Mexico in the World
Mexico: A Strategic Partner for NAFTAâ€™s Creative Industries
The Lifestyle Feature
Natureâ€™s Gifts to Mexico: 10 Natural Wonders Not to Be Missed
Negocios para exportadores
VIII - 2013
The Mexico Advantage
he government of Mexico has set out to transform our country based on five major national goals: to have a peaceful, inclusive, well-educated, prosperous and globally-responsible Mexico. In order to build the prosperous Mexico we long for, we must generate sustained high economic growth that results in more and better jobs that will improve the quality of life of our population. Mexico has a solid foundation on which to attain these goals: healthy public finances; a manageable debt level; a budget with no fiscal deficit; a responsible and autonomous monetary policy, as well as adequate international reserves. Our macroeconomic stability and institutional strength are enriched by a wide sociopolitical consensus that favors important transformations required to boost the development of our country. Through the Pact for Mexico, two constitutional reforms have been approved: one in education that will enhance the quality of teaching, and another in telecommunica-
tions, radio broadcasting and economic competition that will open up the sector and ensure competition throughout our economy. Furthermore, the Congress is analyzing a financial overhaul to increase the level of credit and make it more affordable. Mexico offers certainty and confidence to investments, a business climate favoring productivity and competitiveness, and an ambitious plan to further develop infrastructure. Moreover, the country’s strategic geographic location and optimal legal framework for international trade, through a network of trade agreements with 44 countries, give us access to a potential market of over one billion people. Mexico’s exceptional economic and geographic conditions, as well as the talent and quality of its human capital, make it the ideal destination for new productive capital to flourish. This is the time to invest in Mexico. Investors will find the government of Mexico and ProMéxico to be allies committed to the success of projects that create quality jobs and prosperity for the country.
Enrique Peña Nieto President of Mexico
Table of Contents August 2013 20
Mexico in the World
Mexico: A Strategic Partner for NAFTA’s Creative Industries
Film in Mexico: An Industry with a Golden Future
The National Strategy for the Film and Audiovisual Industry: A Road Map to the Future
Creative Intelligence: Design as an Agent for Change in Mexico
COVER FEATURE Creative Industries:
The Mexico Advantage
The Relevance of the Creative Industries in Mexico
28 UDCI 30 Boxel 32 Astrolol
34 Gran Tiki Games 36 Motion Control 38 Don Porfirio 40 Machete Producciones
Special Feature Turkey and Mexico as Priority Partners: Trade Diversification and Emerging Markets in Asia
42 Baja Studios 44 Redrum
The Complete Guide to the Mexican Way of Life
50 The Lifestyle Briefs
Nature’s Gifts to Mexico:
a Home Away from Home
Interview with Esteban Hernández
66 Nelson Vargas, Poseidon of Mexico’s Swimming Pools
“When I dance, I am reliving my whole life”
courtesy of estebán hernández
10 Natural Wonders Not to Be Missed
the Whole World is Singing
The Strains of Mexico
ProMéxico Francisco N. González Díaz CEO Karla Mawcinitt Bueno Image and Communications General Coordinator Sebastián Escalante Director of Publications and Content email@example.com Advertising firstname.lastname@example.org Natalia Herrero Copy Editing
Download the PDF version and read the interactive edition of Negocios ProMéxico at: negocios.promexico.gob.mx This publication is not for sale. Its sale and commercial distribution are forbidden.
La franquicia como modelo de crecimiento: lecciones de México
Una bebida de México para el mundo.
