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the route to
Although its production is not in
large quantities, the Baja California
region, made up of four valleys,
houses wine-producers that have
placed the name of Mexican wines
in the world map.
in the aerospace
From the CEO
Special Feature tabasco business center
transparency & Business in mexico
Cover Feature Baja california: land of plenty
medical device industry
the market of the sea: abalone in baja
The Future on
Stands for Exhibition
THE PARTICIPANT SECTORS ARE:
FIRST NATIONAL BUSINESS MEETING
of the United States of America and Canada
with the Hispanic Market
in the U.S. and Canada
who wish to know the Mexican
Business Meetings and Expo:
October 27, 2009
Place: Tuzoforum Camino Real , Parque David Ben Gurión s/n, Zona Plateada, 42084, Pachuca de Soto, Hidalgo, México.
At the expo you will know the quality of offered
products and further details. During negotiations
you will have personal contact with Mexican
Businessman and current exporting Companies.
CAMARA DE COMERCIO
SERVICIOS Y TURISMO
C I U D A D
M E X I C O
Registration and information: L.C.E Maribel Hernández Solís
Plaza Las Américas, Núcleo B, Local 34, Fracc. Valle de San Javier,
C.P. 42086, Pachuca de Soto, Hidalgo, México.
Grupo Celsus, Tel. (52) (771) 7190462
e-mail: [email protected]
Register at webpage: www.cce-hidalgo.org.mx
Image and Communications Director
Miguel Ángel Samayoa
Advertising and Suscriptions
Gabriela Mejan Ganem
Pilar Jiménez Molgado
The lifestyle Contents
Dalia Urzua Orozco
Piso de ediciones
baja california sur
A journey through the Baja Peninsula,
from golfing to whale watching.
42 The Lifestyle Briefs
59 The Lifestyle Feature
tijuana, the vast border
for basic education
Juan Manuel Romero
María Cristina Rosas, Alfredo Azcárate
Varela, Jesús Estrada Cortés, José
Antonio Aguilar Contreras, Graeme
Stewart, Francisco Vernis, Eduardo
Aragón, Alvin Monarrez,
Cristina Ávila-Zesatti, Oldemar.
cover illustration by
ProMéxico is not responsible for inaccurate information or omissions that might exist in the information provided by the participant companies nor of
their economic solvency. Title certificate of lawfulness 14459. Text certificate of lawfulness 12032. Number of Title Reserve 04-2009-012714564800-102.
Postal Registry PP09-0044. Responsible editor: Sebastián Escalante. Printing: Cía. Impresora El Universal, S.A. de C.V. Distribution: ProMéxico Camino
a Sta Teresa 1679, México D.F., 01900. Phone: +52 (55) 5447 7000. Negocios is an open space where diverse opinions can be expressed. The institution
might or might not agree with an author’s statements; therefore the responsibility of each text falls on the writers, not on the institution, except when
it states otherwise. Although this magazine verifies all the information printed on its pages, it will not accept responsibility derived from any omissions,
inaccuracies or mistakes. October, 2009.
This is an editorial project for ProMéxico
by Taller México & Piso de Ediciones.
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La Encantada emerges as an
integral part of the master
planned community of
El Florido, in
Tijuana, B.C. The highest
designed and and
schools, commercial, recreational
and industrial developments
that make the area thrive.
In challenging times, the
strategy you choose will be your
We can help you achieve it.
Bodegas de Santo Tomás shares the pride of its three varietal wines awarded in the San Francisco International Wine Competition
2009: Merlot 2006, Silver Medal and Best of Nation, Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera (both 2005 vintage), Bronze Medal.
When you think of wine, decide to Mexico.
From the CEO.
Doing business in Mexico: a good business
uring this year, companies from all over the world have opened
new facilities in Mexico and many other have announced their
interest in moving their production to our country. Encouraged
by a series of advantages, Mexico offers to global businesses
its strategic location and modern infrastructure, which allows
access to the most important international markets. It also has one of the
largest networks of free trade agreements in the world and a talented and
highly qualified labor force.
Mexico preserves its place as one of the best investment destinations in the
world and regions like the Baja California Peninsula are a clear example of
the wide array of opportunities settled up in the country for the successful
development of international business projects.
For half a century, the Baja region has been home to leading companies in
sectors such as aerospace, electronics, tourism, construction, automotive,
pharmaceuticals and medical devices, among others. Nowadays, it keeps
attracting investments offering a unique platform of development. Aside from
sectors as electronics and automotive, in which Baja California has a long
manufacturing tradition, new industries are rising and taking an important
place in the global landscape.
This issue of Negocios is an overview of Baja California, including its main
economic sectors and the reasons why this region has become a strategic
player in the world of international businesses.
Welcome to Mexico
Photos courtesy of inditex / sony / motorola
One Business Fits All
for a Giant
The Spanish Company Inditex, which has
boutiques around the world under brand
names such as Zara, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius and
Oysho, has negotiated with Mexican factories to expand its footwear production
in our country. Of the 40 million pairs of
shoes that each year have the signature of
Inditex, 850,000 are produced in Mexico,
a figure that is intended to expand in the
coming years up to 1 million 600,000 pairs.
Mexican companies such as Julio Musch,
Modorf, Portugal, Carlos Rosetti and Botas
Muro are already working with Inditex.
Motorola has opened its first Engineering Design Centre in Mexico, located in the
Technological Research and Innovation Park
in Monterrey, Nuevo León. Overall investments in the project infrastructure reached
8 million usd. Motorola’s new R&D centre
will focus on engineering activities related to
the company’s Home & Networks Mobility
business unit, aiming to boost technological
research for new products and services, as
well as provide constant training for Mexican developers to promote local talent.
Sony Corporation has formed a strategic alliance with Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry for the production of LCD TVs for the
Americas region. Based on this agreement,
Hon Hai Group will buy 90% of the shares in
Sony Baja California and certain production
assets related to its Tijuana site. Such facility
will remain a key manufacturing location of
Sony LCD TVs.
rupo Televisa and Genomma Lab
Internacional have signed a strategic alliance agreement to sell and
distribute personal care and over
the counter pharmaceuticals in the United
States and Puerto Rico, through Televisa Consumer Products USA.
General Motors reaffirms its presence in
Mexico with big investments. It has already
invested over one million dollars in a new
customer service center in Toluca, in the
centrally-located Estado de México. In San
Luis Potosí, where its Aveo and Pontiac G3
models are manufactured, it opened a sixspeed transmission plant with an investment of 300 million usd.
These new installations are in addition
to the car manufacturer’s investments over
the past year. These include a plant in Silao, Guanajuato that began operations in
February 2008 and where the company ex-
This will enable Genomma Lab to expand
its brands beyond Mexico and Latin America
by accessing a Hispanic market of approximately 50 million consumers with a purchasing power of over 870 billion usd annually.
pects to increase production from 40 to 47
SUVs per hour in the following months, as
well as its expansion in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, where it opened a six-speed transmission plant and increased the operations
of its plant that manufactures six-cylinder
In Ramos Arizpe, GM recently increased
production of its Chevy model from 12 to
22 vehicles per hour, and also expanded its
assembly-line production of its Chevrolet
HHR, Chevrolet Captiva and Cadillac SRX
GM plans to focus on compact cars and
autoparts at its San Luis Potosí plant, to supply the local market and some South American countries.
The Coca-Cola Company and its Mexican bottlers plan to invest 5 billion usd
over the next five years in Mexico, the
soft-drink titan’s second largest market
in the world, just after the United States.
Coca-Cola has already invested 200 million usd in a new plant in Tepozotlán,
Estado de México, for its Jugos del Valle
unit. New investments will be primarily
targeted at developing infrastructure,
technology, social and environmental programs, marketing, training and
Photos courtesy of boehringer / vitro
A Healthy Bet
In order to consolidate
its North American
operations and keep the
business competitive in
this region, Cummins
Filtration, a division
of Cummins Inc., will
move its filter assembly
operations in Lake Mills,
Iowa, to its facility in San
Luis Potosí in November
2009. Cummins has
had a wholly owned
in San Luis Potosí since
the early 1980s and
employs about 2,000
people in the city. Inside
this facility, the Cummins
Filtration plant currently
330 people and
assembles the same
type of products as those
being moved from Iowa’s
President and CEO in Mexico of the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, Thorsten
Pöhl, assured Mexico enjoys suitable economic and social conditions to do business. “The Mexican market is attractive for the pharmaceutical industry because it has a privileged location and
respects intellectual property,” he said.
Therefore, in the last 10 years the company has invested more than 100 million usd in Mexico. During 2008, Boehringer Ingelheim invested close to 70 million usd in clinic research and
had sales for 360 million usd. According to the Mexican journal El Economista, the company
currently has a 4.07% share of an industry with annual sales of around 8 billion usd; its plant
in Xochimilco, Mexico, produces 140 million units per year, of which 60% are exported to the
United States and Canada.
Vitro Cristalglass, Vitro’s affiliate in Europe,
has signed an agreement with Dream Glass,
a Spanish company specialized in high-technology glass products, through which Vitro
is granted the distribution of Dream Glass’
switchable privacy glass products, Intelligent
Glass / Privacy Glass, in the Spanish market.
has a new
Photos alfredo guerrero
Costco invested around 94 million usd in a distribution center and optical laboratory in Tepeji
del Río, Hidalgo. The center, measuring 400,000
square meters, has received a Federal Inspection
certificate from Mexico’s Ministry of Agriculture,
Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and
Food (SAGARPA), a document issued for meat
processing plants that comply with official Mexican hygiene and food handling standards.
Hoteles Lucerna, the hotel chain financed
by Mexican capital, opened a new hotel in
Hermosillo, Sonora, with a 17 million usd
investment. The group, based in Mexicali,
Baja California, anticipates a growing business tourism market in Sonora’s state
capital. The new five-star hotel boasts 130
Photos courtesy of hoteles lucerna
NCR, an American technology company
specializing in services for the financial
sector, opened a new plant in Nogales, Sonora, to produce rolls of recyclable paper
for ATMs, mainly aimed at the US west
coast market. The company estimates a 20
million usd investment over the next five
years, generating an estimated revenue of
44 million usd. NCR is the world’s largest
manufacturer of ATMs, with a 30.1% market share.
Solid as Gold
Production of gold and silver at its flagship
Dolores Mine, in Chihuahua, has placed
Minefinders Corporation Ltd. in a position
that may be the envy of many of today’s
economically battered mining companies.
The Canadian company began mining activities at the Dolores Mine, located in northern Mexico in the Sierra Madre Occidental
Mountains about 250 km west of Chihuahua,
in 2007. Since then, metal production has
continued to escalate as the mine progresses
to steady-state production with over 9,000
ounces of gold and over 150,000 ounces of silver
produced in June, 2009.
Gold production increased to approximately 23,336 ounces in the second quarter
of 2009, up 65% from 14,169 ounces in the
first quarter of 2009. Silver production was
approximately 419,946 ounces in the second
quarter of 2009, up 49% from 282,429 ounces in the first quarter.
Production is expected to continue to increase through the third and fourth quarters
of 2009 as the volume of ore and time under
Writing a New
Sanford, owner of several pen brands,
including Parker, will transfer its manufacturing and distribution operations in
Janesville, Wisconsin, to its plant in Mexicali, Baja California, by March 2010. The
Mexicali Plant is one of the several facilities Stanford has in Mexico where Berol
and Wearever brands are manufactured.
Photo courtesy of Whirlpool
Whirlpool will close its plant in Evansville,
Indiana, by the middle of 2010, and move its
production of refrigerators to Mexico.
Nowadays, distance, time and service
represent key logistic costs in a competitive
trade environment. For this reason, the Port
of Ensenada has improved its infrastructure
capacity to receive up to 7,500 teu vassels
and offer competitive solutions to worldclass shippers.
We are a strategic gateway for international
trade, as we offer a 10 day transit to and
from Asia through three direct services per
week, as well as feeder connections to major
ports in North, South and Central America,
Oceania and the Caribbean, through 7 top
Port of Ensenada. Easier, faster, closer.
photos Daniel Torres Loza
Regarded as the logistic center of southeastern Mexico, the state of
Tabasco offers a suitable business environment constantly reinforced
with new and modern infrastructure developments. Recently a new
industrial park, Tabasco Business Center, was opened providing
world-class facilities for the expansion of global businesses seeking
for a strategic location to reach the Mexican market, as well as the
Central American and the Caribbean ones.
When the name of Tabasco is mentioned,
Mexicans usually remember the lyrics of a
popular song: “Let’s go to Tabasco, because
it’s Eden.” Nothing better expressed.
Due to its natural diversity, Tabasco has
earned the right to be compared with a
paradisiacal land. Located in the southeast
of Mexico, the state is home for five different ecosystems –jungle, savanna, mangrove
swamps, marshes and aquatic ecosystems–
and accounts for one of the largest and more
diverse natural species-population in the
country. Furthermore, Tabasco has the most
important hydrological basin of Mexico,
composed by the rivers Usumacinta, Grijalba, Tonalá, and Mezcalapa, and contains
about 30% of the hydrological resources of
the entire country. Over half of Tabasco’s territory –24,475 square kilometers– is covered
with water and the state has the highest level
of precipitation in the country.
Right in the middle of this natural paradise, productive activities can rely on a
complex and modern infrastructure that
is fostering the development and growth of
different sectors. Tabasco is located on the
Isthmus of Tehuantepec between the Gulf of
Mexico on the north and the state of Chiapas
to the south. It also shares a border with
northern Guatemala, which makes the state
a perfect gate to the Central American markets, while proximity to the seaports of Dos
special feature tabasco business center
Bocas and Frontera provides businesses an
excellent access platform to European and
North American markets.
Regarding to business environment, the
state is ranked 8th in the Doing Business in
Mexico 2009 report –a study carried out
by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad, IMCO), with the Foreign Investment
Advisory Service of the World Bank having
an advisory role, which compares business
regulations across the country in four key
areas: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property and
In the past, Tabasco’s industrial development was supported mainly by the crude oil
and natural gas operations. The state is the
country’s second producer of natural gas
and the third of crude oil. One of the country’s largest oil fields, Cinco Presidentes,
was discovered there in 1960. Since then,
several infrastructure programs have been
undertaken generating optimal conditions
in terms of road networks, railroad systems
and maritime ports in the state.
Nowadays, Tabasco is considered the
most important logistic center in southeastern Mexico. It is a main trade route in the
region and has become the bridge between
central and southern Mexico. Numerous
companies like Liverpool, Elektra, Coppel,
Big Cola, Walmart, Chedraui, Soriana, CocaCola, PepsiCo and Danone have chosen the
state as home for their distribution centers in
the southern region. Walmart and Chedraui,
for example, invested almost 90 million usd
in the construction of their regional distribution centers; together this new buildings sum
a total surface of 100,000 square meters.
Chedraui’s distribution center is regarded as
the most important of its kind in the country
and it will handle 50% of the goods the company commercializes in Mexico.
On the other hand, several industries
whose initial development was bonded to
the petrochemical operations, are now important part of Tabasco’s economic scenario
and have reached a new stage of development on their own. The IT industry, for example, is playing a key role in the state’s
economic development, while a strong agro
industrial sector is taking advantage of
Tabasco’s natural richness and favorable climate conditions. Precisely because of these
Right in the middle of this natural paradise, productive
activities can rely on a complex and modern infrastructure
that is fostering the development and growth of different
sectors. Tabasco is considered the most important logistic
center in southeastern Mexico.
conditions, industries that require an intensive use of water have found the perfect location in the state.
