Although there are many well-developed global medical device manufacturing clusters, many believe that the Mexican medical device manufacturing hub at Tijuana is at the forefront of this fundamentally important industry.
Mexico is known for many things, but medical device manufacturing may not have been at the top of the list in most individuals’ minds – until recently.
When it comes to developing economies around the world, Brazil, Russia, India, and China – known by the acronym, BRIC – have, until fairly recently, received a lion’s share of the global manufacturing spotlight. No list of fast growing economies would be complete, however, without a significant nod to Mexico. In macroeconomic terms, the country is gaining in economic stature as its Gross National Product is predicted to be the world’s seventh largest by 2020. According to a broad swath of manufacturing economy analysts, Mexico has recorded the best overall records of any emerging nation since 1994. That’s 20 years of steady progress. Twenty years of stability has rightfully earned the country a prominent place on the world economic stage.
Tijuana/Baja California – The Mexican medical device manufacturing mecca
One of the most significant drivers of Mexico’s developing economy is its growing expertise in the manufacturing of medical devices. This is most apparent in Baja California – especially in Tijuana med-tech hub that has developed over the course of recent years. Consider some of the following statistics:
- There are over 70 companies in the field that employ 450,000 employees; Baja California represents 50% of Mexico’s medical device exports;
- Tijuana specifically has over 30 years as a Mexican medical device manufacturing hub;
- Tijuana is #1 for medical device employment in all of North America
- Nearly 13,000 engineering and technical students have settled in Tijuana and its environs.
Because of this thriving Mexican medical device manufacturing hub, the southernmost NAFTA partner country is now the world’s 5th largest exporter of medical devices, and accounts for 60% of US
medical device imports.
While Mexico has established itself as a destination of choice for medical device manufacturers, there are still some concerns and urban myths that should be addressed in a balanced fashion. Although Mexico has a received much negative publicity in recent years for drug-related crime, indications have shown that, over the last several years, Mexican crime levels have abated significantly. As is the case in any country, Mexico’s crime is largely contained in specific areas and cities. Business facilities are usually found in well-guarded, gated industrial parks that experience little of the turbulence that has characterized years past.
Likewise, there is a misconception among some that the quality of Mexican manufactured goods is not on par with other countries. This could not be further from the truth. Various levels of government in Mexico have gone to great lengths to foster cooperation between the technical institutions, universities and the industrial centers to ensure highly qualified technical graduates who are capable of producing at quality levels that rival or exceed that of manufactured goods from US and European countries.
Lastly, contrary to popular opinion, Tijuana, as a Mexican medical device and general manufacturing hub, is a very welcoming environment for inward investment. Foreign companies will find it particularly easy to establish a manufacturing operation there. A specific mechanism for this aim has been developed, and there are many tax and financial incentives in place in Tijuana, as well.