ProMéxico y las empresas exportadoras de tequila
La Alianza del Pacífico a ojos de México
Negocios ProMéxico es una publicación mensual editada en inglés por ProMéxico, Camino a Santa Teresa número 1679, colonia Jardines del Pedregal, Delegación Álvaro Obregón, C.P. 01900, México, D.F. Teléfono: (52) 55 54477000. Página Web: www.promexico.gob.mx. Correo electrónico: email@example.com Editor responsable: Gabriel Sebastián Escalante Bañuelos. Reserva de derechos al uso exclusivo No. 04-2009012714564800-102. Licitud de título: 14459. Licitud de contenido: 12032, ambos otorgados por la Comisión Calificadora de Publicaciones y Revistas Ilustradas de la Secretaría de Gobernación. ISSN: 2007-1795. Negocios ProMéxico año 6, número VIII, agosto 2013, se terminó de imprimir el 9 de agosto de 2013, con un tiraje de 13,000 ejemplares. Impresa por Cía. Impresora El Universal, S.A. de C.V. Las opiniones expresadas por los autores no reflejan necesariamente la postura del editor de la publicación. Queda estrictamente prohibida la reproducción total o parcial de los contenidos e imágenes de la publicación, sin previa autorización de ProMéxico. Publicación Gratuita. Está prohibida su venta y distribución comercial. 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. 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. August 2013.
From proméxico. Creativity has always been a key component of the Mexican culture. Thus, our human capital is enriched with two extremely powerful features: talent and innovation. These features have been responsible for boosting the growth of Mexico’s creative industries –including video game development, digital animation, and film and television production, amongst others–, making them absolute box-office hits on a global scale. We have great news to share with you on this field. First of all, since the IT sector is a cornerstone for the creative industries, we are glad to announce that we will be the next venue of the World Congress on Information Technology in 2014. This congress is the world’s greatest international IT event and hopefully will open new opportunities for Mexico’s global alliances in the creative industries. We are also working hard to create a Digital Creative City in Guadalajara, with the aim of boosting the creative industries in Mexico. This project will be the first of its kind in Latin America and could be described as a global hub for digital media development, within a world-class technology environment.
In terms of digital content development, the country ranks as one of the most competitive places in the globe. It stands out as the sixth largest exporter of new media. Furthermore, Mexico is the most competitive destination in the Americas for software design, video games and digital entertainment. Regarding the film industry, Mexico is home to one of the biggest markets worldwide. Both local and foreign film productions have prospered in Mexico thanks to the country’s highly-recognized talent, competitive costs, scenic variety, proximity to international key markets, as well as the public policies and incentives that the Mexican government has granted to the creative industries. Mexican film entertainment products are exported to over 100 countries. More specifically, Mexico is poised to become a global leader in the production of material for the Spanish-speaking market, given the increasing need for specialized content that better supplies this fast-growing segment. Today, Mexican human capital –with its talent and innovation capabilities– is available for anyone seeking to succeed in the ever more profitable creative industries, as a platform which grants the necessary tools to develop highly-innovative global projects which are based on creativity.
Welcome to Negocios!
Francisco N. González Díaz CEO ProMéxico
Vanguard logistic services
Multinational port operating giant Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) will invest 1.5 million usd to improve logistical capabilities at the port of Ensenada on Mexico’s northwestern coast. Upgrades include the installation of a new container crane that boosts capacity while reducing carbon emissions. www.hph.com
MANUFACTURING IN THE BORDER
British consumer goods manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser will invest 10 million usd to open a new production facility in the northern border city of Tijuana, Baja California. The company currently has operations in Monterrey, Guadalajara, Tijuana, Mérida and Mexico City. www.rb.com
3M: A SOLID LONG-TERM BET
photo courtesy of
US chemicals giant DuPont will invest 500 million usd to increase operating capacity at its production plant in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas. The major expansion is aimed at making the site the world’s second largest producer of titanium dioxide.
DUPONT EXPANDS ITS titanium dioxide PLANT
US-based diversified manufacturing multinational 3M will invest 400 million usd in its Mexico operations over the next five years. Projects include expanded output of products for the health, automotive and telecommunications industries at the company’s plant in the northeastern state of San Luis Potosí. www.3m.com
BUILDING GROWTH BRICK BY BRICK Danish toymaker Lego will invest 125 million usd to expand production capacity at its manufacturing plant in the northern state of Nuevo León. Lego has experienced double-digit sales growth in Mexico in recent years.
