever-shrinking planet
and while certainly not for everyone, feels very much like home to us!
Editor's Note: Alan and Ron are currently working on plans to start a
small (at first) precision CNC machining business in order to help
supply the custom hardware needs of local industry. They possess Canadian Tool and Die credentials, as well as, many years
experience servicing the Canadian Automotive Industry. You can contact them at 11-52 (33) 3766-2598 (from U.S. or Canada) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.