“Tech researcher Gartner ranks Mexico as the world’s third-largest IT outsourcer, just behind the Philippines and India. Last year 130,000 Mexicans graduated as engineers – that’s much more than in the US and the most in the Americas”.
But one of the most interesting and convincing recommendations of Mexico’s tech ability comes from Chris Anderson, the former editor-in-chief of Wired magazine. Last year, he decided to quit the magazine and set up his own, suitably high-tech, 3D robotics company.
And where did he decide to set up one of his factories? South of the border in Mexico, of course.
Another interesting area is the internet. According to comScore, a US-based digital analytics firm, last year Latin America had the fastest-growing internet population in the world. Unique visitors rose 12% to 147 million in March 2013, but with an entire population of 600 million, it’s clear that there is more room to grow.
Internet penetration in Latin America currently sits at about 40%, compared to almost 80% in the US. Analysts expect that penetration will reach 60% by 2015.
And Latin American politicians would love to turn their countries into ‘knowledge economies’. In Chile, the government offers small tech entrepreneurs a visa and “$40,000 of seed capital”, while Brazil and Colombia have established similar schemes. In Mexico, the government is building an extensive $5bn ‘creative digital city’ in the country’s second-biggest city, Guadalajara.
One of the key elements in the success of Silicon Valley is a strong network of venture capitalists and angel investors. While, Latin America is nowhere near that level, things are getting better.
For example, annual Mexican venture capital investment has grown from $211m to $1bn since 2010. Overall, venture capitalists invested $8bn in more than 200 deals across the region, with around half of those being in the IT sector.