photo courtesy of lego
Mexican IT services provider RedIT will invest 12 million usd to extend its fiber optic network in key growth areas such as the cities of Guadalajara, Monterrey, Querétaro, Tijuana and Toluca. RedIT offers services such as data centers, fiber optic networks and IT infrastructure management. www.redit.com
Mexican steel maker Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA) inaugurated a major new production plant in the northern state of Coahuila. The massive 2.3 billion usd facility will produce specialized steel plate for the automotive, railroad and energy industries, among others. www.ahmsa.com
photo pedro pérez garcía
AHMSA’S NEW FACILITY
MAGNA, ADDING MANUFACTURING CAPACITY Canadian auto parts manufacturer Magna International will invest 100 million usd to build three production facilities in the northern state of Coahuila. The added capacity is slated to produce auto seats for export and suspensions for domestic OEMs.
higuchiâ€™s new manufacturing plant Japanese automotive parts manufacturer Higuchi Manufacturing will build a new production plant in the northern state of Coahuila. The 3.5 million usd facility is planned to produce components for safety belts and air bags. www.hig-jp.net
photo courtesy of embraco
COOLING INVESTMENT Brazilian industrial manufacturer Embraco will invest up to 60 million usd to expand production capacity at its Mexico plant in the northeastern state of Nuevo LeĂłn. Resources are targeted to boost output of refrigeration compressors and initiate production of next-generation compressor technology. www.embraco.com
sumitomo makes itself at home in mexico
Japanese electronics manufacturer Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems will invest approximately 19 million usd to build a new distribution center in the northern state of Coahuila. The site will be used to concentrate and distribute imported inputs for the company’s two electrical components plants in the region. www.sewsus.com
GRUPO SOMAR, LEADER IN LATIN AMERICA
photo courtesy of somar
Mexican pharmaceutical manufacturer Somar will invest approximately 50 million usd to install a plant with plasma fractionation capabilities outside Mexico City. According to the company, the new facility will be the largest of its type in Latin America. www.gruposomar.com
a Business as SMOOTH AS LEATHER US-based automotive leather producer Eagle Ottawa initiated operations at a new 40 million usd production plant in the central state of Guanajuato –Mexico’s leather working heartland. www.eagleottawa.com
Negocios ProMéxico | Special Report
by karla garduño
The Adventure of Software Design Entia has devised a new method called Active Action that enables companies to design the software project that best fits their needs.
If software were a building, Entia would be the team of architects that listens to and guides users to define the best project for their needs. But that is not all: Entia would also find the best builders, carpenters, forgers, painters and plumbers to build it as efficiently as possible. “Depending on the build of a house, the modernity, we bring in experts from multiple disciplines to make the most cost-effective project,” says Juan Carlos González, CEO of the company created in early 2013. Entia was born from Innox, a small software development firm that was founded by four partners in 2003 “in
an office that did not look like an office and a house that did not look like a house,” recalls González. “We started growing and by 2008 we were 70 developers,” he adds. With the arrival of new competitors from countries such as India, the international software development market began to lower its prices, so Entia’s partners decided to change the focus of their business. “We created a service called Innocamp, which basically meant bringing customers in with their entire work team to design their software project,” he explains. Innocamp emerged as part of the company’s sales
Special Report | Negocios ProMéxico
process, which was too long as it involved speaking to every stakeholder in the project to create an offer suitable for everyone. “We decided to turn the process around: instead of visiting the customer for eight months to speak to all the stakeholders in a software development project, we could bring them all to the office and in five or six hours when they could freely contradict each other, reach an agreement to everyone’s liking” he reveals. The challenge was to present it so that it appealed to all the project’s players within a corporation, take them out of their everyday context and get them planning. That was how they came up with playful techniques to complete a process they call “collaborative design.” That new method increased the chances of closing a sale significantly but there came a time when this “collaborative design” in itself became a service appeal-
ACTIVE ACTION, The Method
ing enough to leave software development behind. “We saw clearly how people got excited about presenting their ideas and discussing their software project and we realized that the service itself of getting them together to think was very valuable,” affirms González. Using several methodologies and dynamics –Lego, team building, nominal groups and other dynamics– the group designed a strategy that was no longer called Innocamp, since it was no longer a oneday camp but had become an approach that required from three to six weeks. That was how Entia came to life in January 2013, a company whose only product is Active Action, a strategic design process for high-value software projects. The method has seven stages, from meeting the project stakeholders, to contacting potential developers, suppliers and investors, including follow-up, at the client’s request.