The growth of these emerging industries
is being reinforced and fostered with new
infrastructure projects, developed with both
public and private funds. Since 2007, more
than 185 million usd have been invested in
the construction of three industrial parks
that will double fold the available industrial
surface in the state. One of the newest and
more important of these projects is the recently inaugurated Tabasco Business Center
Located in the municipality of Cunduacán, one of the most populated zones in
the state, TBC aims to provide world-class
facilities and services at very competitive
costs to companies willing to take advantage
of Tabasco’s wide array of opportunities. It
is a 50-hectares industrial park specially
designed for operations of companies in
the petrochemical, agro industrial, IT and
research and development sectors. It also offers space for distribution centers and industries with intense use of water.
The total investment for the construction
of TBC was 25.9 million usd. The park is distinguished by its privileged location.
It offers fast access to the main markets
in the region and is close to the four major
cities in the state: Centro, Cárdenas, Comalcalco and Paraíso. n
50 hectares of total surface.
Electrical substation with
capacity up to 20.00 MVA.
Water treatment plant.
Own water wells.
Sewage and drain system.
Network of high and medium
voltage with redundancy.
Low environmental impact oil
and gas systems.
1 hour from the International
Airport of Tabasco at
30 minutes from Sea Port of Dos
Bocas and 1 hour 45 minutes
from Sea Port of Frontera.
1 hour from railroad station of
3 hours from the border with
19 hours from the border
crossing point with the US at
& Business in Mexico
By María Cristina Rosas*
When asked about their plans to operate in another country, investors will
often cite transparency as a key factor. Mexico has made progress in this area,
even surpassing the standards for transparency set by the OECD, APEC and
the World Bank and making it increasingly attractive for doing business and
One of Mexico’s most visible economic reforms over the past decade, in addition to
signing numerous trade agreements and actively participating in international organizations and initiatives such as the Organization
for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), has been an increasing transparency within the business environment.
Transparency is now seen as essential to
public and private governance, and the cornerstone of successful business development.
There is no single definition of transparency. Its meaning varies according to each
group, organization or forum. For example, the
OECD sees transparency as the result of a twoway communication on policies between the
government and interested third parties. The
OECD considers that each country’s culture,
history and values will determine the success
of this communication process.
When APEC adopted transparency standards for its 21 member economies in 2003,
it took the view that the removal of barriers
to trade and investment is largely only meaningful to the extent that the general public
know what laws, regulations, procedures and
administrative rulings affect their interests,
can participate in their development and in
administrative procedures applying them and
can request review of their proper application.
For the United Nations Conference on
Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the concept is closely linked to promoting and protecting investments.
Transparency is a scenario where those
involved in the investment process can gather
enough information about each other so that
they can take well-informed decisions and
honor the corresponding commitments and
obligations. In short, it concerns the rights and
obligations of all participants.
Transparency is therefore a key factor for
investors. They consider it such an important
incentive to invest that they are prepared to
surmount other obstacles such as language or
unfamiliarity with local markets when there
Therefore, according to the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and the OECD, there is
a direct link between transparency and high
levels of investment.
So how transparent is Mexico for doing
business? What has it achieved and what challenges remain?
To answer, we should refer to the World
Bank’s analysis in its now well-known publication Doing Business, which looks at 183
countries in its 2010 edition.
Singapore is in first place as the easiest
place for doing business, with the Central African Republic at the other end of the scale as
the hardest place to do business.
The rankings are based on 10 indicators
that include: ease for doing business (total
score) based on the length of time to start a
business; dealing with construction permits;
employing workers; registering property; getting credit; protecting investors; paying taxes;
trading across borders; enforcing contracts
and closing a business (bankruptcy).
Clearly there are some methodological
limits to the analysis, given that the evaluations do not consider issues like a country’s
proximity to important markets (beyond trading across borders); safeguarding property;
transparency in government procurement;
macroeconomic conditions or the robustness
of institutions. However, it provides an objective overview of the main obstacles to doing
business in the 183 countries in question.
To give an example of the importance of
this information: while in Singapore most of
the indicators are dealt with in just a few days;
in the Central African Republic the same processes can take hundreds of days.
A salient feature of these indicators is the
large number of developing countries in highranking positions. This overturns the argument that the best places for doing business
are necessarily rich and prosperous countries.
Georgia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and
Mauritius are all in the top twenty countries,
alongside countries such as the United States,
Canada, Sweden and Australia. They are
even ahead of Switzerland (ranked 21), Belgium (22), Germany (25), Austria (28), Israel
(29), The Netherlands (30) and France (31). In
other words, doing business does not depend
on high levels of development.
The examples given above shows that
transparency plays a vital role in influencing
a decision to, say, invest in Thailand instead of
Mexico ranks 51, ahead of Kuwait (61),
Luxembourg (64), Italy (78), the People’s Republic of China (89), Brazil (129) and India
(133), to name just a few countries. The country climbed four places to 51st, as compared
to 55th in the previous report. It made important progress in the length of time for
starting a business, with a period of just 13
Taxation was another strong performing area, particularly in terms of the number of yearly payments.
In two categories, employing workers
and closing a business, Mexico performed
at the same level as 2009.
In terms of investor-protection, Mexico
outperformed the Latin American and Caribbean average as well as OECD countries.
This result puts Mexico on a par with Chile
and India and ahead of the People’s Republic of China.
The Doing Business 2010 report also
confirms that Mexico is reforming specific
areas of its economy.
These reforms are perhaps less visible
because they are usually compared to the
profound changes that took place in the second half of the 1980s and in the early 1990s,
but they are important nonetheless.
There is consensus on the topic of transparency across the world. However, such a
consensus is lacking on how to implement
the reforms needed to achieve it.
Transparency does not happen overnight. It requires technological, financial
and human resources, not to mention administrative costs.
Registers need to be created, web pages
published, clearly understandable language used and other mechanisms developed so that regulations and legal issues
–and any change to them– are easily accessible to interested parties.
Transparency is not an end in itself. For
example, an investor-protection treaty is
different to an investment-liberalization
The former refers mainly to the host
country, while the latter applies to all parties to an agreement.
Given the accumulated experience in
different areas, Mexico has performed
above the standards for transparency set
by the OECD, APEC and the World Bank,
thus is becoming an increasingly attractive
destination for business and investment. n
* Professor and researcher, Faculty of Political and
Social Sciences, National Autonomous University of
photos courtesy of Government of the state of baja california
Finding the right place to start or to expand a business is not
easy. There might be many choices but very few have what
Baja California offers to investors: utilities, facilities and human
resources are part of the appeal that has set the Mexican state as
one of the best alternatives for companies seeking to get closer to
the NAFTA and Asia-Pacific markets.
By Alfredo Azcárate Varela
Baja California is one of the most important
states in Mexico when it comes to competitiveness, business opportunities and economic development.
Closely bonded to the North American and
Asian markets, it surely is an attractive alternative for international corporations and investors looking for highly qualified work force
along with solid infrastructure and utilities, as
well as a wide industrial park platform connected to railway and road systems
Located on the northwestern corner of the
country, on the border line with the United
States, Baja California used to be a “Federal Territory” until 1952 when it became a state with a
44,735 square mile surface -3.57% of the country’s total surface-. The state also benefits from
a wide variety of terrain, from sandy beaches to
high mountain forests, from one of the hottest
deserts to the Sea of Cortés -the “world’s aquarium” according to marine biologist Jaqcues
Cousteau- and five counties: Rosarito, Ensenada, Tecate, Tijuana and Mexicali.
The state shares a 233 kilometer (140 miles)
border with California and a 32 kilometer (20
miles) border with Arizona. It holds a coastline
close to one thousand miles (1,555 kilometers)
on the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortés.
Thus, Baja California is an excellent entrance
gate for the NAFTA market, as well as the closest Mexican state to Asia, with direct flights
from Tijuana to Japan and China, a solid port
infrastructure in Ensenada and many other
Baja California has a series of “vocations” defined and reinforced since the early 1960s,
when the first American textile and electronic maquilas settled on Baja’s soil yielding one
of the best and highly qualified workforces in
According to the state Ministry of Economic
Development, Baja California’s work force and
industrial growth are ten years ahead than the
rest of the country, because of bigger sophistication and high technology industrial processes,
as a result of decades of maquila operations,
attracting companies with a higher degree of
added value on their processes.
“Our workforce is highly qualified. Both national and international investors have come
here lured by the quality of the state’s human
resources, from line operators to engineers. It
is a proven fact that our engineers are better
qualified,” states the Minister of Economic Development of Baja California and former Dean
of the Autonomous University of Baja California (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California,
UABC), Alejandro Mungaray.
Undersecretary of promotion Eugenio Lagarde coincides: “We stress the importance
of our human resources as one of the best
cover feature baja california
workforce levels in Mexico. Due to its long history of industrial operations, Baja California
is an appealing choice for companies in need
of trained and highly qualified employees, already available for upcoming companies and
Therefore, the state government is working hand on hand with industrial sectors and
local universities and colleges, fostered with a
private fund that promotes a school-industry
liaison, to keep on placing Baja California as
one of the most attractive states for investors
from all over the world in Mexico, with both
material and human resources.
There are excellent colleges in Baja, both private and public, such as the UABC, the Center for
Technical and Superior Studies (Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superiores, CETYS) and several
technologic institutes that have become excellent
sources of capable and trained workforce.
Prepared for development
Development of human resources in the state
is strongly linked to its industrial and economic progress. For more than forty years, Baja
California has been the point of destination for
many international companies, hosting a wide
array of ever growing complex processes and
developing infrastructure on which many of the
most important companies of the world rely.
Since the early years of maquila operations,
back in 1960, there has been a solid development of industrial infrastructure in the state.
Today, there are 84 industrial parks and zones
in Baja California, hosting individual production plants and entire clusters, equipped with
services and utilities, some of them with railway facilities and located next to major highways that connect them directly to border
crossing points. Industrial infrastructure has
been favored with availability of water and
energy supply and with a constantly growing
Bilateral agreements between Mexico and
the United States guarantee a constant yearly
water supply of about 6 million cubic feet, which
might grow to 7.2 million cubic feet, depending
on the water flow of the Colorado River.
There are geothermal and thermoelectric
generation plants of the Federal Electricity
Commission (Comisión Federal de Electricidad, CFE), which guarantee a constant power
supply. Besides, two private power plants from
Sempra Energy and Intergen, also supply the
local and foreign markets.
Railroad cargo service is provided by a Mexican American joint venture reaching destina-
For more than forty years, Baja California has been the
point of destination for many international companies,
hosting a wide array of ever growing complex processes
and developing infrastructure on which many of the most
important companies of the world rely.
tions within the NAFTA market, as well as six
border crossing points, with special programs for
faster crossing times.
Ensenada seaport is the closest Mexican
port to Asia. Among its destinations are: South
America, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Australia. Tijuana International
Airport is the only Mexican air connection
to Narita, Japan and Shanghai, China, being
a three-hour drive from Long Beach Seaport
and Los Angeles Airport.
With an Economic Development Policy, jointly
defined with the business and academic sectors, state and federal governments have taken
the promotion well beyond the state’s established vocations, promoting new investment
projects, such as:
Punta Colonet cargo seaport intended
to connect up to 64 destinations in 28
10,000 acre Silicon Border Science Park.
Multimodal Railroad Terminal, which
will connect Baja with the rest of the USA
and Mexico border cities.
Ensenada International Airport.
Las Palmas sustainable college community.
La Rumorosa is an aeolian energy park, which
aims to supply electricity to the city of Mexicali. With five turbo power generators, each
one producing 2 Megawatts in an initial stage,
La Rumorosa is the beginning of a new venture
for Baja California: sustainable energy projects, taking advantage of the strong winds of
up to 50 miles an hour, in the mountain area
of Tecate County.
It is expected that international investors
will turn around and look at the region as an
open field for sustainable energy production
and for many other energetic projects to become this state’s “next big thing.”
Punta Colonet, about 60 miles south from
Ensenada, aims to become an alternative to
Long Beach. The project, which might detonate as a multimillion-dollar business, is still
open to financial propositions from investors.
Situated in Mexicali, along the western border of the US and Mexico, Silicon Border Science Park will improve upon the world’s leading technology parks to meet the sophisticated
operational requirements and workforce
demands of semiconductor supply chain operations. With a cost structure favorably comparing to Asia, Silicon Border is an advanced
manufacturing complex designed to support
Even in times of crisis, as the one currently
affecting the world, Baja California is a good
choice for investors and corporations looking
for infrastructure, communications, workforce, utilities and other advantages. With important names such as Sony, LG, Panasonic,
Honeywell, Sunrise Medical, Cardinal Health,
Toyota, Kenworth, Shelby, Perry Scientific installed, forming some of the strongest clusters
in Mexico, the Northernmost Mexican state
keeps growing. n
Among the three
6 strategic border
(3 of them used for
alif 3 k
3 hours drive
Closeness to one of the
airports in the US:
Los Angeles (LAX).
from the Seaport
of Ensenada to
Long Beach in the US.
Only Mexican state
with direct flights to:
s to A
PAC I F I C
of total population is
under 34 years of age
Marine cargo handling
(4th place nationwide)
Air cargo handling
(5th place nationwide)
cover feature baja california
Staff training subsidies.
Employee training subsidies.
project in Mexico.
Largest port in Latin
Connection with more
than 64 ports and 28
Railroad cargo service will
be connected with the
Payroll tax exemption
21% to 100% first five years
for significant expansions.
Focused on cargo and
industrial complex of
General aviation and
Cost competitive for
It will serve the Pacific
Rim Region and the West
Coast of the US market.
World-class utility services
and industrial infrastructure for suppliers of
panels and solar cell
Water connection fee
exemption 20% to 50%.
Access to special funds for
infrastructure for strategic
Maquiladora partial income and
business flat taxes exemption.
“Safe harbor” transfer pricing
rules. 0% value-added tax for
Value-added tax exemption for
(construction and/or sales).
of land for developers.
Tax deferrals and exemptions
for real estate investment trusts.
Incentives for venture
40 years of experience.
Largest concentration of
aerospace companies in
More than 50 companies
established in the region
Workforce of more than
13,000, including operators, technicians and
Operating repair facilities
in Baja California
approved by FAA.
More than 80 automotive
companies established in
More than 30,000
Huge automotive after
Growing off-road business
with more than 25
First industry established
in Baja California.
More than 200 companies
manufacturing flat screen
televisions, cell phones,
computers and home
appliances, among other
Workforce of more than
Leading medical device
industry in Mexico.
More than 60 companies
with processes of design,
assembly, manufacture and
Workforce of 35,000
Along with San Diego, Baja
California integrates the
most sophisticated and
diverse binational medical
device group in North
Source: Government of the State of Baja California.
in the Aerospace
By Jesús Estrada Cortés
The development of Mexico’s
aerospace industry took off over
three decades ago and is now
booming. Stimulated by diverse
activities such as manufacturing,
engineering, design and MRO,
the industry is flying towards
a new stage: the complete
assembly of aircrafts.
