February 9, 2017 Last Updated 3:03 pm

State of Jalisco, Mexico makes a play for U.S. tech companies

The government of the Mexican state today ran an ad in Politico’s print edition saying that while Jalisco was once only known as the birthplace of hot sauce and tequila, today it has a thriving tech industry, one US companies should check out

Tech companies in the US are finding themselves on the front lines of the immigration battles, with some openly cooperating with the new Trump administration, while others look to put a halt to their plans to halt immigration.

Last week, Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft drafted a joint letter opposing Trump’s travel ban, and its language made its appear that they were walking on egg shells:

We share your goal of ensuring that our immigration system meets today’s security needs and keeps our country safe. We are concerned, however, that your recent executive order will affect many visa holders who work hard here in the United States and contribute to our country’s success. In a global economy, it is critical that we continue to attract the best and brightest from around the world. We welcome the changes your administration has made in recent days in how the Department of Homeland Security will implement the executive order, and we stand ready to help your administration identify other opportunities to ensure that our employees can travel with predictability and without undue delay.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, appears to be all in, leading one news outlet to wonder if Musk might be Trump’s new best friend.

But this much is certain: if immigration is shut off, not just for refugees, but across the board, and if imports might face a tariff, tech companies will be hit hard.

That is where the government of Jalisco, Mexico sees an opening. Or maybe not.

Today, the Mexican state ran an ad in Politico’s print edition, making the case that technology industry decision makers to consider “Mexico’s Silicon Valley.” Of course, Politico is a Washington, DC-centric publication, hardly a Silicon Valley one, so it is doubtful that any tech leaders would have casually run across it. That means the letter really wasn’t targeted at tech companies, but politicians in Washington.

The idea of tech in Jalisco is not so crazy, though. The Washington Post this summer even featured the region:

Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers manufacture here. So do Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Mexico is the world’s leader in exporting flat-screen TVs. Local tech roots are deep. IBM and Motorola arrived in the 1960s to build semiconductors and silicon wafers

Why? A well-educated workforce with salaries a third of their northern cousins, low kilowattage energy costs crucial for heavy industry, government subsidies for building and training. These plants were the first to produce silicon products outside of the Valley, so the “Silicon” moniker stuck. IT became a no-brainer. Over the years, hundreds of electronics firms followed.

Interesting days, no?

Here is the letter:



Open Letter to U.S.-based Technology Companies, Entrepreneurs and Innovators

To our colleagues in U.S. tech companies who are adjusting to policy changes affecting your 85,000 foreign workers, the Mexican state of Jalisco hears you, understands your concerns and stands ready to work with you.

We fully acknowledge that great gains in the tech sector come at the hands of a bright, vibrant, diverse and skilled workforce. Restrictions on U.S. entry of the best and the brightest workers, threaten technological achievement in the U.S. and across the Americas.

Those on the frontlines of tech innovation must protect all that has enabled leaps in the industry’s achievements. Jalisco, Mexico’s leading technology hub, stands ready to welcome talent from around the world, and collaborate directly with you to ensure that this pathway to great technology gains, remains a hallmark of achievement of which the Americas can be proud.

We offer U.S. tech companies an opportunity to collaborate with other global tech companies already established in Jalisco, and forge partnerships that will flourish in our innovative ecosystem. We offer a state-of-the-art sanctuary for the brilliant minds that are essential to a vibrant technological future. We offer you and your colleagues this opportunity with no discrimination of origin, religion or legal status.

Jalisco was once only known as the birthplace of hot sauce and tequila. Today, it has become Latin America’s Silicon Valley, with a thriving technology industry worth $21 billion dollars. Jalisco is undergoing an economic revolution

Jalisco’s population of eight million people boasts a range of cultures, religions, ethnicities and spoken languages. The State offers an enviable quality of life, in a community that is made even more rich thanks to the diversity of our people. Guadalajara, Jalisco’s state capital, is a business and tourism travel destination with direct flights that are a mere few hours from major U.S. tech hubs including San Jose, San Francisco and Austin.

The world’s technology giants know that to stay competitive, they must not only attract and retain the best talent, but also foster productive, innovative partnerships. We believe that a healthy economic and sustainable technological future requires us to expand our thinking and open doors. It also requires a workforce that brings cutting-edge ideas and skills to make visions a reality. Jalisco looks forward to supporting U.S. tech companies and forging prosperous and exciting business ventures together. ¡Los esperamos!

Government of the State of Jalisco, Mexico

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