“We became talent integrators. That is what we do to generate high-value projects,” boasts González. Close to 70% of the projects designed with that approach have been successful, says González. And while close to 30% of them have been cancelled during the process, it is not seen as a failure since, when a customer realizes that creating new software is not a viable option, it just means that Entia’s methodology has been effective. “It is a success to us. If the project is declared unfeasible, we have saved the business a lot of money,” says González. Entia no longer employs developers or marketers. However, they create value in follow-up and in hiring the person who will lead the project. “We decided to stay away from specific solutions and act as neutral technology consultants,” explains González. Often, at the end of the process, the recommendation is not to develop new tech-
nology but to use existing resources such as cloud hosting services. “We have been looking at many types of technology for so long that we discovered that if a percentage of the solution is already there, we don’t have to develop it –that would be like reinventing the wheel. Instead, we guide and, at most, integrate the existing services. That automatically reduces project costs dramatically,” says González. Entia’s work is novel in one segment. While large consulting firms do similar work with industry giants, Entia has been able to reach small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that had no access to strategic design services. The company is currently headquartered in Guadalajara but by the close of 2013 will reach Monterrey and Mexico City –two of the country’s largest cities– and plans to open an office in Central America within three years. N www.entia.com.mx
Pre-Day. The program for the day is to find out the customer’s goals and plans to achieve them.
Intensive Day. For 12 hours, the client’s team is taken out of its regular routine by the experts to discover, identify and design the technology project that will enable them to reach their vision using diverse techniques.
Post-Day. The information generated in the Intensive Day is analyzed to design and document the set of solutions that will enable the company to reach its goals.
Action Day. Alternative solutions are presented that align with expectations so that the client can make the decision to launch his/her project.
Meeting Day. Once the project is designed, a work day is organized for the client to meet the work teams proposed by Entia.
Team-up Day. The project leader is recruited and prepared.
Follow-up Day. Periodical meetings are held to follow-up on the project and ensure its success.
Negocios ProMéxico | Special Report
Biaani: Technology Applied to Business and Health Four years after its foundation, this Mexican company offers both technology solutions to small and mediumsized businesses (SMBs) and mobile device applications that measure a user’s health status. by antonio vázquez
In Zapoteca language, biaani means light, clarity and wisdom. These three concepts were the inspiration for the Mexican entrepreneurs that created Biaani, a company devoted to the development of technology solutions, which has been recognized with national and international accolades. In 2009, Biaani appeared as a business that offered mobile technology development
to its customers. The firm’s applications gave customers access to their information from anywhere in the world, without the need for a server. “We saw that developing web applications for corporations was our biggest strength. We approached several institutions –such as the Mexico-US Science Foundation (FUMEC)– and we decided to not only perfect these applications but also
courtesy of biaani
to get involved in creating others for the health sector,” says Enrique López Muñoz, CEO of Biaani. Since completing its first products, Biaani has created Walk-Biz, an application for SMB owners, and Zabani, a mobile device application (Apple iOS and Android) to monitor a user’s quality of sleep. Enrique López Muñoz explains that Walk-Biz is software for handling a company’s institutional information, its services and products and any type of data. Users can manage their own accounts from a web page and update their information whenever they want. According to information by Biaani, 38% of Internet searches made through a smartphone are related to products and services, while 66% of cell phone users in Mexico have downloaded some mobile application in
Special Report | Negocios ProMéxico
Since completing its first products, Biaani has created WalkBiz, an application for SMB owners, and Zabani, a mobile device application (Apple iOS and Android) to monitor a user’s quality of sleep.