Mexico is not a stranger for the global aerospace industry. The country’s participation
in this sector took off almost 40 years ago,
but it was in 2004 when it reached supersonic speed, with two-digit export growth
figures and a three-fold increase in the number of established aerospace companies. An
interesting fact is that the thrust not only
comes from traditional manufacturing activities, but from a growing diversification
towards areas such as maintenance, engineering and design.
The main engine of Mexico’s aerospace
industry has been foreign investment. More
than 190 enterprises compose the sector, the
majority with foreign capital. Nevertheless,
a growing number of national companies
take part not only in manufacturing but also
in complex tasks such as part and software
design for aircrafts.
Between 2005 and 2006 the number of
enterprises that compose the Mexican aerospace sector leaped from 61 to 193, and at
the same time, employment also took off,
increasing from 10,000 to 27,000 workers,
according to information provided by ProMéxico and the Mexican Federation of the
During that same period, exports increased almost 86%, from 1.68 billion usd
in 2005 to 3.13 billion usd in 2008, accord-
PhotoS courtesy of honeywell / Goodrich
report aerospace industry
ing to information provided by ProMéxico.
Almost all of the Mexican aerospace sector
exports are directed to the US market (81%);
followed by France and Germany, each with
2.8%, and Canada and the UK come in third
place with a participation rate of 2.6% each.
The evolution of exports and the increasing number of companies in the industry
have progressed hand-in-hand with an intense diversification process. In an initial
stage, Mexico manufactured simple parts,
autoparts and simple assemblies. Today,
the country is in a second stage, which includes manufacturing of turbines, fuselage,
harnesses and landing gears, among other
Presently, 79.7% of the aerospace companies established in Mexico carry out manufacturing and assembly activities; 10.4%
Currently, 49 of the 193 aerospace industry companies established in Mexico, i.e.,
25% of the total, are located in Baja California. These firms employ 12,500 people,
therefore concentrating 46% of the industry’s work force in the country.
“In the past, only assembly was made”,
but the sector’s activities have evolved in
terms of complexity. At the present time
“most of the companies manufacture structural components for commercial aircrafts,
as well as some very specific parts for the
military sector. Additionally, we have companies focused on design and technology development, such as Volare Engineering, a 100%
Mexican company that designs aircraft interiors, as well as the case of Honeywell, which
established its only lab in the world in Baja
California, where simulations for planes that
The aerospace industry in Baja California, not only shares
the evolution that the industry has experienced all over the
country in terms of growth and activity diversification, but
also in its vision towards the future.
offer engineering and design services, and
9.9% perform maintenance, repair and operations (MRO).
According to ProMéxico, the country envisions entering a third stage in which complete
planes will be designed and assembled, and
Mexico will be consolidated as a first class innovation center for the global industry.
A powerful engine
The aerospace industry in Baja California,
not only shares the evolution that the industry has experienced all over the country in
terms of growth and activity diversification,
but also in its vision towards the future.
Juan Manuel Durazo, aerospace investment promoter for the Ministry of Economic
Development in Baja California, recalls that
Rockwell Collins was the first aerospace
company to establish in the state in 1966.
Ten years later, between 1977 and 1979, the
plant directed its total production to that
sector. Since then, other large multinationals began opening facilities in the state, such
as Chromalloy (1977), Honeywell (1982) and
During that period, the first 100% Mexican-owned enterprises also appeared, such
as Empresas LM, founded in 1989.
will be in the market in 10 or 15 years are
performed”, Durazo explained.
Honeywell opened its Research and Technology Center in 2007, with a 35 million usd
investment. Nearly 260 high level engineers
work there, “and that gives the industry an
added value”, Durazo asserted. He considers
that the highly qualified human resources in
Baja California are one of the main factors that
have fostered investments, as well as aerospace
industry growth and diversification.
With over 40 years participating in the
industry, “the people in the state are used
to the industry’s technical terminology. Furthermore, the Autonomous University of
Baja California began offering a bachelor’s
degree in aerospace engineering in 2009.
Postgraduate programs are also available at
Cetys University; they have a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a major
in aerospace, and another in aerospace engineering focused on structures and materials”, Durazo noted.
Alfredo Cárdenas, Manager of Honeywell’s
Research and Technology Center in Mexicali,
shares this opinion. “Mexico’s effort towards
research and development based on incentives
from programs developed by the National
Science and Technology Council (CONACYT,
PhotoS courtesy of honeywell / goodrich
“The proximity of Baja California to the United States and its
highly qualified labor force, make it the ideal location for the
aerospace sector to continue to grow.”
— Alfredo Cárdenas,
Manager of Honeywell’s Research
and Technology Center in Mexicali
Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología), and
by the state’s Ministry of Economic Development, together with the high academic levels in
universities are key factors in attracting investment to Mexico”, he stated.
Cárdenas also mentions that Baja California’s potential in the aerospace industry “is
quite significant and proves that this sector has
experienced tremendous growth in the last
ten years. The proximity of Baja California to
the United States and its highly qualified labor
force, make it the ideal location for the aerospace sector to continue to grow.”
A giant lands
The multinational firm Goodrich opened its
plant in Mexicali in October 2008, with an
investment of 92.5 million usd. The company
began formal production in May 2009, with
nearly 200 employees, almost 50 of which
work in engineering and support.
“We’ve put together a great team (…) initially, we tried to hire a staff of 30 people for
engineering and management. We held two
job fairs and a great number of highly qualified people came, although not necessarily in
aerospace, but with academic qualifications
that have proved to be very effective for us”,
remarked Juan J. Pérez, Vice President and
General Manager of the Goodrich plant.
“Mexicali has the required infrastructure,
qualified labor and resources in order to provide local training, in addition to the fact that it
is close to our head office (in Chula Vista, Cali-
fornia, only two hours away from the Mexican
plant), which makes it convenient and simple
to bring resources here”, Pérez commented.
Baja California competed against locations
in China, India, the Czech Republic and Poland
to attract the Goodrich project. During the
trips made by the company’s staff to identify
potential sites for the plant “we realized that
Baja California has a very large and effective
educational structure, which is greatly focusing towards the aerospace business; large enterprises such as Gulfstream and Honeywell
are here, and these companies had created a
need for the state to concentrate on this sector.
These are the main reasons why we decided
to invest specifically in Mexicali”, added Pérez.
Hot and cold metal parts for the plane’s
nacelles are produced at this plant –the nacelle is a housing that secures the engine on
the wing of the aircraft. These parts are finished at other Goodrich plants around the
world, and later mounted on planes such as
Boeing 787 and 737, Airbus A320, A350 and
A380, and the CF 34 made by Embraer, the
Brazilian aircraft manufacturer.
“We foresee that by the end of 2009 we
will have 230 to 240 employees, and in 2010
our plant will employ approximately 300
people, depending on how things develop.,”
explained Pérez, who also noted that since
the manufacturing facility was established
recently, most of the raw materials are provided by the US supply chain, although the
company expects to include Mexican suppliers in the future, “our plans are to eventually
switch to domestic supply.”
In 2002, a group of engineers that had been
working for a multinational bonded assembly
plant that closed, decided to become independent and establish their own company. Volare
Engineering is a 100% Mexican-owned aerospace firm.
With a staff of eleven engineers, Volare is
a “small enterprise with big projects” that offers design, counseling and engineering services for almost all the equipment used inside the passenger cabin of commercial and
private planes, such as kitchenettes, closets,
cabinets and furniture, explained Sergio Segura, owner of the firm and also in charge of
business and projects.
The company’s designs help reduce up to
30% of deadweight on aircrafts. For example,
“last year we developed a service cart made from
composites which reduced the weight from 100
report aerospace industry
Mexico offers the most
costs in the world for the
aerospace sector, according
to KPMG’s Competitive
Alternatives 2008 Report.
The country offers up to 30%
in savings compared to the
current industry leaders.
to 29 pounds, using innovative materials and
technology”, Segura stated.
Their main client is Driessen Aircraft (Zodiac
Group), and “there is no airline that has flown
without our designs”, for instance, Aviacsa, Mexicana de Aviación, Aeroméxico, Iberia and Virgin
Atlantic. The company’s products are used in
planes such as Boeing 717, 737, 747 and 777; McDonnell Douglas Md80; Airbus A320, A340 and
A330, among others.
As a specialist in the evolution of the aerospace industry in Mexico, Segura commented
that “the production costs in the country are very
competitive compared to the United States, Europe or Canada, and although they are similar to
the costs in China or India, Mexico has two major advantages in relation to these countries: the
geographical proximity to the United States, specially to one of the largest aerospace clusters in
the world, based in California, and the high rate
of bilingual and bicultural population.”
In fact, Mexico offers the most competitive
operational costs in the world for the aerospace
sector, according to KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives 2008 Report, which mentions that Mexico offers up to 30% in savings compared to the
current industry leaders.
For Segura, one of the principal areas of opportunity for the industry in Mexico lies in consolidating the supply chain with providers of certified materials. In order for this to happen, and
at the same time, to promote expansion of the
whole sector, Segura stresses on the importance
that the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement
(BASA) be finalized between Mexico and the
United States, which will allow the certification of
Mexican aerospace components and designs that
comply with FAA standards and requirements,
eliminating US government re-certification fees.
Segura believes that although it is foreseeable
that aircraft sales to airlines around the world
will decrease in 2010 and 2011, “Mexico has an
excellent opportunity niche in the aftermarket
sector”, for major maintenance projects to the
airlines’ current fleets.
In addition to qualified human resources,
competitive production costs, the growing supply
chain in the country, the geographical proximity
to the United States, and the vast airport, seaport
and highway network infrastructure, there are
other factors that make Mexico a unique platform for the aerospace sector. According to Juan
Manuel Durazo, Baja California has other competitive advantages, such as the state’s incentives
to investors, including 100% payroll tax exemption, 20% to 50% discounts on water service connections, and up to 30% discount on water utility
fees, depending on the type of water treatment
and recycling systems that the companies use.
Juan J. Pérez envisions a long flight for the
aerospace industry in Mexico. “It is likely that in
10 or 15 years a complete plane will be built in
Mexico, which would represent a significant step
forward for the country and the industry. If I had
a crystal ball, that’s what I would see in the aerospace industry future”, he remarked. n
Industry in Baja
Mexican Aerospace Exports
Millions of USD
25% of aerospace companies
in Mexico are operating in Baja
Established in Mexico
Assembled in Baja: switches
(both, military and
commercial), hydraulic valves,
electrical motors for auxiliary
systems, electronic components, turbine connectors,
Employment in the
Mexican Aerospace Industry
Design and engineering:
composite cargo containers,
aircraft interiors, heat
exchangers and full integration
of electrical systems.
companies in Baja California
hold the AS9100 certification
and 14% are certified by the
National Aerospace and
Produced in Baja: sheet metal
blankets, cables and harnesses,
motor rings, composite
overhead storage components,
precision tools, heat exchangers, hydraulic and electrical
components, composite seats,
rubber seals and hoses, high
precision machining, among
35% of aerospace
MRO in Baja: motor rings,
Some of the aerospace companies established in Baja are:
Goodrich, Gulfstream, Honeywell, Jonathan,
Rockwell Collins, Volare
Engineering, GKN Aerospace,
Eaton, Esterline, Metalco,
Chromalloy, ELM, Dzus,
Nex-Tech Aerospace, Cobham,
LMI Aerospace, Tyco
Orcon, MTI, The Mexmil
and Lockheed Martin.
Source: ProMéxico / Mexican Federation of Aerospace Industries/Ministry of Economic Development, Government of the State of Baja California.
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+ 52 (55) 5447 70 70
illustration oldemar / photo courtesy of medtronic
Needles and Pins,
It’s All In A Day’s Work
Medical devices are a necessary yet unheralded part of the healthcare
sector. Mexico plays its part in designing and producing these
important tools of the health trade. Baja California has the largest
cluster of this industry in Latin America.
By Graeme Stewart
Perhaps we take modern day medical equipment too much for granted. For example, have
you ever wondered where your family doctor
gets his pump for taking your blood pressure?
Where his always breathtakingly cold stethoscope that he places on your chest comes
from? Or the needle that he calmly enters into
a vein? What about a catheter, synthetic heart
valve or even a pacemaker? Not to mention all
the other equipment a surgeon needs to perform any minor or major invasive operation?
What to say about all the equipment needed by your dentist?
Even a small filling needs a syringe and
needle —given that you prefer an anesthetic—,
and a saliva extractor.
No, they don’t all originate from the family
doctor’s –or dentist’s– little black bag. Rather
they are the end products of serious study, design and, eventually, manufacturing.
It is a proud Mexican boast that Baja California leads the way in the development, design and manufacturing of medical devices, not
only in Mexico but, it is safe to say, in the world.
In fact, the Baja region hosts the largest
cluster of medical devices manufacturing businesses in the enormous Latin America market, not to mention the second largest in North
America, and the benefits have been outstanding for both investors and the local economies.
The medical device industry centered in
Baja California is considered to be one of the
most advanced and profitable enterprises in
Technicians, designers of medical equipment and medics flock to Baja California to
learn from the ever-advancing high technology that leads the way in the development
and production of the life enhancing medical
In Baja California, this business cluster,
which helps to save lives and improve the quality of life of the chronically un-healthy, is thriving and in these economically deprived times
that success cannot be underestimated.
The Mexican government puts the annual
figure of profit from the companies involved at
around 25 billion usd a year.
While 91% of inward investment in the
industry in Baja is from the United States,
this is a figure that pleases both the Mexican
Treasury and company shareholders and
creates employment on the work floor at the
happily low price to the foreign investor of
1.75 usd an hour.
report medical device industry
But what exactly are medical devices? For
those unfamiliar with the industry, they are
known in every household and used every
day by your family doctor, from thermometers to stethoscopes, hygienic latex gloves to
band aids. They are also used extensively in
surgery, from scalpels to thread. So, it is an
industry without which the healthcare sector could not exist. Its importance cannot be
exaggerated, either to our health or to the
businesses that make these vital parts.
As a spokesman for Medtronic, one of the
many US companies that has chosen Baja
California as a center for production said:
“We have facilities in Tijuana and in Empalme, Sonora, and, all in all, we have a total
of three buildings with nearly 2,000 employees. At these locations, our company builds
angioplasty catheters, endovascular stent
grafts and open heart surgery systems used
by physicians worldwide.”
Medtronic’s operation first started in Tijuana in 1998 and has grown each year during the past decade. The operation in Empalme was part of an acquisition Medtronic
made in 2004.
“We see a bright future in Mexico as it plays
an important role in the medical device industry. This region is cost competitive and the
workforce is highly skilled. Mexico also has a
sound and reputable philosophy about protecting intellectual property, which is a key element
for medical device technology companies that
develop and manufacture medical devices.”
Apart from Medtronic, other main medical devices companies located in Baja California include Smiths, Tyco Healthcare, Cardinal
Health, Medimexico, ICU Medical, Hudson
ACI, Sunrise Medical, North Safety Products,
Tristate, Lancer Orthodontics and I Flow.
They design and manufacture such medical devices as catheters, pipettes, valves, latex
gloves, steel dental pieces, needleless sutures
and ophthalmic lenses.
