Companies leverage binational resources to do high-tech manufacturing in Tijuana
Knowledgeable industry watchers predict that the Cali-Baja region will become North America’s next Silicon Valley.
In 2014, Forbes Magazine named San Diego as being the number one location in the United States to launch a start-up business. To make that determination, the respected business publication teamed up with Radius. Radius is a San Francisco-company that collects data on small businesses across the United States. According to Forbes, the firm has developed a unique methodology to ascertain which of the nation’s fifty largest cities are most welcoming to the start-up of small commercial enterprises.
Among others, two pertinent and key variables examined by Radius include: “small businesses as a percentage of total businesses,” and “the percentage of businesses in high-growth industries.” The latter variable is significant in the case of San Diego. San Diego, given its unique position on the US-Mexico border, gives entrepreneurs access to binational resources that are conducive to conducting research, development and design activities in San Diego, while performing high-tech manufacturing in Tijuana.
Two countries means room to grow and prosper
Although the well-known Mexican border town is home to a large number of operations that are linked to multinational conglomerates such as Matsushita/Panasonic, Kodak, Plantronics, Toyota and many others, high-tech manufacturing in Tijuana is increasingly occurring as a result of the hatching of such businesses across the border in San Diego incubators. An example of such a scenario can be viewed by taking a look at San Diego’s HardTech Labs. According to the company website, “HardTech Labs™ focuses on creating opportunity in the San Diego/Baja California region by funding start- ups and managing accelerators in the hardware and biotech industries.” The firm creates “one ecosystem from two cultures, blending the best of the research and business focus of San Diego with the manufacturing and engineering focus” of Tijuana and Baja California. An article posted on 7secondstrategies.com explains how “a San Diego company might create and develop a wearable medical device, have the user interface designed by a company in Australia or San Diego, and get the device manufactured at an East Tijuana maquiladora.”
High-tech manufacturing in Tijuana can also be propagated by start-up tech firms that choose to go the route of setting up R&D and other “front-end” operations in San Diego, establishing a wholly-owned subsidiary on the Mexican side of the border that is dedicated to production. Such is the case with 3D Robotics, a company founded in 2012 to manufacture personal drones by a former editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and Jordi Munoz, a teenage college drop out and electronics prodigy from Ensenada, Baja California. Although today the company’s US base of operation is located in Berkley, it had its beginnings in the Kearney Mesa neighborhood of Eastern San Diego. An August 2014 article that appeared in Al Jazeera America made reference 3D Robotics’ conduct of high- tech manufacturing in Tijuana at its facilities in which “dozens of 20-something “associates” in blue lab coats jeans and sneakers” are engage in activities that include: “printing circuit boards, testing autopilots and assembling 3D’s “IRIS” drones.”
Shelter companies can make perfect partners for high-tech start-ups
For those companies that are San Diego start-ups that wish to engage in high-tech manufacturing in Tijuana, and do not wish to go through the exercise, expense or to assume the risks and responsibilities associated with establishing a wholly-owned manufacturing subsidiary south of the border in Baja California under the Mexican IMMEX program, the Tecma Group of Companies’ Mexico shelter services offer a low-cost, low-risk alternative. In partnership with the Tecma Group, San Diego and Southern California tech start-ups can move from the US-based research, design and prototype stage of development to manufacturing for commercial purposes in Tijuana, in order to take full advantage the low-cost structure that Mexico offers to foreign investors.
Executives of high-tech start-ups are invited to contact the Tecma Group of Companies in order to inquire as to how Mexico shelter services can grow companies and their profits by partnering with Tecma in Tijuana.