the last two years. Furthermore, 26% of smartphone owners have made purchases from their devices and 33% have said they will do so in the future. Based on that information, it is estimated that in the medium term, five out of every 10 smartphone owners will make transactions, purchases and product and service searches from their devices. “We have always worked with solutions aimed at SMBs, to enable them to have their own applications. This is a big sector where online sales are increasing through mobile devices and tablets, which today are sold far more than desktops,” states López Muñoz. Biaani’s application for SMBs is easy, integrative, quick and affordable. WalkBiz buyers do not require any
knowledge of programming or design to create their own application using the platform. Owners who get an application using Walk-Biz will have the advantage of offering other cybernauts information about their business, as well as their products and services, which can be downloaded from any cell phone or tablet. As for Zabani, López Muñoz claims that it is Biaani’s venture into the health sector. “We decided to propose something in health and we used Zabani to participate in Vancouver, Canada, through a program by FUMEC called Technologies Business Accelerator (TechBA). The application monitors and analyzes users’ sleep patterns and, based on that information, determines if the individual is at risk of suffering some
sleep-related disease,” says López Muñoz. Zabani was introduced in Canada in 2011. It won an award to creativity as part of TechBA and with it, Biaani received the feedback it needed to position its application internationally. Zabani will be available for the most popular platforms –Apple, Android– and for the Nokia S40 family of phones, of which close to 1 million units are sold daily around the world. “The application captures sounds through the device’s microphone during the night and subsequently analyzes the sleep patterns and makes a diagnosis that can be sent to a doctor to determine if the patient suffers from a disease. According to some companies, by 2017 the mobile healthcare market will be
worth 23 billion usd. Such an application offers savings in distances, time and cost, since a doctor can check up on a patient even if he or she is hundreds of miles away,” clarifies López Muñoz, pointing out that one of Biaani’s advantages over its competitors is Mexico’s geographic location, closeness to the US, national technology talent and low production costs. Biaani’s CEO adds that in the future, the firm plans to improve and consolidate its applications for SMB customers. “Without a doubt, product development for these business owners will be the company’s strongest area. We want to mature in that aspect and continue growing with Walk-Biz and Zabani,” he concludes. N www.biaani.com
Negocios ProMéxico | Cover Feature
Creative Industries: The Mexico Advantage Mexico is poised to become a global leader in the production of content for the Spanish speaking market. With an unprecedented convergence of perfectly aligned conditions and a clear industry strategy oriented to that end, the country is taking firm steps in the pursuance of its destiny of leadership.
by mariana larragoiti kolkmeyer*
A Creative Opportunity Latin America is one of the world’s fastest growing media markets and Mexico is a leading force in the digital audiovisual production renaissance in the region. The country’s creative industries are transforming their business and production models and evolving with the advent of new technologies and consumer trends, which range from cinema and TV production all the way to digital animation, special effects (VFX), video game and multimedia development. As a result, the national media landscape has registered rapid growth in recent years, placing Mexico at the forefront of the digital, cultural and entertainment revolution of the Spanish language and establishing it as the Matrix of the Spanish Digital Wave. The need for specialized content that better caters the Spanish language market, along with the search of strategic partners for global media companies based primarily in North America and Europe, has prompted increasing interest in the region. Given Mexico’s highly recognized talent, as well as its extremely competitive costs, international quality standard infrastructure, natural wonders, world renowned hospitality, great local market, proximity to key international markets and generous incentives, the country has become, now more than ever, the most attractive production destination on the globe, with unmatched financial, logistic, human capital and geographic advantages. Mexico’s audiovisual and interactive industry is committed to the development of intellectual property for the digital screen in any platform. Strategically located, neighbor-
Cover Feature | Negocios ProMéxico