According to Invest in Baja California,
part of the state government’s inward investment wing: “There are currently over 60
companies in Baja California’s medical devices industry cluster, devoted to the assembly and manufacturing of plastic parts and
orthopedic products as well as orthodontic
metal parts and surgical instruments.”
Baja California, along with nearby San
Diego in California, integrates the most sophisticated and diverse medical binational
industry group in North America. Most of
these medical services plants are located in
Tijuana and Mexicali, although Ensanada,
Tecate and Rosario have great potential for
the development and manufacture of these
complicated and important devices.
Around 620,000 workers are employed
in Baja California. Of that, 34,000 belong to
the medical devices industry. These workforce is highly diversified from the work
floor to the highly specialized professional.
“Another interesting aspect is that Baja
California has the best education system in
all of Mexico, we believe. The State University has started a degree course in the study
of medical devices, from which will come
our future designers,” asserts Invest in Baja
Referring to its own analysis of the medical devices industry in Baja California, which
is backed by all the companies in the cluster,
the state government cites the close proximity of the US and Canada as a prime factor
in its success as well as its highly developed
infrastructure, its prime communications
network and its young, educated and service
The medical devices industry is well
represented and served in Baja California,
making life enhancing, quality products and
supporting doctors, surgeons, dentists and
opticians throughout North America, Latin
America and the world. n
Device Industry in
What Baja Has to Offer
Largest concentration of medical
device companies in Latin America.
Labor experience with more
than 34,000 people working in
in prototypes, plastics,
electronic components, logistics
Local suppliers in Baja California
are certified in ISO 13485, ISO
9000, FDA and CE.
More than 900 clean rooms
91% of the medical device
companies operating in Baja
California are from the US.
5% are Mexican companies.
2% are from the UK and Sweden.
2% are from Australia.
Where in Baja?
64 medical device companies are
operating in Baja California.
38 of them are installed in
Tijuana, 14 in Mexicali, 9 in
Tecate and 3 in Ensenada.
Value Added Products
The value chain processes in Baja
California are located in the
Medtronic’s operation first
started in Tijuana in 1998
and has grown each year
during the past decade.
Disposable medical products.
Orthopedic and orthodontics
Medical and surgery
Photo courtesy of CEDMEX / Monte xanic
The Market of the Sea:
Abalone in Baja
By JOSÉ ANTONIO AGUILAR CONTRERAS
Mexican abalone industry has grown fast in the last decade and is
planning to do it more in the upcoming years. Mexican abalone is
highly appreciated worldwide, specially in Asia, where its use in the
gastronomic world is widely spread. Improvements in the abalone
industry in Baja California, where the abalone is mainly harvested
and packaged in Mexico, have taken the sector to a leading position
in the seafood industry.
In some regions, abalone is considered one of
the most expensive gifts. A can of this product,
may reach up to 60 usd in the market, and in
countries like China and Japan, for example, it is
given as a present for weddings or special dates,
like the Chinese New Year. Furthermore, it is
considered a very special gift in the diplomatic
world, even compared with the finest wines.
There are about 100 recognized species of
abalone in the world, including those like yellow, blacklip, blue, greenlip from Australia;
paua from Indonesia, and the red abalone from
Mexico. Abalone found in Mexico, in the coasts
of the Baja California Peninsula, is highly appreciated for its many special characteristics. It is
said that abalone from Baja California has a different taste and texture –which are considered
of the highest quality–, due to the characteristics
of the water and the ocean currents in the Baja
Peninsula. In fact people in Asia consider the
Baja seas as the most pure seas in the world.
Along with Australia, Japan Taiwan and
South Africa, Mexico is one of the world’s major
producers of abalone. Its main markets are China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Korea, but the
country also exports to Europe, where Mexican
abalone competes with the Australian one, with
a long tradition within European markets.
The price of a 450-gram can containing one
to three pieces of Mexican abalone in the international markets goes from 13 usd to 60 usd.
Canned Mexican abalone is one of the most sold
presentations worldwide –it represents 85% of
the country’s annual production–, but it is also
available fresh and frozen. It is mainly produced
in the western side of the Baja California Peninsula, from the Coronado Islands on the North, to
the South of Margarita Island.
The industry is integrated of several cooperativas (cooperative societies) entitled by Mexican law to harvest, process and commercialize
the mollusk. Each cooperativa is granted with a
20-year license to harvest abalone in the Baja’s
seas. The abalone harvest is officially regulated
according to geographical zones and follows the
assignation of a global quota per season. The harvest period goes from the December 1st to July
There are two marketable types of abalone:
the wild (raw abalone) and the farmed one. The
wild abalone is more expensive than the farmed
one, and it is the main business of the industry
in Mexico, representing almost 90% of the total
production of abalone in Baja California, which
reaches 366 tons per year.
The two most popular brands produced by
the Mexican cooperativas are CALMEX –the
most renowned Mexican brand in Asia– and
CEDMEX. Both are produced under the seal
Hecho en México (Made in Mexico), a program
sponsored by the Mexican Ministry of Economy
to certify the quality of national products.
Innovation Under Process
The production of abalone in Mexico has experienced many innovations during the last decades.
In the past, over-fishing reduced wild populations
of abalone to such an extent (more than 200 tons
per year) that the government had to plan a new
harvesting strategy. This new strategy was implemented 20 years ago and it consisted in treating
the abalone harvesting areas as any harvesting
land, thus rotating the exploitation to different areas each season, so a certain area can rest for five
years (“Five Year Closed”). This strategy has carried an increase in the production, as well as an
improvement in the quality of Mexican abalone,
avoiding the threat for extinction.
Companies within the industry have also
fostered innovating processes aiming to conquer
new markets. This is the specific case of the cooperativa Pescadores Nacionales de Abulón, owner
of the CEDMEX brand, that has made significant
improvements in its processing and packaging
plants to accomplish the highest quality standards, for both Asian and European markets.
This year, the Mexican abalone was accepted
in the Halal Market for Malaysia and its Islamic
community. However, there’s still a long way to go
for the Mexican abalone industry. One of the innovations being undertaken is the development
of new presentations such as the dry abalone,
which is even more appreciated than the canned
one and is becoming very popular in the Asian
market. Companies in Mexico are also testing
new packaging designs as a translucent package
that will allow customers to see the content and
calculate the size and thickness of the fillets they
will use in their dishes. n
BY FRANCISCO VERNIS
Although its production is not in large quantities,
the Baja California region, made up of four valleys,
houses wine-producers that have placed the name of
Mexican wines in the world map.
exico produces wine since Colonial times, but it was just a
bit over a decade ago that its
national broths began to be
recognized due to their quality, and to gain an
important place on the wine lists of the best
restaurants in the world.
The national wine industry lives the height
of a recognition process in which almost 300
prizes, won in the past ten years in several international competitions, are the best letter
of introduction for Mexican wine-producers,
established mainly in the border state of Baja
“The boom that we have seen in the last few
years, where new companies are producing
small volumes and letting their brand name be
known, has contributed to Mexican wine gaining ground in the national and international
markets”, says Fernando Favela, general director of Château Camou, established since 1994
in the Valle de Guadalupe, one of the four valleys in the Baja California region.
Right after the Spanish conquest, the history began to be written with the grape culti-
vation, encouraged by the missionaries. After
the Spanish crown prohibited wine production in New Spain to avoid competition with
the old continent, the tradition fell and it was
only in the missions that they kept producing
It was until 1920 that wine production was
turned on again and companies emerged by
1948 were already organized in a National
Association of Wine-Growers (Asociación
Nacional de Vitivinicultores, ANV). Mexico’s
entrance to the General Agreement on Tariffs
and Trade (GATT), in 1986, marked the beginning of a new stage. Before that date, practically
all the wine that was consumed in Mexico was
national, but of poor quality, because in spite of
the kindness of the Bajacalifornian soil, graced
with a Mediterranean climate, the adequate
technique for the cultivation of the grape and
wine production were not used.
With the entrance of international wines,
the Mexican market got to know better quality
and set aside national wine, which caused the
closing of many wine-producing companies.
Out of an existing 100, nearly 90 closed down,
tells Hans Backhoff, founder of Monte Xanic,
the wine-producer that marked the change
of an era for Mexican wine, and president of
the Winemakers Association of Baja California (Asociación de Vinos de Baja California,
Monte Xanic arrived in Valle de Guadalupe at the same time that the Mexican border
was opened for wines from other countries.
Instead of loosing faith because of the competition, its founders held on to the idea of producing quality wine.
“We started to do things in a different way,
to produce less wine but of good quality; we
introduced French barrels, started to have
very controlled crops, used new techniques,
like harvesting at night, and top of the line machinery like membrane presses and other very
modern systems. At the beginning nobody believed it, but all of a sudden they noticed that
Monte Xanic was producing quality wine and
selling its production”, remembers Backhoff.
The winery’s philosophy not only attracted
new companies, but also the older ones, the
traditional winegrowers that produced in great
photos courtesy of casa adobe
Wine is an industry that naturally attracts tourism; but a different kind of
tourism, one that has a certain curiosity for getting to know not only the
place that they are visiting in the wine region, but also the way of life of
those who live there.
quantities but with lesser quality, ventured as
well in the production of premiere wines. Santo Tomás, the veteran of the area, established
in 1888, introduced imported grape varietals,
like Tempranillo, incorporated new technology and hired professional enologists for the
creation of wines that nowadays win prizes all
over the world. L.A. Cetto, established in 1928,
did the same with a wine list that ranges from
the inexpensive to the most sophisticated.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the history of
Baja California’s wine started to rewrite itself.
During that time, 23 out of 40 winegrowers
that are currently registered in the Association
of Wines of Baja California were established.
“Suddenly we were at another stage of
maturation. For starters, the local government
recognized the potential of the Valle de Guadalupe when they noticed that the production of
wine attracted tourism. Soon, a group of small
winegrowers started to develop. That’s more
or less were we are now, in the enthusiastic
phase, in the recognition phase, in the phase
of the discovery that the wines produced here
are capable of competing with outside wines”,
points out Backhoff.
Even though the national production only
covers about 40% of the country’s wine demand –mainly due to the fact that the winegrowers have preferred not to sacrifice quality
for quantity–, the presence of Mexican brands
has spread not only in Mexico, but in the rest
of the American continent, Europe and Asia.
According to information of the National Association of Wine-Growers, Mexican wines are
sent to Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia,
Spain, France, Netherlands, England, Ireland,
Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Czech Republic, Russia, Switzerland, Canada, Cuba, United
States, India and Japan.
The valleys of Baja California: Guadalupe,
Santo Tomás, San Vicente and San Antonio de
las Minas, make up what is today known as the
Wine Route, where visits to the vineyards are
offered, as well as educational tours, along with
the possibility of eating in quality restaurants,
buying natural regional products, and even
staying the night at some of the vineyards’ facilities.
Fiestas de la Vendimia (Wine Harvest
Feasts), which take place every year during the
month of August, attract more visitors every
time and the artistic and cultural events that
are organized in the various wineries, sell out
Wine “is an industry that naturally attracts
tourism; but a different kind of tourism, one
that has a certain curiosity for getting to know
not only the place that they are visiting in the
wine region, but also the way of life of those who
live there. It is a tourist with a certain degree of
education and who wants to know everything
that has to do with wine”, asserts Favela.
Almost all the wine-producers of the region
share the idea of producing discrete quantities
but with an impeccable quality. As a group, the
small wine houses established in Baja California,
produce more than half a million cases a year.
Monte Xanic, for example, produces 45,000
cases a year and Château Camou 15,000. But that
decision is not contrary to its plans of spreading
the reaches of Mexican wine to other latitudes.
“The way to get into the international market is as
a group; it’s going to be difficult to get in individually, the effort is diluted. If we manage to have an
important group, we can easily get in”, considers
Backing up the valleys
Not only local businessmen, but also foreigners
who give the region its cosmopolitan character
are backing up the possibilities of Mexican wine.
That’s the story of Adobe Guadalupe, established in 1997, whose hacienda, designed by the
architect Nassir Haghighat, stands out not only
because of its beauty, but also for the quality of
their bed & breakfast service and for having
wines made by the most recognized enologist of
the region: Hugo D’Acosta who, after 12 years of
working with Santo Tomás, established his own
wine house, Casa de Piedra, located in the Valle
de San Antonio de las Minas.
The fact that D’Acosta accepted to collaborate
with Adobe, is one of the many happy coincidences that made Donald and Tru Miller settle
in the Valle de Guadalupe, after the loss of their
20-year-old son in a car accident.
“He was studying in Washington, DC, and
loved Mexico; he had Mexican things in his
house, even an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe;
he learned to speak Spanish when he was on
vacation. When we heard that there was wine in
the Valle de Guadalupe in Mexico, we knew we
had to go”, remembers Tru.
Donald and Tru intended to open a wine
house in Napa, California, but the death of their
son made them change their plans: they arrived
in Baja, where they were offered a plot of land
that seemed perfect for establishing their own
wine-producing house. Tru recounts that her
mother sent her savings from Holland and, when
she exchanged the guilders for dollars, it came up
to be the exact amount needed to buy the land.
“During two years, things like that would happen
time and again; it was always a step ahead of me”,
she recalls excitedly.
The couple later opened the hacienda as a
bed & breakfast, and is now also raising horses.
Their wines, christened with the names of the
archangels –Gabriel, Serafiel or Miguel, for example–, in honor of their son, have received
several international prizes, but for their founder
that is not what is important. Even though the
wines of Adobe Guadalupe are in several cities in
the country and in the United States, the house
produces only 6,000 cases a year and is not interested in increasing its production in the pursuit of
a larger distribution.
“There have to be more vineyards every day,
but boutique vineyards, because that way quality
is improved a lot. We don’t have to think in terms
of large vineyards, because there is not enough
water to maintain them”, assures Tru, for whom
the Mexican wine industry is at its peak.
The Aldo Palafox vineyards brought out their
first wine in 2006, although the company’s history began in 1999, with the purchase of 35 hectares in Valle de Santo Tomás, where they planted
their first vines in 2003. Their brand, Marijá, is
gaining recognition and has everything ready to
By the time that this incipient wine producer
lives its peak, the Baja California wine region
could have a local airport and a larger touristic infrastructure. Currently the Mexican government
is investing close to 23 million usd in the building
of a four-lane highway across the so-called Wine
Route, and the building of an airport terminal
in the area is being considered in the National
Infrastructure Program (Programa Nacional de
“Our region must gain better reputation so
that the market grows. We have to produce with
better quality to be recognized as a wine region.
We also have to equal that quality with the promotion of the product: let ourselves be known,
get into competitions. That is already happening.
I have friends who are investing and doing quality oenology”, asserts Jaime Palafox, founder of
the Aldo Palafox vineyards.
