We must admit: it’s nice when your work gets some recognition — so it was a real treat for our Mexico market research staff to see data from some recent industry research being used in by the San Diego Union Tribune in a recent article (“Tijuana group aims to change city’s image” – August 8, 2010, by Sandra Dibble).
While the print edition included two graphics (including some data we provided on the number of IMMEX/maquiladora firms in major Mexican cities), the online edition included the graph at right — which shows approximate employment numbers for various tech clusters in Tijuana based on research our team did over the last few months (including medical devices, aerospace, and others).
One piece of new information (which didn’t really get covered in the article) was our estimate of Call Center employment in Tijuana. This is an emerging industry not just in Tijuana, but other parts of Mexico as well — and one that has much potential for growth (particularly given the bilingual nature of the US-Mexico border States). Look for more research from Crossborder Group on this topic in the coming months….
For those keeping up on border infrastructure issues in the California-Baja California region, some quiet progress has been happening that could dramatically shape the future of the binational sister cities of Tijuana and San Diego. On July 23, the U.S. State Department issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) [link] for Otay-Tijuana Venture, LLC’s proposed crossborder airport terminal — followed even more quickly than some (including ourselves) could imagine with the issuance on August 4 (only hours ago, as of this writing) by Secretary of State Clinton of the Presidential Permit required to authorize moving forward on the project [link to announcement].
While many may not be familiar with this project, the concept has been discussed at various governmental levels (and various levels of interest) since at least 1991 — the year that Mexico’s Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares (ASA) proposed an expansion of Tijuana’s International Airport (TIJ) that included two runways and a US terminal in Otay Mesa. More recently, a local economic development organization, the South County Economic Development Council (SCEDC), has championed the concept, resulting in a positive preliminary study in 2007-2008 by the San Diego Airport Authority. Our own firm, in fact, included questions about the crossborder terminal concept in our own at-border surveys for several years — a few results of which are presented at bottom — finding that over one-third of San Diego residents that crossed the border had flown out of TIJ at least once within the last year. (more…)
New data from several major automotive manufacturers signals a recovery, and a shift toward expansion and increased foreign direct investment into Mexico’s automotive industry.
Mexico’s automotive sector experienced a steep decline in production and investment in 2009 due to the global economic downturn. In fact, by January of 2009, production of cars and light trucks had fallen to less than half of January 2008’s levels — a trend which continued throughout most of 2009. However, several major OEM’s have recently announced plans for production or supplier expansions in Mexico over next few years.
We’re proud to announce that one of the world’s largest manufacturer of miniature ball bearings — and a major supplier of cooling fans, precision motors and electrical component — has retained Crossborder Group for a country-wide analysis of Mexico’s manufacturing markets, and new sales opportunities. While not new to the Mexican market, this California-headquartered subsidiary of a major Asian company has contracted Crossborder to provide a state-by-state review of key manufacturing sectors (including both maquiladora/IMMEX and domestic manufacturers), regional industrial insights and strategic guidance, as well as survey-based feedback from potential customers companies in order to facilitate their growth in Mexico.
This week, the San Diego Union-Tribune covered recent trends of border crossings between San Diego and Tijuana — quoting Crossborder Group’s President, Kenn Morris, and highlighting some of the firm’s recent research. “It is great to see the U-T covering such an important aspect of our binational economy. This is an area that has been in steady decline since 2003, but is finally starting to show signs of stabilization,” states Morris. “There’s really a huge lack of data available about who’s crossing the border and why — something that our own team at Crossborder Group has been trying to solve with periodic at-border surveys.” Current plans are, in fact, underway by Crossborder to conduct these surveys on a quarterly basis to create more real data, and up-to-date information regarding border crossers and their impact on the binational region.
The border can be a pretty serious place, but sometimes we can find some unexpected fun. Last December, Crossborder Group received a call from a good friend, Bill Esparza of Street Gourmet LA fame, who had reached out to the adventurous people of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. At the time, with all of the bad news circulating about Tijuana, we didn’t think his outreach would go too far…but, thankfully, we were wrong. In fact, the production company, Tremendous! Entertainment, was asking for some insights into Baja California’s security situation — as well as some suggestions on how to handle security when the crew was on the ground. The team from Crossborder Group sprung into action, pulling together the most recent security statistics, providing some context about comparative risks in Baja California (which we still find are relatively low, compared with many other regions of the world…and even a few popular places in the United States), and got in touch with the State of Baja California Tourism Secretariat — which worked closely with Mr. Zimmern’s crew while they were visiting Tijuana and Ensenada in January of this year. Remember January? All of the bad press about security in Tijuana and Mexico? Well…thankfully, Andrew Zimmern and Bizarre Foods got to see for themselves.
The result: Bizarre Foods in Baja California, airing this coming Monday, June 14th. For those that have been wondering if they should return back to Baja — check it out. For those that love great food in Tijuana and Ensenada (oh…yes, and La Paz, too!), it’s a great program, too. The only thing better: going back and eating at your favorite places in Baja California. After some excellent meals with clients recently at Casa Plasencia and Cheripan in Tijuana…well, all we can say is “thanks” for Mr. Zimmern for coming, and while most of the food is far from bizarre — a lot of people appreciate his effort to highlight a part of what Mexico has to offer (oh, and thanks to Tremendous! Entertainment for appreciating the work that went into the security and risk analysis that Crossborder Group provided).
Update (6/10/2010): Looks like some additional information about this episode is now on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/BizarreFoods) and the BF Twitter page (http://twitter.com/bizarrefoods), including some TwitPics of Mr. Zimmern in Ensenada… If you like the episode, let them know (or invite them back for more!).
While most elected (and wanting-to-be-elected) officials in Washington D.C. and some US States continue to portray illegal immigration as virtually the only topic of interest we potentially share when it comes to talking about Mexico and our border region (we’re thinking of you, Arizona, and California gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner’s Prop 187-style ads), the new 2010 World Competitiveness Yearbook was released today by the Switzerland-based IMD School of Business. The most striking news from this annual study: the US has dropped from the leading to the third-ranking position (behind Singapore and Hong Kong). While not necessarily surprising to many, certainly the news was big enough for BusinessWeek to headline their story: “Asia Gains, U.S. Drops in Competitiveness” (in case you didn’t get the point).
This news comes on the same day that Presidents Obama and Calderon are meeting in Washington D.C., talking about some of the very issues that are critical to increasing North American competitiveness, and growing jobs (and wealth) in our region…[read more]