ing the most important market in the world –the US– and gateway to Latin America and the Pacific Rim regions, business culture affinity, an integral government support platform, quality of life, industry-tailored incentives and highly competitive costs are some of the elements that factor into the Mexico advantage. The Mexican Audiovisual Industry and the Age of Spanish Content Mexico is one of the most important consumer markets and the gateway to the highest growing markets in the globe: • The creative industries in Mexico contribute up to 7% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the national economy. • According to figures taken from the Creative Economy Report 2010 of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Mexico exported 5,167 million usd of creative goods and services and it is the largest exporter of Latin America, followed by Brazil, which exported 1,222 million usd. In fact, Mexico exports more than Latin America and the Caribbean combined. • Mexican audiovisual content is currently being watched by over 1 billion people around the globe in more than 10 languages. • Latin America is one of the fastest growing consumer regions and Mexico is one of the most important markets in the world. • In 2012, the media sector in Mexico recorded over 15,500 million usd in sales. The sector includes advertising, broadcast television, cable television, and film marketing. • Mexico is ranked among the 15 main video game markets worldwide and it is the first in Latin America with almost 50% of the sales of the region, equivalent to 893 million usd during 2012. • According to information from Mexico’s Ministry of Public Education (SEP), over 110,000 engineering and technology-related students graduate in the country each year. • Mexico is the ninth global hub of information technology (IT) resources and America’s most important technology talent pool. • The country’s audiovisual production and development costs are very competitive. According to KPMG, Mexico is 37.7% and 38.9% more cost competitive than the US in terms of software development and digital entertainment, respectively. The Spanish speaking population is one of the fastest growing segments in the world, especially in the US. Mexico is not only a prime
Negocios ProMéxico | Cover Feature
According to figures taken from the Creative Economy Report 2010 of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Mexico exported 5,167 million usd of creative goods and services and it is the largest exporter of Latin America, followed by Brazil, which exported 1,222 million usd. In fact, Mexico exports more than Latin America and the Caribbean combined. market for entertainment products but also an ideal platform to create Spanish language content, since the country can be both a test market and a development center for products that target the increasingly important and influential Spanish speaking market. Said market constitutes a huge community that shares products, services and culture, a situation that offers businesses and institutions a truly unique growth opportunity. Here are some important facts regarding the Spanish language: • Spanish, the official language in 21 countries, is the third most widely spoken language in the world, after English and Mandarin. • More than 400 million people speak Spanish worldwide. • Experts predict that by 2050 there will be 530 million Spanish speakers, of which 100 million will be living in the US. • The demand for quality Spanish content nationwide has been fueled, in part, by the Hispanic media market explosion led by TV advertising at a national and network level, which has seen growth of nearly 74% in recent years. For the aforementioned reasons, as well as Mexico’s potential to become the global production leader of these industries, the Mexican government is working on the implementation of an integral strategy for its development and improvement, where the attraction, generation and retention of talent play an essential role. Program for High-impact Audiovisual Production Having identified the creative industries as a priority sector for the Mexican economy, the government embarked upon a strategy designed to enhance the country’s cost effec-
Cover Feature | Negocios ProMéxico
tive competitiveness to boost the audiovisual production platform and to promote export services and investment in the industry by strengthening Mexico’s position as a preferred production destination. As part of its strategy for the sector, in March 2010, the Mexican government launched the Support Program for High-impact Audiovisual Production (ProAV), which comprises a dedicated government service platform for audiovisual production and includes an industry incentive. ProAV grants foreign and local audiovisual productions with an incentive of up to 7.5% on the whole of eligible expenses incurred and invoiced in Mexico, whose minimum total is equal or larger than 40 million pesos (approximately 3.125 million usd) of expenses in production or 10 million pesos (approximately 780,865 usd) in post-production costs (VFX), animation and video games or digital interactive.
leader while pushing the boundaries of sustainable urban development. In short, DCC will stand out as a new model to be replicated across the country and Latin America. In November 2012, the Mexican Ministry of Economy (SE) formally presented the DCC Master Plan developed by a team of world renowned urban development specialists, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sensible City Lab (MIT) Carlo Ratti Associati, Metropolis Foundation, Accenture Mobility in Chain and ARUP. The Plan has been launched and has already begun work in the first urban interventions. In addition, before the end of 2013, DCC will formally announce the investment committed by its first anchor international digital media company. With the launch of DCC, Mexico will reap the following benefits: • A planned contribution to the national GDP of 3.5 trillion usd by 2023.