The reputation that this winegrower speaks
about is won. Currently, Mexican wine is not
only in the most important and more prestigious
restaurants in the country, it is also gaining territory in markets such as California and New York,
where it demands its place among the best
wines of the world. n
chic, white & red
In 2008, Mexican wines had a remarkable participation in several
most prestigious international wine competitions:
Awarded Mexican wines
Don Luis Cetto Terra 2004, L.A. Cetto - Silver Medal
L.A.Cetto Boutique Sangiovese 2004, L.A. Cetto - Silver Medal
L.A. Cetto Nebbiolo Reserva Privada 2003, L.A. Cetto - Silver Medal
Don Luis Viognier 2007, L.A. Cetto - Gold Medal
Chardonnay du Monde
Casa Madero Chardonnay 2007, Casa Madero -Gold Medal
L.A. Cetto Nebbiolo Reserva Privada 2003, L.A. Cetto - Bronze Medal
L.A. Cetto Boutique San giovese 2004, L.A. Cetto - Honorable Mention
Casa Madero Shiraz 2006, Casa Madero - Silver Medal
Casa Madero Semillón 2007, Casa Madero - Silver Medal
Casa Madero Chardonnay 2007, Casa Madero – Bronze Medal
Casa Madero Semillón 2007, Casa Madero – Honorable Mention
Wine house: Monte Xanic
Wine: Chardonnay 2006
Ageing: 8 months
Characteristics: Hay yellow color with
bright tones. Strong aroma with hints
of citrus fruits, grapefruit and fresh
cut hay. The creamy aroma of butter
persists in the end.
Wine pairing: Fish with creamy
sauces, veal, chicken, and pork steak.
Prizes: Silver medal at the Challenge
International du Vin 2009
Wine house: Château Camou
Wine: Gran Vino Tinto 2004
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc
Ageing: 18 months
Characteristics: Intense ruby red colored
wine with floral aromas and ripe red fruits,
cassis, coffee and spices, with a stately balance
and elegant velvet tannins.
Wine pairing: Red meat, game, aged
cheeses, and heavy seasoned sauces.
Prizes: Silver medal at the 2008 Brussels
World Wine Contest
Wine house: L.A. Cetto
Wine: Nebbiolo Reserva Privada 2003
Ageing: 14 months in barrel / 24 months in
Characteristics: Intense ruby red; ripe red and
black fruit aromas with a spicy touch of nutmeg,
clove and cinnamon; fruity and spicy, with hints
of tobacco, leather and walnut.
Wine pairing: Italian food, pastas with
tomato sauces, grilled meat and mild cheese.
Prizes: Silver Medal at the Pacific Rim Wine
International du Vin
Monte Xanic Chardonnay 2005, Monte Xanic – Bronze Medal
Monte Xanic Chenin-Colombard 2006, Monte Xanic – Bronze Medal
Monte Xanic Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Monte Xanic – Bronze Medal
Casa Madero Semillón 2007, Casa Madero – Gold Medal
L.A. Cetto Petite Syrah 2006, L.A. Cetto – Gold Medal
Casa Madero Chenin Blanc 2007, Casa Madero – Silver Medal
Chateau Camou Gran Vino Tinto 2004, Chateau Camou – Silver Medal
Chateau Camou Gran Vino Tinto Merlot 2004, Chateau Camou – Silver Medal
Chateau Domecq Cosecha Seleccionada 2005, Domecq – Silver Medal
Monte Xanic Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2005, Monte Xanic – Silver Medal
Monte Xanic Chardonnay 2005, Monte Xanic – Silver Medal
Santo Tomás Único Cabernet-Merlot Gran Reserva 2004 – Silver Medal
Pacific Rim Wine
San Bernardino, US
L.A. Cetto Nebbiolo Reserva Privada 2003, L.A. Cetto – Silver Medal
Monte Xanic Chardonnay 2005, Monte Xanic – Bronze Medal
Los Angeles, US
Viña de Liceaga Merlot Gran Reserva, Viña de Liceaga – Silver Medal
Viña Kristel Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Monte Xanic – Bronze Medal
Monte Xanic Chardonnay 2005, Monte Xanic – Bronze Medal
Monte Xanic Merlot 2004, Monte Xanic – Silver Medal
Casa Madero Chenin Blanc 2007, Casa Madero – Silver Medal
Casa Madero Semillón 2007, Casa Madero – Gold Medal
Ojos Negros Syrah 2006, San Rafael – Silver Medal
Wine house: Santo Tomás
Wine: Sirocco 2004
Ageing: 15 months
Characteristics: Deep violet red. Intense
fruity aroma with hints of leather, cinnamon
and caramel. Intense flavor with a full charge in
the mouth, with a complete and mature tannic
structure for a bitter, long and meaty finish.
Wine pairing: Black mole, meat cuts, cold
cuts, green pepper steak.
Prizes: Gold medal at the 2009 Brussels
Wine house: Viña de Liceaga
Wine: Merlot Gran Reserva 2006
Grape: Merlot 90 % Cabernet Sauvignon
Ageing: 18 months in barrel / 24 months in
Characteristics: Ruby red with fine floral
hints of carnation and spiced touches of
clove, fine roasted wood, coffee and vanilla.
Wine pairing: Fillet Mignon, Sirloin, Rib
eye, as well as fermented cheeses.
Prizes: Silver medal at the 2008 Los
Angeles International Wine Competition
Grape by grape
39.6 million bottles of wine a year
148 grape producers in Mexicali,
milliliters a year is the
median intake of wine per person in
hectares cultivate grape in
Mexico. Of which 2,500 hectares are
located in Baja California.
are consumed in Mexico.
Tecate, Tijuana and Ensenada.
91% of the planted surface area is
65 is Mexico’s place in the world
based in Ensenada.
according to its annual wine
80.3% of the production is
40% of the wine that is consumed
18.3% of the production is aimed
17% of the annual production is
254 medals –of which 105 are
directed to wine.
at table grapes and raisins.
grape varietals for wine are
cultivated in the region.
million liters of wine a year are
produced in the country.
in Mexico corresponds to national
gold– and 36 honorable mentions have
been obtained in the last ten years by
Mexican wines, mainly from houses
such as L.A. Cetto, Monte Xanic, Casa
Madero, Château Camou and Santo
Sources: Sistema Producto Vid, Asociación Nacional de Vitivinicultores and Vinomex
million wine boxes a year are
consumed in Mexico.
report automotive industry
By eduardo aragón
The Mexican automotive industry is going through a test period that
calls for innovative solutions, but most of all, a great deal of thrust.
The automotive clusters established in the country are working
intensively to reactivate this dynamic economic sector. Baja California
is a good example.
Difficult times breed opportunities for those
who are able to see beyond. The current situation in the global automotive industry is proof of
this, because despite the fact that figures reflect
a dim future, the heads of the large assembly
plants see a light in the distance. For Mexico,
this could be a green light for one of the country’s main sources of foreign investment.
The assembly plants are optimistic. Despite
the unfavorable market conditions, the managers of these facilities consider that the decline
in domestic sales and exports to the US —which
is the main destination for vehicles produced
in Mexico—, is merely a necessary adjustment,
but the market will rally and they want to be
prepared when this happens.
Ford Motor Company de México foresees rise
in sales. Therefore, in 2008 the firm announced
an investment of 221 million usd to reactivate production at its plant in Cuautitlán Izcalli, Estado de
México, where the Fiesta compact model will be
manufactured for the North American market.
On the other hand, General Motors invested 650 million usd in its plants located in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, and San Luis Potosí for
the production of hybrid vehicles. Volkswagen
also announced an investment of 1 billion usd,
for a new model which will be directed to the
international market and manufactured at its
Government authorities are also taking
measures to support automotive companies.
An example of this is the government funding
for a vehicle “de-junking” program, which will
distribute 500 million usd between the seven
automobile manufacturers established in the
country, in order to help the owners of 33,000
vehicles that are over 10 years old to purchase
new automobiles. This first step is quite significant and will undoubtedly boost domestic sales.
With the United States mainly in sight, production programs had to be adjusted due to the financial downturn that put the brake on new
automobile sales in that country since 2008.
Despite the fact that the production figures of August 2009 reflected a decrease of
photo Toyota motor manufacturing
photos Toyota motor manufacturing
Metal stampers; brake manufacturers; electronic and electric
system suppliers; plastic molders; automotive glass, and
textiles for auto interiors, are only a few of the areas that
employ over 30,000 workers.
approximately 40% compared to the same
period in 2008, production of new models for
international markets has been assigned to
Mexican plants. This reflects confidence and
a new stance for the companies that are looking towards other expanding markets, such as
Brazil and China, as future destinations for the
Mexican vehicles that are already circulating
The proximity to the largest automotive
market, which reached sales of 17 million annual units in times of prosperity, has been the
main attraction for the companies that began
opening production plants in Mexico more
than 50 years ago.
The main production clusters are located
in strategic areas chosen for their communication routes with sea and land ports on both
Mexican coasts. Brands such as Ford, General
Motors, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Nissan, Honda
and Toyota have set up production centers
with a capacity that reached 3.5 million units in
central, western and northern Mexico.
Growing development poles
The automotive industry triggers development
due to its specific characteristics. The growing
production chain that is required in order to
produce vehicles, involves the establishment
of suppliers of mechanical and electronic components, and autoparts in general, in order to
maintain a constant production flow.
Baja California is an example of the work
being done to stimulate development of this
The state offers excellent incentives to enterprises with permanent community involvement projects, with the objective of improving
training for students that graduate from more
than 100 technical schools and 32 universities
in the state. Broader incentives are granted to
companies that are environmentally responsible and to those that invest in technology.
Undoubtedly, these programs attract participation in the most dynamic industry in Mexico, to one of the fastest growing development
poles in the country.
At the northern Mexican border, specifically at the area where Baja California ends and
the United States begins, there are 80 companies with products or services for the automotive sector, according to the state’s Ministry
of Economic Development. Metal stampers;
brake manufacturers; electronic and electric
system suppliers; plastic molders; automotive
glass, and textiles for auto interiors, are only a
few of the areas that employ over 30,000 workers.
The proximity to the ports of Long Beach in
California and Ensenada —which is the closest
Mexican port to the Pacific Rim nations—, the
highways that link the main urban areas and
connect with major routes to central and western regions of the country, and trouble-free
transportation of manufactured products to
California, are some of the highlights that have
caught the eye of major global automotive industry representatives.
Propelled by the philosophy of producing
where their products are required, in 2002 the
Japanese firm Toyota set up a manufacturing
facility in Tijuana to produce approximately
50,000 Tacoma pickups, as well as 180,000
pickup beds for the same vehicle, that is being
assembled at the California NUMMI plant.
With a labor force of 800 employees, Toyota Motor Manufacturing de Baja California has
report automotive industry
received an accumulated investment of almost
2 billion usd. Thanks to Mexican labor, the
plant, commonly known as Toyota de Tijuana,
has been awarded as one of Toyota’s top facilities on the globe.
That same level of quality is followed by the
specialized, low volume vehicle manufacturers, who take advantage of the country’s experience, strong presence in the field of automotive assembly, and its excellent communication
routes. Mexicali and Tijuana have two crossing
points to the United States and a third is being
considered for the near future. Because of this,
the vehicles are assembled only a few minutes
away from their final destination points.
One of these manufacturers is HST Shelby,
a manufacturing to order facility of 108,000
square feet in Tijuana, where 100 workers produce between 250 and 1,500 units every year.
With a head office and R&D Center based
in San Diego, California, the company has also
become involved in the aerospace market,
profiting from HST’s know-how in relation
to the production of carbon fiber compound
materials. In addition to the company’s vehicles with internal combustion engines, HST
is now manufacturing high performance sport
vehicles with environmentally friendly electric
engines, such as the Shelby Cobra EVX and the
Tjaarda Mustang EVX. State-of-the-art Mexican technology is produced in Baja California
for the rest of the world.
Another company that represents the Baja
California automotive sector is Kenworth
Mexicana. With a presence of over 45 years
in Mexicali, in 2008 over 9,000 semi-trailer
trucks were manufactured at the plant, mainly
for the US market. The company is a subsidiary of Paccar Inc., and has invested 300 million usd over the course of the last five years,
helping the firm to overcome the domestic
semi-trailer truck sales fall of over 60%, by
introducing technology for the production of
hybrid units —a combination on internal combustion and electric engines— which already
began to circulate on Mexican and US roads.
Besides encouraging the state’s industry,
the government promotes the optimal use of
natural resources and also works on sustainable development projects, such as the electric
power plant with eolic generators in the Rumorosa area. Other energy sources in the state
are the Cerro Prieto geothermal plant —the
second largest in the world— and the Presidente Juárez thermoelectric plant.
Baja California also attracts motorsport
enthusiasts, especially in the off-road category,
who take advantage of the peninsula’s topographic and weather conditions when they
participate in races such as the famous Baja
1000, among others. Therefore, it is not surprising that one of the fastest growing niche
markets for the 25 companies established in
the Ensenada and Rosarito areas, are modified
vehicles designed for extreme driving, as well
as complete crossroad driving experiences.
The image of the vehicles producing a
cloud of dust in the Baja California desert
may perhaps be attractive for the adventurous; nevertheless, the state industry has an
assured water supply, thanks to an international treaty that allows the state to use the
Colorado River and other reservoirs in the
state as sources of water.
The most complex border of the world
This title was won by the Baja California border area, a border with one of the most intense
migration flows in the world.
Complex situations that have required
equally innovative responses, such as the measures being taken by the national automotive
industry to overcome one of the most complicated periods of its history, will strengthen the
industry provided that all the resources of a
country, with the potential and grandeur that
Mexico offers, are put to good use. n
Toyota Motor Manufacturing
de Baja California has
received an accumulated
investment of almost 2 billion
usd. Thanks to Mexican
labor, the plant, commonly
known as Toyota de Tijuana,
has been awarded as one of
Toyota’s top facilities on the
Exports from Mexico by country of destination
January – June 2009, values in millions of USD
15’382,578.17 14’085,588.95 14’133,905.35 15’475,392.03
Total European Union
Total countries other
than European Union
Source: Banco de México
T h e Complete Guide of the Mexican Way of L i fe .
Photo Courtesy of Christian Cota
44 Negocios i The Lifestyle
photos courtesy of mexicana / archive
Mexicana de Aviación, a leading airline company in the Mexican and Central American
markets, will join the Oneworld alliance on
November 10. The Oneworld alliance unites
American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay
Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN,
Malév Hungarian Airlines, Qantas and Royal Jordanian, American Eagle, Dragonair,
LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN
Perú. Mexicana and its subsidiaries MexicanaClick and MexicanaLink will add 26
new destinations to Oneworld routes: 24 in
Mexico and Edmonton in Canada and Oakland in the United States.
The Massive DNA Sequencing Unit
of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional
Autónoma de México, UNAM) has
begun its analysis of the AH1N1 flu
The Unit, located in the Institute of
Biotechnology in Cuernavaca, Morelos, has Mexico’s most modern
genetic material sequencer, a device
capable to analyze four human genomes in a single operation.
This new equipment can quickly
and accurately analyze the DNA of
viruses, bacteria, plants and animals,
placing UNAM at the forefront of
molecular analysis and bioinformatics technology.
Mexico was chosen to become headquarters of the first major energy saving project
within the framework of the United Nations
Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
The Cuidemos México (Caring for
Mexico) project involves replacing 30 mil-
lion incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent
energy-saving lamps. Cool nrg, an international
company based in Australia that campaigns on
issues to combat climate change, estimates that
this initiative will lead to annual savings of 165
million usd in Mexican homes, in addition to
200 million usd in subsidies.
CDM is an arrangement under the
Kyoto Protocol, as a means for industrialized countries to meet their own
carbon emission reduction targets
by investing in developing countries that have the same aim. The
arrangement is supervised by the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and
has the advantage of protecting
the environment at a lower cost
than emission reduction measures in industrialized countries.
