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 · Contact Us Feature Story: March 2001
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.
Guadalajara industrial park The State of Jalisco is rapidly becoming known for a great deal more than just tequila these days! The political and
economic atmosphere, 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 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 Spring".
Guadalajara's main cathedral Within the past decade, electronics and manufacturing facilities have been popping up like mushrooms as billions in
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 the city.

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.
Maquiladora megaplex in Guadalajara Since the election of Vicente Fox as President, however, optimism is high among local business
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.

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.
Guadalajara has a long history 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 unfamiliarities.

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.

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

Please see for more information on manufacturing

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