Mexico is not only a prime market for entertainment products but also an ideal platform to create Spanish language content, since the country can be both a test market and a development center for products that target the increasingly important and influential Spanish speaking market.
The policies of ProAV are very flexible in terms of eligible costs; the only requirement is to back the expenses with authorized fiscal invoices. Practically any expense incurred in Mexico related to the production and post-production of an audiovisual production is contemplated. As an additional advantage, producers can now have access to the ProAV Program benefit through a bundle mode, which allows a single production company to apply for the incentive with a production portfolio of projects for set/ location shoot or digital post-production. Digital Creative City Digital Creative City (DCC) is an exciting new project that will create a hub for the digital media industry within Mexico –from TV, cinema and advertising to video games, digital animation, interactive multimedia and elearning. DCC will be located in Guadalajara, the country’s second largest city and home to Mexico’s ‘Silicon Valley’. DCC aims to attract Mexican and international creative minds to develop new digital media content. The project will advance Mexico’s natural position as a global creative
• Increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) estimated at between 1.8 and 4.9 billion usd over 10 years. • Creation of 31,000 jobs (19,000 direct, 8,000 indirect and 3,500 induced). Creativity Focuses on Mexico In recent years, Hollywood and many powerful audiovisual production giants have tried to play the game with China but abrupt changes in their market’s rules of engagement and deep business culture differences have made producers fix their vision in the rapidly growing and increasingly influential Spanish language market. Mexico appears as the natural gateway to that profitable segment, not only in Spanish speaking countries but also, most importantly, in the US. Today, creativity has set its sights on Mexico, an interest that, given the growth potential of the creative industries in the country, will surely pay off in the years to come. N *Director of Innovation, Business Intelligence Unit (UIN), ProMéxico.
Negocios ProMéxico | Business Tips
The Relevance of the Creative Industries in Mexico The creative economy has become a source of development and growth. Mexico is the top creative economy in Latin America, sixth among developing countries and 18th worldwide. The country is fertile ground for new business opportunities in this field. by maría cristina rosas*
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) states that creative industries are an increasingly relevant component of knowledge-based, post-industrial economies. These industries contribute to economic growth and job creation and are vehicles for the transfer of cultural identity. The growing interest in the industry has implied the proliferation of analyses, statistics, mappings and studies on the relationship between the creative industries and economic development, providing legislator bodies in several countries the necessary data and information to create public policies. The concept of creative economy was introduced in 2001 by John Howkins –a journalist and consultant for over 30 countries around the world including Australia, Canada, China, France, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Poland, Singapore, United Kingdom and the US. During an interview with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Howkins explained that a creative economy “is an economy where the major inputs and outputs are ideas […] where most people spend a significant amount of their time in having ideas. It’s an economy or society where people are concerned with their capacity to think and have an idea […] It’s where people, at any stage –talking to their friends, having a glass of wine, waking up at 4 o’clock in the morning– think they can come up with an idea that actually works, not just an idea with some sort of esoteric pleasure but the driver of their career and their thoughts of status and their thoughts of identity. [Therefore]
the ‘creative economy’ consists of the transactions in (the resulting) creative products. Each transaction may have two complementary values: the value of the intangible, intellectual property and the value of the physical carrier or platform (if any). In some industries, such as digital software, the intellectual property value is higher. In others, such as art, the unit cost of the physical object is higher.” Howkins refers to a creativity-based production model, however redundant it may seem, with proposals that go beyond established patterns. The creative economy operates differently than the traditional industrial economy which shows a rigid and hierarchical behavior that is clearly divided into the stages of origination, production, distribution and consumption. In contrast, there is more flexibility in a creative economy, particularly in the phases of origination, distribution and consumption. Howkins considers 15 industries in the concept of creative economy, ranging from arts to the wide fields of science and technology. These industries, technologies and/or sciences include art (painting, for example); crafts; design; fashion; film; music; performing arts (theater, opera, dance and ballet); editing and publishing (books and magazines); research and development; computer programs; toys and games, excluding video games; television and radio; video games; architecture and advertising. The common denominator between all these industries is creativity, which is both their raw material and their most valuable economic product. In other words, for a product or service to be considered a byproduct of the creative economy, it has to
be the result of creativity as well as have economic value. However, Howkins acknowledges the difficulties of quantifying the economic value of creativity, which is why there are only a few estimates. Thus, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), that has published a report on creative economies since 2008, global exports of creative goods and services doubled between 2002 and 2008, reaching 592 billion usd in 2008 with an annual growth rate of approximately 14%.