These exchanges are paid for with
The Lifestyle briefs
Give to Caesar
what is Caesar’s
aesar Salad is probably one of the
best-known salads worldwide.
But, have you ever thought of its
If you always thought it was named after the great Caesars of Rome, and you had
imagined Julius Caesar, Caligula or Nero
tucking into this famous dish, then you may
be disappointed to know it was invented
many centuries later by a chef called Cesare
Cardini (1896-1956). Although there are
several stories about how exactly this salad
was invented, there is one undisputable fact,
namely that Cardini most certainly created
it in Tijuana, Mexico, in the 1920s.
One of the versions states that due to the
Prohibition laws in the United States, many
film stars would take the short trip over the
border to relax and party. In 1924, on the
fourth of July weekend, Cardini’s restaurant
in Tijuana was crowded; he was running
low on food and put together a salad for his
guests from what was left over in the kitchen. The original salad was prepared at tableside. When the salad dressing was ready, the
romaine leaves were coated with the dressing
and placed stem side out, in a circle, and served
on a flat dinner plate, so that it could be eaten
with the fingers.
Over the years, driving to Tijuana for a
Caesar Salad became the rage. Californians,
including Hollywood celebrities such as
Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, and W.C. Fields
dined at Caesar’s.
Julia Child, famous recipe book author,
wrote about Caesar Salad in her cookbook
From Julia Child’s Kitchen:
“One of my early remembrances of restaurant life was going to Tijuana in 1925 or
1926 with my parents, who were wildly excited that they should finally lunch at Caesar’s
restaurant. Tijuana, just south of the Mexican border from San Diego, was flourishing
then, in the Prohibition era.”
In Europe, Caesar’s Salad was also appearing in restaurants. In the book In Search
of Caesar, The Ultimate Caesar Salad Book
by Terry D. Greenfield, it is stated:
“The legend attributes the salad’s debut
across the ocean to Mrs. Wallis Warfield
Simpson (mistress and ultimately wife of
Prince Edward VIII of Wales, former King
of England). Mrs. Simpson often visited and
partied in the San Diego and Tijuana areas
in the 1920s. It is said that Mrs. Simpson met
the Prince of Wales there, at the Hotel Del
Coronado. During this time, Mrs. Simpson
visited Hotel Caesar’s Place and became
fond of Caesar’s Salad and was sometimes
an overbearing guest demanding that Caesar
himself toss his salad at her table-side, creating quite a fuss. It is also said that as a result
of Mrs. Simpson’s extensive world travels,
Caesar Salad was introduced to many of the
great European restaurants by her instructing international chefs as they struggled to
recreate the dressing to satisfy the soon-tobe-Duchess of Windsor’s discerning palate.”
With so many variations being made and served today, the
original recipe for Caesar Salad has escaped many chefs.
The original recipe consisted of romaine lettuce leaves, garlic
croutons and shavings of parmesan cheese all tossed in a
creamy dressing made of egg, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice,
garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Contrary
to popular belief, the first recipe did not contain pieces
of anchovy; the slight anchovy flavor came from the
The Cardini family trademarked the original recipe in 1948
and it is still packaged and sold as “Cardini’s Original Caesar
Dressing Mix,” distributed by Caesar Cardini Foods -along
with more than a dozen varieties, some of which include one or
more of mustard, avocado, tomato, bacon bits or garlic cloves.
46 Negocios i The Lifestyle
photo COURTESY OF visit los cabos.org / David becerra / archive
Cruise Ships Ahoy!
Over 150 cruise ships have confirmed they
will be docking at Los Cabos international
port before the end of the year, marking the
start of peak season at the international port
of Los Cabos. By the end of 2009, it is esti-
mated that some 340 cruise ships, carrying over 700 thousand tourists, will have
visited this tourist destination.
Germany has contributed 148 million usd to
develop environmental projects in Mexico.
These resources will be used to implement
projects focused on combating climate
change, waste management, recovering polluted sites and creating an environmental
on the Net
The Fondo de Cultura Económica (FCE),
one of Mexico’s most important publishing houses, is celebrating its 75th anniversary with its first free e-book. By
2010, it plans to offer 300 titles online.
The pioneering publication is a book called
La suma de minucias del lenguaje (The total minutiae of language), by the linguist
José Moreno de Alva.
The FCE, with 35 subsidiaries in 9 countries across Latin and North America,
has ventured into the online market after
Barnes & Noble, the world’s largest bookstore, made 700 thousand publications
available for downloading.
The Lifestyle briefs
owadays you can find several
fast-food restaurants around
Mexico and even in the United
States serving a very original
dish; fish tacos. Some of these eateries reveal the dish’s origin and describe it as an
“Ensenada-style fish taco”.
And that’s right. The fish taco is undoubtedly a 100% Ensenada tradition. Those who
created it, many still alive and well, never
imagined that the original and nutritious
fish taco would become a stellar addition to
Its story goes back to the early 1960s.
The recipe was the result of a fortunate accident. Its first creator and promoter was
called Mario, nicknamed “El Bachiualato”
after the name of his hometown in Sinaloa.
“El Bachiualato” began by selling grilled
meat tacos from a place called “Mercado
Negro” or black market, alongside seafood
joints serving up abalone sea snails, lobster
Some people who sold fresh fish in the
same market began asking “El Bachiualato”
to cook some fish for them. It smelled so
good that people coming to buy fresh fish
from the market asked “El Bachiualato” to
sell them a taco or two. Some customers
asked him to fry the fish instead of grilling it.
It became so popular that before long,
tourists from the United States and Tijuana
travelled to Ensenada just to try these unique
tacos. Soon other people began experimenting with the new dish. The batter mix used
for the fillet of fish was perfected over time,
incorporating suggestions from his increasing number of customers, until the
final recipe was crystallized for the perfect fish taco: a fillet of angelito fish, mixed
in a gooey mix of corn flour, a couple of
egg yokes, a teaspoon of baking powder, a
little mustard and all mixed together with
water or milk. The taco must be served
with chopped cabbage or lettuce, tomato,
onion and finely chopped serrano chili.
48 Negocios i The Lifestyle
Interview andreas heinecke
Andreas Heinecke, social entrepreneur and creator of the exhibitions
Dialogue in the Dark and Dialogue in Silence, refers to himself as
“Mexico’s husband”. He visited the country for the first time seven
years ago and chose it as a platform to expand his business in Latin
By Vanesa Robles and Karla JUÁREZ
Andreas Heinecke is overcoming the
barriers between “us” and “them” by
creating exchange platforms that immerse people in worlds very different
from their own in order to break down
prejudices, communication and understanding barriers that exist across different cultures, and to empower marginalized people. Through his company,
Consens Ausstellungs GmbH (Dialogue
Social Enterprise), he has proven that
the struggle against segregation can become a sustainable activity.
Heinecke’s most widespread platforms are the exhibitions Dialogue in the
Dark —where participants experience
darkness and blind people teach them
how to “see”— and Dialogue in Silence —
where deaf and mute people teach visitors a great deal about communication.
Participants in these exhibitions do not
see and do not speak in order to fully
experience what it is like to be blind and
mute, and the negative consequences of
Seven years ago Heinecke visited
Mexico for the first time to present
Dialogue in the Dark in Monterrey and
Mexico City. “I didn’t know anything
about the country, with the exception
of the clichés. After closing the first exhibition in Bellas Artes [in Mexico City] I
decided: ‘this is my country’. I rented an
apartment, hired Mexican personnel,
started my company here and traveled
to the country every six weeks because
I was convinced that Mexico was my
country and Mexico City was my city,”
Between 2006 and 2007, Dialogue
in the Dark was shown in Monterrey
and Mexico City, where approximately
600,000 visitors were registered, a
record figure for an exhibition of this
genre. According to the Reforma journal, the Papalote Children’s Museum
in Mexico City paid 150,000 usd for the
rights of Dialogue in the Dark for an
8-month period. Presently, the exhibition is being shown at the Trompo
Mágico Interactive Museum in Guadalajara, and in a few months it will be
transferred to other cities in Mexico
and Latin America.
50 Negocios i The Lifestyle
photos COURTESY OF andreas heinecke
“I didn’t know anything about the country, with
the exception of the clichés. After closing the first
exhibition in Bellas Artes [...] I was convinced
that Mexico was my country and Mexico City
was my city.”
—Why did you decide to establish Consens Ausstellungs GmbH in Mexico City?
I was very moved by the optimism of the
people. I did not understand how a city of
these dimensions could offer so much friendliness and hospitality. It’s absolutely wonderful.
—Do you still have the same impression?
After almost seven years, my love is a bit more
differentiated. I am aware that not everything
has the beauty of a nice sunset, but this happens anywhere. It resembles marriage: falling
in love is one thing, but staying in love is another issue. I am like Mexico’s husband.
—The usual question: How did you conceive Dialogue in the Dark?
The story began in 1929, when my parents
were born. My mother was Polish, from a
Jewish family, and my father was German,
with a definite Nazi ideology. They met after
Second World War, they had physical con-
In 1988, Andreas Heinecke began working for the Foundation for the Blind
(Stiftung Blindenanstalt) in Frankfurt,
determined to bring blind and sighted together. By the end of that year, Dialogue in
the Dark had its premiere.
In 1996, Andreas started his own business to spread the idea of Dialogue in the
Dark (www.dialogue-in-the-dark.com) internationally. After years of temporary
exhibitions in museums and festivals,
the first permanent exhibition opened
in 2000 and has been followed by many
more. Together with his wife, Orna Cohen, Andreas also developed Dialogue in
Silence (www.dialogue-in-silence.com) in
which deaf people provide access to nonverbal communication.
Since the first Dialogue in the Dark,
there have been exhibitions in more than
160 sites in Asia, Europe, the Middle East,
and the Americas. Over 6 million visitors worldwide have experienced what
it means to hear, smell, taste and touch
things without being able to see them.
The exhibition does not inspire pity but
instead enables interaction, builds respect, understanding and even wonder –
by re-defining “disability” as “ability” and
“otherness” as “likeness”.
Dialogue in the Dark has empowered
more than 4,000 blind people in 19 countries and more than 130 cities from disadvantaged backgrounds by giving them for
the first time in their life the opportunity
to showcase their talents and skills. The
vast majority of the platform employees
had never held a formal job before, and
40% of them successfully gain a job placement with a “normal” company in the private or public sector between a week and
a year and a half with Dialogue.
Interview andreas heinecke
tact, and I was born: biology lesson number
one. When I was 13 years old, I learned about
bizarre social events and began to try to understand what leads society to discriminate to the
point of extermination.
Then I worked in a radio station. One day
I was asked to train Matthias, a boy who had
lost his sight in an accident, as a presenter. I had
never met a blind person, and had no idea of
what I had to tell him. When I left his home
after the first session, I felt embarrassed; I was
surprised by his intelligence and self-sufficiency. I thought: if I was so quick to judge, what
about other people? I recalled how the Nazis
tested their gas chambers with disabled people.
The thought of this made me very angry.
I decided to take action against discrimination. One day I received inspiration: we had to
invite people with and without sight disabilities
to a dark space. It worked, in the darkness
people that can see become blind and the blind
—Approximately seven million people
have visited Dialogue in the Dark worldwide. Why do you think it has been so
successful in such different societies?
People cannot imagine that there is something
beyond sight; our world is made of images. At
the same time, we want to explore things and
we feel curious about understanding the limits.
—Is sight a source of discrimination?
Sight disconnects people; we are quick to scan
and judge others. We are all the same in the
darkness. Furthermore, education and the
media manipulate us.
All societies have people to discriminate;
many studies have documented this topic. I
think that we have to acquire common sense
through the difference.
—Generally, people go to an exhibition to see. What are the challenges of
museography in an exhibition where the
objective is the opposite: to not see?
Aesthetics do not necessarily lie in images.
The challenge is to create very rich scenes,
with references that people are able to understand and use to create their own images.
Nevertheless, I am not an artist or a curator. I am an incubator of sensations.
—Can Dialogue in the Dark be adapted to
other types of discrimination?
I am not committed exclusively to blindness;
fate introduced me to a blind person, but the
exhibition is a metaphor due to the fact that
spectators meet people with whom they do
not normally have the opportunity of experiencing an open interaction.
Dialogue in the Dark is the metaphor of
—Do you know what happens when the
visitors reopen their eyes?
We have a research department that phones
some randomly selected visitors, five years
later: “Hello, you were at an exhibition where
you were unable to see. Do you remember
its name?,” they are asked. Five years later
everyone responds: “Dialogue in the Dark,” and
16% recalls the name of his or her guide. We
are aware that the experience induces a slight
change in people.
—By the way, what happened with
He is still handsome and mature; he meditates,
smokes quite a bit and is a vegetarian. When
he became blind his girlfriend told him: ‘Don’t
worry because I will see for you.’
They were married and after some time,
she left him because he fell in love with another
woman. He has four children and plays guitar in
a rock band.
Matthias is a young 50-year-old. We get
together once a year and talk over the phone
three or four times per year. Once I asked him
what was the last image he had. He told me
that he was driving his car when a truck made
a U-turn and he realized that there was no
way out. I inquired: “What went through your
mind?” “Sh..! I didn’t change my underwear
this morning,’ he answered.” n
In 2005, Andreas Heinecke’s commitment was recognized by the American Foundation, Ashoka, who named him the first Social Entrepreneur in Western Europe. Andreas aims to create a Social Science Center that will allow people to explore the social
side of the human experience; where they learn about the world from other people’s
perspectives. For example, his blind and disabled employees from all over the world
form a global network—they train each other, exchange experience and knowledge, and
recognize that many of their needs are global in nature. Further plans include creating
the experience of old age, migration, exile, and crime and punishment.
Andreas Heinecke has won numerous special international awards
for his work, including:
1998 “Stevie Wonder Vision Award”
2004 “Best Practice in Universal
2005 Named first “Ashoka Fellow” in
2006 “Deutscher Unternehmer Preis” by the Harvard Business School’s
2007 “Outstanding Global Social
Entrepreneur” by the Schwab Foundation
2008 Nominated as member of the
World Economic Forum’s Global
Agenda Council on Social Entrepreneurship
2009 “Global Award Winner for the
best innovative and out-of-comfortzone event” by the YPO
52 Negocios i The Lifestyle
to the “Fore!”
There are at least three places where your average
golfer would most want to play. Baja California Sur
is one of them.
By Graeme Stewart
photo COURTESY of Palmilla
destination baja california sur
Nobody would argue that most golfers, professional or otherwise, would harbor dreams
of playing a round at St. Andrews, in Scotland
(the home of golf), or Augusta, Georgia, in the
But there is a newcomer to that short list of
golfing paradises, a place where golfers in rain
soaked Scotland or landlocked Augusta daydream of playing under a hot sun with clear
blue skies, magnificent sea views and perfectly
manicured fairways and greens.
That destination is Baja Caifornia Sur and
especially at Los Cabos, a secluded cape at
the southernmost tip of the Baja California
peninsula that has grown into a modern day
For anyone who has played there, the reasons are obvious. With little rainfall, the climatic conditions and spectacular views make
Los Cabos a little bit of golfing heaven.
Respected golf writer, author and poet Matthew B. Dexter, who writes on iGolf, the online
source for golf course news and reviews, has
the great fortune to live in the area but even if
he didn’t, he would be no stranger to the fairways of Los Cabos.
He said: “One can only endeavor to imagine a more miraculous and spectacular setting than Baja California. A contemporary
Los Cabos has emerged at the forefront of
global tourism by displaying the aquatic
splendor amid a tropical desert that has attracted sport fishermen for decades. Now
World-class golf courses are raising the bar
and attracting tourists on par with any other
vacation destination on Earth.”
Matthew just can’t hide his love of the golf
courses at Los Cabos, nor does he even attempt
to try: “The temperature is always warm and
temperate and with basically no rain, so golfers
can enjoy 350 days of perfect weather. Try and
discover a better location to play golf than Los
Cabos and you might be searching for a while.”
He continued: “In 1996, whales put on an
amazing display during the PGA Senior Slam
Tournament. One needs only to examine the
beautiful golf courses situated along the tourist
corridor between San José del Cabo and Cabo
San Lucas to truly understand that sometimes
when humankind aspires toward developing a
Majestic region, results can exceed all hopeful
“Certain ambitions can surpass all reasoning and reflect unprecedented perfection. Los
Cabos is a majestic oceanfront playground for
those fortunate enough to play, or discover, the
courses that support the unparalleled oasis
that awaits you in the breathtaking environ-
Some of the courses in Los Cabos are considered among the best in the world, according
to major magazines and international newspapers. The most recognizable designers have left
their mark on this exciting site. Names go from
Tom Fazio to Jack Nicklaus, from Robert Trent
Jones to Tom Weiskopf. Each one of these
courses bears a unique style, even though the
environment is almost the same for them all.
The best golf courses are located between
San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, in a
highway that stretches 33 miles. “Visiting Los
Cabos is a must, if you want to play in some
of the best golf courses, like El Dorado, one of
the most magnificent Nicklaus’ designs in the
world,” said Guillén.
There are golf courses for every taste, desire and challenge.
Some of them face the sea, others the mountains. The golfer
can pick one, two or three and experience the best round
of their lives.
ment beyond the cultivated arroyos and landscaped sand traps of Land’s End,” he said.
Mathew is not alone in his unbounded admiration of golfing in Baja California Sur. Eduardo Guillén, boss of Caddies Are Us, a company that organizes tournaments throughout
Mexico for golf caddies, said: “Golf in Cabos is
quite an experience. The area has been known
as a golf paradise for the last decade. An old
fisherman’s town, it now represents luxury,
great golf courses and superior accommodations, without forgetting the importance of the
sea life as well.”
There are golf courses for every taste,
desire and challenge. Some of them face the
sea, others the mountains. The golfer can pick
one, two or three and experience the best
round of their lives.
There are other three Nicklaus designs in
Los Cabos —Palmilla, Raven, Cabo del Sol, Ocean
Course, San Lucas Country Club and one at the
Cabo Real complex. “But El Dorado is something
spectacular. Although you might need your best
golf, the views of the mountains, the bunkers
and the sea, along the well-shaped fairways and
impeccable greens will make your visit worthwhile,” asserted Guillén, who also recommends:
“After playing El Dorado, try something different,
like La Querencia, a very unique design by Tom
Fazio. As a matter of fact, this was the first golf
course Fazio designed outside of the US. Querencia’s clubhouse will impress you, with its ocean
views of the Sea of Cortés.”
Guillén concluded: “Any golfer that visits
Mexico must play there. Trust me, you will
never forget your rounds in Los Cabos.” n
54 Negocios i The Lifestyle
BY Alvin Monarrez
Looking at the Pacific Ocean from the scenic
highway that goes from Tijuana to Ensenada
makes one think of the relative importance of
BIG DEALS. From the immensity of the oceans
to the majesty of the mountains around, Baja
California offers an enormous variety of options for visiting and sightseeing –gray whales
The trip begins as soon as one discovers the
line of the sea when the road starts in the suburban neighborhood of Playas de Tijuana and goes
all the way to Los Cabos, having different scenarios on the way, from high forests in the San Pedro
Mártir National Park, where a very important
Star Observatory is located, to lush vegetation areas in Mulege or Spanish Missions in the middle
of the desert in very old towns built first by Franciscans and Jesuits back in the XVI century.
The entire peninsula of Baja California shelters ages of history and a great deal of ecosystems over land and, very importantly, in the sea.
Marine biodiversity represents one of the state’s
much richness. As a territory of significant proportions, the coastline plays an important role in
the touristic realm on both states (the peninsula
shelters the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur). Plenty activities are offered along the
coastal sites, from fishing to diving, or to sightseeing, visiting marine preserves and admiring the
nature working by the second.
One of the most interesting natural acts in
the world is the Gray Whale migration from
Alaska to the Sea of Cortés. The mammal visits
the entire coast of the peninsula on its way to the
lagoons in the deepest area of the Gulf of California. Gray whales inhabit shallow coastal waters
of the eastern North Pacific. The gray whale
makes one of the longest of all mammalian migrations, averaging 16,000-22,500 km (10,00014,000 miles) round trip.
In October, the whales leave their feeding
grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas and
head south for their mating and calving lagoons in Baja California. The southward journey takes 2-3 months. The whales remain in
these lagoons for a few months, allowing the
calves to build up a thick layer of blubber to
sustain them during the northward migration
and keep them warm in the colder waters. The
return trip north takes another 2-3 months.
Mothers and calves travel very near shore on
the northbound migration. There are some individual gray whales that are found year round
in the Straits of Juan de Fuca between the State
of Washington and Vancouver Island, Canada,
and some that are seen during the summer
months off the northern California coast.
There is currently a great deal of options
where to choose from to join a jaunt departing from any of the most important touristic
spots in the peninsula, such as Loreto, La Paz or
Ensenada. It is also possible to get the journey of a
lifetime in some of the remote wilderness whale
watching camps on the shores of the San Ignacio
lagoon in the northern area of the Sea of Cortés.
Whatever may be any person’s scene, Baja
California makes an offer to the world to share its
natural wonders with only one requirement: the
complete will to enjoy and feel like home. n
GRAY WHALE FACTS
Adult males measure 45-46 feet (13.7-14 m) and adult females measure
slightly more. Both sexes weigh 30-40 tons (27,200-36,300 kg).
Gray whales reach sexual maturity at 5-11 years of age, or when they reach 3639 feet (11-12 m) in length. Gestation is 12-13 months. The calf weighs 1,1001,500 pounds (500-680 kg) and is about 15 feet (4.5 m) at birth. Calves nurse
7-8 months on milk that is 53% fat (human milk is 2% fat). Females bear a
single calf, at intervals of 2 or more years.
Courtship and mating behavior are complex, and frequently involve 3 or
more whales of mixed sexes. Mating and calving both occur primarily in
the lagoons of Baja California although both have been observed during the
The gray whale makes one of the longest of all mammalian migrations,
averaging 10,000-14,000 miles (16,000-22,530 km) round trip. In October,
the whales begin to leave their feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi
Seas and head south for their mating
destination baja california sur
Mexico “Gold Coast”, lapped by both the Pacific Ocean and the Sea
of Cortés, is a world-level tourist destination where championship
golf courses, luxurious resort hotels and gorgeous beaches are
combined with a majestic landscape of mountains and desert.
The contrast-filled region of Los Cabos unites the waters of the
Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortés (also called the Gulf of California). UNESCO declared 244 islands and protected areas of the Sea
of Cortés as a World Heritage Site.
A 33-kilometer highway, called the Corredor Turístico, stretches
from San José del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas.
Los Cabos has excellent beaches lining the final
80-kilometer (50 miles) stretch of the peninsula.
These quiet and unique sites are wonderful locations
for water sports:
A Playa del Amor
This beach is hidden behind El Arco.
To arrive there you’ll need to take a
water taxi that departs from the
Marina or El Medano Beach. This
romantic spot, which can only be seen
every four years when the tide recedes,
offers a unique view of the Pacific
Ocean and the Sea of Cortés. This place
has become a popular romantic
getaway. The waters are ideal for
sailing, snorkeling, kayaking and other
Located at Km 28 on the main highway
of San José del Cabo, this beach has
fine sand and crystalline waters. It is
an ideal surfing location.
Sierra de la Laguna
Cascadas de Arena
Located near El Arco, here you can
witness an amazing natural
phenomenon, cascades that were
created by tectonic plate movement.
You can observe this natural wonder
30 meters (100 feet) under water.
Located at 27.5 Km on Route 1 in San
José del Cabo, this white-sand beach is
very popular and recommendable for
family outings, as it offers recreation
facilities. Here you can practice some
scuba diving, snorkeling, and the
waters are excellent for fishing.
D El Medano
Right in the middle of this Cabo San
Lucas Bay near Marina Sol, it is one of
the most popular beaches in Los Cabos.
Here you can kick back and listen to
music while enjoying some delicious
food or sipping on a refreshing drink.
Later, you can go swimming, boating,
fishing, water-skiing, snorkeling,
kayaking or surfing.
E El Chileno
This popular beach is located at Km
14.5 on the Corredor Turístico between
San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas.
This destination is known for its
crystalline, calm waters, ideal for
swimming and snorkeling activities.
Sea of Cortés
Located on the southernmost tip of the Baja California Peninsula, is
a place where the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortés
meet. At this location, there is an arch-shaped rock formation that
has become the icon of Los Cabos. It only takes a 20 minute boat
trip to get there and it is fairly common to spot seals, sea lions,
pelicans and other birds in this amazing location. An ideal place for
fishing, diving and snorkeling. It also has a famous Old Lighthouse,
which is more than 100 years old.
56 Negocios i The Lifestyle
photo courtesy of christian cota
The bottom line is to sell
your products; if you keep
this in mind, bad reviews
should not make you
frustrated, they should be
a reason to improve.
What really matters is to
spend your time doing what
you want to do, what you
interview CHristian cota
The young designer is making his way into New
York’s fashion world with “imperfect” and
“organic” creations that enhance the female
figure’s natural beauty.
By Francisco Vernis
hristian Cota is conquering the
New York runways with trendy
designs, in which his Mexican
heritage manifests in a subtle yet
The Mexican designer arrived in the United States in 2005. Before living in New York, he
studied painting in Paris; however, his childhood years in Mexico City were a very determining factor for his life and work. From his
mother and grandmother he learned that elegance does not only depend on what you wear,
but on the way that you wear it. This triggered
his passion for fashion.
Despite the fact that his label has been in
the fashion market for only two years, his collections are already at the New York Fashion
Week; his designs are worn by women such
as the orchestra director Alondra de la Parra,
and actresses such as Hayden Panettiere, Blake
Lively and Rose Byrne, among other celebrities, and are sold in Saks Fifth Avenue and
Bloomingdale’s. Nevertheless, he considers
that he has not yet reached the summit.
Although he is only 26 years old, Christian
is convinced that his success is due to his work,
more than to his search for being renowned.
By managing his own business, he has faced
exciting moments and discovered his own new
line of attack to remain trendy. His indisputably up to date collections cannot conceal the
influence of his country.
—In which degree has Mexico influenced
Many things are subconscious. They are mostly memories and images that I have absorbed,
such as colors. My collections have very
organic colors, like terracotta, floral colors,
fuchsia, aqua, sand, and all the hues of nature
that I perceived in Mexico.
Another source of inspiration is the dramatic and theatrical personality of female
characters in Mexican soap operas. They are
generally women that overact; they want everyone to notice them. My clothing is designed
for women who want to be seen without
having to scream in order to attract attention.
My designs, especially all my night gowns, are
In Mexico I also developed a passion for
history. Mexico is a country with a rich past.
When I lived there, I used to visit museums
and archaeological sites. Nowadays, every
time I work on a collection, I like to do historical research in order to select what I want to
use for my creations.
—How did you decide to switch to the
fashion world, after studying painting?
I was attracted to fashion ever since I was
a child, due in part to the influence of my
grandmother and my mother, who always
kept an eye out for the latest fashion trends.
When I was in 11th grade, I entered a Levi’s
contest, in which I had to transform a pair
of jeans and a jacket. I decorated them with
drawings and won the first prize. This experience increased my interest in fashion.
Afterwards, I lived in Paris, a city where
almost everything has something to do with
58 Negocios i The Lifestyle
fashion, and I discovered a world that began
to attract me more and more.
When I began to envision my future, I had
to be very realistic and I thought: “I love to
paint, but there is a part of me that likes doing
business.” I realized that fashion gave me the
opportunity to do business and continue to
paint at the same time.
—What do you recall the most about your
The trips with my family. These trips produced a great influence in me, not only because those journeys gave me the opportunity
to interact more intensively with my family
members, but because they shaped my current concept of aesthetics.
For instance, if we traveled to Africa, at
our return I had a whole new source of inspiration. Today, when I design, suddenly I use
colors I had never used before; when I analyze
them, I remember: “Oh, it’s the color of the
painting I bought during that trip.” I am greatly inspired by my memories, not only visual
memories, but emotive ones as well.
—You have mentioned that your mother
and your grandmother were your muses.
How did they inspire you?
My grandmother was very conservative. Her
attire was always impeccable; she would not
leave the house without combing her hair according to her favorite hairstyle, and wearing
her favorite jewelry and dresses. She would
never repeat the same look. If she had already
worn something, she would find a way to
alter it in order to make it look different. She
showed me the potential that clothes can
photos courtesy of christian cota
have. Thanks to her, I realized that clothes are
a means of expression and a means of communication.
On the other hand, my mother is much
more creative and free, she has a more casual
style. She has that “careless” touch which
strangely makes her look elegant. That is the
way I like to design. For me, fashion and style
are natural, something that every person carries inside, something “organic.”
When a woman asks me what is the worst
mistake she can make when she dresses, I always respond that the worst thing that you can
do is try too hard. If you are already wearing an
interesting skirt and you try to combine it with
a more interesting blouse and an even more
interesting pair of shoes, the results can be
disappointing. The results are competing pieces
of clothing, and others notice that you tried too
hard in your effort to combine them.
—How do you define your style?
I would say that it’s elegant and classic, but
with a touch of contemporary fashion, which
makes it look “careless.” You can wear a very
classic piece, but match it in a way to make
it look casual. For example, if I’m designing
a dress and it already has a lot of stones, I
crumple it, crush it, do anything to “destroy” it
a bit in order to give it that organic, imperfect
and asymmetric touch.
—How hard has it been to be renowned in
My objective was not to be renowned, although
it’s true that being well-known makes things
much easier. I’m here because I love what I
do. When I take decisions, I keep in mind that
many people depend on this business, besides
me. It’s much easier if you think this way.
Therefore, when someone gives a bad review
on one of your collections, or there are simply
no reviews –which happens frequently when
you are a beginner– it just doesn’t affect you so
much. The bottom line is to sell your products;
if you keep this in mind, bad reviews should not
make you frustrated, they should be a reason
to improve. What really matters is to spend
your time doing what you want to do, what you
In New York, it has been difficult and easy at
the same time. Competition is very strong. Not
only do you compete against the best in your
country, but against the best in the world. But,
at the same time, this competition and being
exposed to so many different ideas, actually
makes things easier and keeps you motivated.
—What are the main obstacles you have
Recently, the financial situation. It was already difficult to have your collections included in stores, and now you have to prove
to customers that your product is not only
beautiful or original, or made from good
quality material. Many people can do that.
What’s really hard is to prove that you can
run a business; that you’re going to deliver
on time, that adjustments and finishes are
going to be fine, and that the prices are
—What is the easiest part?
The creative part. That is what helps me to
confront everything else, no matter how difficult it is. Sometimes I’m still in the showroom
interview CHristian cota
60 Negocios i The Lifestyle
at 5 a.m. Even when I have to keep working for
at least two more hours, since I like what I do
so much, I don’t know where I get the energy,
but I come up with 25,000 new ideas, despite
—What do you consider the key to your
Work. There is a great deal of creativity in this
world and many people can create beautiful
pieces. The things that have helped me to be
successful are work, perseverance, and the
fact that I never give up; if things don’t work
one way, I always look for another solution.
—What is a day like in the life of Christian Cota?
I love to have breakfast at home. I normally
have quesadillas for breakfast, I really love
them, and always try to have Mexican
cheese available. Every day, I set a goal to
design a certain number of pieces, so work
doesn’t pile up on me. I like taking the time
to walk and visit places where I’ve never
When I’m designing my collections, I
concentrate on work; but even then I try to
photos courtesy of christian cota
Christian Cota’s collections are already at the New York
Fashion Week; his designs are worn by women such as the
orchestra director Alondra de la Parra, and actresses such
as Hayden Panettiere, Blake Lively and Rose Byrne, among
other celebrities, and are sold in Saks Fifth Avenue and
Bloomingdale’s. Nevertheless, he considers that he has not
yet reached the summit.
walk through the park for at least 15 minutes, I love to admire the trees and be able
to relax a little. When I’m not designing a
collection, I practice horseback riding and
enjoy dinner outings with my friends.
—What are your plans for the future?
To continue expanding my business; improving accounts, and finding more stores to
include my collections; thus giving my name
a stronger global presence.
I want to develop my brand name and
add new elements; although I wouldn’t like
to take a huge step without being prepared
for it. n
the lifestyle feature tijuana
By RICARDO IBARRA
Purity is the wrong approach for art and culture along the border. What matters here are the mixed races; the inner and outer search; the extremes and the
never-ending possibilities. Here, a voice explodes seeking to spread individually
shaped personalities in the process of meeting life goals.
Tijuana is the ultimate crossing point. Its
streets and surrounding areas are filled with
hundreds of new visitors from different parts
of the world that come and go. It is the last
Spanish-speaking point, before switching to
Spanglish. It is home to hundreds of nomads. It
is the borderline of Latin America, like a small
nation where global nature is the result of cultural diversity, particularly emphasized in art
In the last couple of years, the city and its
surroundings have become an abode with
a constant and wide-spreading dynamic.
Many of its visitors are artists, not only from
Mexico and the United States, but also from
many other countries. Tijuana is a magnet
that attracts and exudes local talent towards
the rest of the world.
Various organizations created by local
artists have given birth to a multicultural ex-
perience in a land without traditions, since it
is a relatively new city, product of 20th century progress and innovation.
Civil organizations participate in the local
art scene, such as the National Foundation
of Independent Artists (NFIA), Entijuanarte,
Ensenadarte, Lemon Art, InSite, La Casa
del Tunal Art Center, or even actors such
as Nortec Collective, who cover the musical
62 Negocios i The Lifestyle
ILLUSTRATIONs RICARDO LUÉVANOS
Luis Ituarte, born in Tijuana and raised in different hybrid surroundings –Baja California,
Mexico City, Central America, Canada and California–, has a unique way of understanding and
explaining the border phenomenon.
“The multiculturalism in Tijuana, added
to the multiculturalism in southern California
–where cultures from around the globe meet–
has created a cultural evolution that is essential
for the future. It is very similar to what happened
in the Middle Age, when after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Moors invaded Europe, giving birth to the foundations of modern western
culture. Something similar is happening in this
Tijuana resembles nowhere land.
It is not in central Mexico, nor is it part
of the United States; nevertheless,
the city has the ability to look upon itself as
“the belly button of the world.”
area which I call the Tijuana-Los Angeles mega
metropolis,” he remarked.
For Ituarte, the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989,
marked the beginning of a new borderless era,
which began a process of personal and global liberation, “mainly due to international trade needs
and the development of communications, such
as the internet, which is forcing us, through a cultural standpoint, to review our attitude towards
others, as part of the global village concept,” he
He added: “For the first time in the history of
western civilization, we are aware that we pass
from one age to another. We have the opportunity to design the new era and, in order to do so,
we need to take part in it. We all should have the
opportunity to take part in designing the great
According to the muralist, what is currently
happening in Tijuana could be compared with
the European Baroque period: “a subliminal and
underground manifestation of dissent for the
‘other’ cultures –Arabs and some local cultures–
that converged in Europe during the Roman
Empire and after its fall. The cultures that the
Romans conquered survived and gave birth to a
hybrid that found forms of expression.”
Some of the images taken behind the
scenes of Luis Ituarte’s colorful works may better explain what he expresses in words. Some
photographs show a multiracial work team
that helps the Tijuana artist with his murals:
some with painted black faces; Asians with
narrow eyes; others with blond hair and blue
eyes, and of course, those whose skin reminds
you of sandy clay.
Along the border
Nortec Collective, a group of computer and tambora drum musicians, emerged from this border
zone –between the Mexican Baja California and
the American California– is probably the crown
of this cultural blend that prevails in the area.
Nortec is the result of the fusion between
technology and tradition; a combination of modern knowledge with Mexican heritage, so full
of symbols, stories, and a special, magic way of
The lyrics of Nortec’s song “Tijuana makes
me happy,” which is a mixture of samplers, loops,
strummed guitars, and norteño style accordion
notes, say: “Some people call it the happiest place
on earth / Others say it’s a dangerous place / It’s
been the city of sin / But you know, I don’t care
/ Tijuana makes me happy / Tijuana makes me
happy – then a chorus of female voices - / Bang,
bang – and the final drum roll.
Fussible, Bostich, Hiperboreal, Clorofila, and
Panóptica are the DJ’s that compose this Mexican collective music group, that has offered the
country and the world a series of productions
and concerts that reflect the contemporary style
of the people of Tijuana.
Feeling tired of following foreign music
trends, the group created a mixture of electronic music, norteño rhythms and Sinaloa band
sounds. Nortec has recorded almost 10 albums,
and has dabbled in the movie and videogame
market, producing the soundtrack for Babel and
FIFA Street 2.
The NFIA has been operating before the time
when desert sand was turned into concrete freeways and skyscrapers, which spread from Tijuana all the way to Los Angeles. This bi-national organization promotes emerging art from the area,
produced by Mexican nationals or US citizens
with Mexican heritage. Encouraging the work
of over 30 members is the main objective of this
organization, although it also raises funds to help
get youths off the streets and exit social exclusion.
José Leonardo Vivanco was born in Zamora,
Michoacán, and currently lives in Tijuana. Vivanco is a specialist in working with paper; his art is
based on this material. His creations are inspired
by every corner of his border imagination. Vivanco uses a surgical scalpel to cut the paper, and
the lifestyle feature tijuana
then produces a chiaroscuro effect with a white
pencil. His work has been exhibited in various
Mexican museums. “Tijuana is a one-of-a-kind
cultural center in Mexico.”
“We want young people to take a brush and
begin to paint, instead of using drugs,” the general
coordinator for the NFIA, José Vivanco, noted.
In June 2009, the NFIA began holding traveling exhibitions in various cities of the Mexican
states of Jalisco and Nayarit, such as Guadalajara,
Puerto Vallarta, Mascota, and Tepic. A portion
of the sale revenues from the art pieces goes to
the creators, and another is directed to support
art communities in Baja California, and for youth
rescue, José Vivanco explained.
Around the world
Enrique Chiu, Gallery Coordinator for the Municipal Art and Culture Institute of Tijuana
(IMAC) considers that the area’s artistic and
cultural panorama changed in 2009. Before this
year –marked by the global economic downturn–, artists from Mexico and the United States,
and even from other countries, would seek the
cultural venues of this side of the planet.
Today, the flow of artists to this area has decreased; nevertheless, Tijuana sustains intense
artistic and cultural activities
Daniel Rua Nova, a Mexican-American living
in Tijuana, recently opened an exhibition in a city
located to the west of his home, Beijing. His work
has been showcased in China since the Olympic
Games in 2008. “Being from Tijuana, I was born
to export, to cross borders,” he proudly stated. In
Tijuana, we are more open to global exchange;
although it may be present elsewhere, here it is
Tijuana resembles nowhere land. It is not in
central Mexico, nor is it part of the United States;
nevertheless, the city has the ability to look upon
itself as “the belly button of the world.”
Luis Ituarte describes the city: “The fact that
a mother culture is inexistent here, the horizons
for creativity and the creation of a new Mexico
are broadened […] Tijuana is a cultural mess.
The convergence of different cultures produces
the need for validation, for cultural acknowledgement, for having history. The artists have a social
need to be regionally or locally recognized. That
is why the cultural movement is so important in
And, to finish off, he noted: “Globalization has
a much greater impact here at the border […] We
are better prepared for change, to have a hybrid
64 Negocios i The Lifestyle
Public Education +
By Cristina Ávila-Zesatti
The Entrepreneurs Foundation for Basic Education was established in 2006 with
the goal of improving the quality of education in Mexico. The President of the
foundation and major promoter, Enrique Carlos Madero, has set himself the task
of involving the private sector in order to improve the conditions of Mexican public
schools. Today, the project that began with 10 schools of excellence has already
spread to 100 facilities, with an investment of 1.85 million usd. It is an innovative
social involvement program in which all sectors pursue the same objective: to
eliminate illiteracy –real and functional–, and increase productivity in Mexico.
The United Nations (UN) celebrates the International Literacy Day on September 8. Every year,
the countries that have failed a course seem to be
putting this exam on hold over and over again,
while the “good students”, those who have passed
the course, are always the same nations.
According to official figures, there are still 35
million youths and adults that cannot read or
write, in addition to 88 million persons that failed
to complete elementary school. Despite the fact
that Mexico is not classified in the group with the
lowest grades in the region, there is still a challenge for the future of the country.
More efforts, best results
According to the rules, the State is responsible
for public education. Nevertheless, year after
year, the results in different countries of the
globe confirm the need for a new program.
This was precisely what marked the beginning
of the Entrepreneurs Foundation for Basic Education (Empresarios por la Educación Básica,
ExEB), an idea conceived by Enrique Carlos
In 2003, when Madero was head of the Business Council of Latin America (Consejo Empresarial de América Latina, CEAL), during one of
the group meetings, together with some other
colleagues, he pinpointed one of the key problems of productive levels in the region: poor education, low quality, unbalanced opportunities,
inadequate resources, and insufficient financing
for education systems.
This analysis led them to action. Various
Latin American businessmen tried to find a
“good practice” model that could revert, to
whatever extent possible, the conditions that
currently affect children, and that could affect
a complete society in the future, given that a
good percentage of the working-age adults
could be lacking the tools and basic knowledge
to achieve optimal work performance.
This is how CEAL, in coordination with the
Latin American Institute for Educational Communication (Instituto Latinoamericano de la
Comunicación Educativa, ILCE), identified 54
cases of good educational practices, in 18 countries of Latin America.
The first reading, the first lessons
ExEB rose precisely from this joint project, and
in 2006 began with a Quality Schools with Equity pilot program.
“In broad terms, this project pursues the
objective of raising the quality of education
in every area: from the facility infrastructure
to the part related to human capital, in other
words, the principal, the teachers, the parents,
and the academic content that is taught to the
children. They all receive support from the
foundation to attain the necessary leadership,”
remarked Alicia Bruckman, Development Director of the foundation.
One of the first steps was to partner with
the Ministry of Public Education (Secretaría
de Educación Pública, SEP), since it would be
difficult to reach the desired coverage that this
non-profit organization is targeting, without
the support from the state office in charge of
SEP selected the schools to launch the program, and is working on measurable quality
standards for students and to evaluate the faculty curricula.
When ExEB began, the pilot program was
launched in 10 schools; nevertheless, after
three years, success speaks for itself. Today,
the Quality Schools with Equity program has
reached 100 rural and urban schools in four
states: Guanajuato, Nuevo León, Estado de
México, and Tamaulipas, where the average
number of students per school is 500.
According to ExEB’s vision:
“to transform education
is an act of social justice
and responsibility that
requires the participation
of entrepreneurs and other
sectors of our society.”
Learning to add, to then learn to multiply
To apply the Quality Schools program and
obtain tangible results requires monitoring at
least four academic periods, before the school
can be self-managing and self-sustainable.
Madero Bracho, President of the Executive
Committee, has involved approximately 30 renowned Mexican businessmen in the project,
who are well aware of the relevance that their
participation in the program represents, since
fostering a higher level of education for today’s
children, will help build the generations of the
country’s workers of the future.
Nevertheless, a great deal of work still lies
ahead. Presently, Mexico has 220,000 public schools spread out in the country, and the
Entrepreneurs for Education model has only
reached 100 of them. Although this is not a
minor accomplishment, the challenge for the
future is huge. The equation is simple: if more
resources are available, the greater the ability
to take actions will be.
Approximately 1.85 million usd have been
invested up to this stage, with a yearly budget of
18,500 usd for each of the schools that apply the
Quality Schools with Equity program.
Currently, a large portion of these resources
come from SEP. Because of this situation, ExEB
will soon start an intense campaign to encourage
other members of the private sector to become
involved in this effort, which aims to become an
educational crusade for high standards, because
the goal is not simply to educate, but to prepare
the students that will become the nation’s working force in the future.
In addition to the program, ExEB is preparing
a “social studies plan” that has proved to be efficient, but requires more people to take action.
Because of this, besides the private sector
campaign, this non-profit organization has being
audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, in order to
call out and invite society to become involved in
this effort for quality education with equity.
Consequently, anyone can make donations
according to their possibilities, which are tax
deductible, due to the fact that the foundation
is registered as an official recipient of donations before the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito
“The idea is to involve all the members of
society –Alicia Bruckman, spokeswoman for
ExEB noted– we are not only seeking donations from prominent entrepreneurs, we want
companies to participate actively, we want
society to become engaged in the foundations
goals, we want people to be able to make donations (…) that’s why we are devising new campaigns and new forms of cooperation.”
During the 2009-2010 academic year, 25
million children will be enrolled in Mexican
elementary schools, which represents a bit less
than one fourth of the current population of
the country. The international experience has
proved a simple formula: lack of education is
one of the causes for social underdevelopment.
Further to the lessons of a course called “productivity”, it is fully proved that raising levels of
education will increase a nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).
This is precisely the final goal for ExEB: “To
transform education is an act of social justice
and responsibility that requires the participation of entrepreneurs and other sectors of our
society,” noted Madero Bracho. n
66 Negocios i The Lifestyle
for Basic Education
The program is operating
in four states:
Introduce the Quality Schools
with Equity program to
participation in Mexico’s
Estado de México
Achieve participation of
parents, governments, private
enterprises, and the society
to improve basic education
Faculty and parental training
in each school
Evaluation of requirements
and optimal use of school
Implementation of evaluations
and standards to measure the
quality and quantity of education
is the average sum
per school per year
of the Ministry of
(Sindicato Nacional de
Trabajadores de la Educación)