Business Tips | Negocios ProMéxico
Creative economy is positive for developing countries –which always struggle to access international markets in the traditional branches of economy. For instance, in 2008, developing countries exported goods and services for around 176 billion usd, 43% of total trade in the world’s creative industries that year. That contrasts against the severe contraction of global trade in the same year, which was 12%. The creative economy can be an option for growth, even a means to reduce poverty in developing countries amid the prevailing international economic crisis.
There are many companies in Mexico that offer cultural, audiovisual and entertainment services. For instance, in 2006, the television content distribution market earned approximately 167 billion usd and is expected to reach 251 billion in 2013.
Mexico and the Creative Industries Mexico is the top creative economy in Latin America, sixth among developing countries and 18th worldwide. According to ProMéxico, Mexico’s trade agency, creative industries rank fifth among the country’s strategic sectors, behind only the aerospace, agricultural, food and automotive sectors. There are many companies in Mexico that offer cultural, audiovisual and entertainment services. For instance, in 2006, the television content distribution market earned approximately 167 billion usd and is expected to reach 251 billion in 2013. The advertising market is significant as well, especially considering that it was valued at 479 billion in 2008, with television recording the largest share. Of Mexico’s creative industries, design is the most important component, accounting for 73%, followed by publishing (9.8%), music (5.8%), arts and crafts (5.2%), visual arts (4.6%), new media (1.5%) and audiovisual products (0.3%). Other sectors are very promising in terms of development, such as jewelry –the country is the leading silver producer in the world– fashion, leather and shoes, decoration and furniture. One sector experiencing a sweet spot, thanks to tax incentives provided by the Mexican government, is film –close to 70 films have been produced. Furthermore, due to the recent boom in the industry, some 30,000 jobs that are directly linked to film production have been created. According to the 2012 Statistical Yearbook for Mexican Cinema, 67 Mexican films premiered in national theaters and a total of 112 films were produced, of which 63% received government support. It is important to note that in 2012, 36 Mexican films produced with government support received a total of 66 awards in international film events. With regard to digital industries, the use of information technology is ever expanding and will have an effect on creativity and the competitiveness of the Mexican economy, particularly in trade, cultural and social activities. Also of special interest is that Mexican laws are being adapted to recognize and stimulate projects pertaining to the creative industries, opening a window of opportunity for investors. N *Professor and researcher in the Political and Social Sciences Faculty, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Negocios ProMéxico | Mexico in the World
Mexico: A Strategic Partner for NAFTA’s Creative Industries Thanks to its infrastructure, state of the art technology, scenic variety, experience, highly skilled human capital and internationally recognized talent, Mexico is an ideal location for the creative industries in North America. by josé antonio peral*
The creative industries can be defined as “those that are based on individual creativity, skills and talent that combined create value through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.” They are composed of the film, television, video game, animation and multimedia sectors. According to the study Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 20092013, carried out by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the global entertainment and media market was worth over 1.35 trillion usd in 2008 and it is forecast to rise to approximately 1.6 trillion usd by 2013. As the “knowledge” versus “industrial” economy continues to grow, creative industries become more essential, since they increase the knowledge-based job creation engine, preparing workers for a digital future that relies on creativity rather than physical work. Creative industries also represent a significant part of many countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as nations around the globe recognize the importance of the sector to their future economic growth. For countries such as the US and Canada, innovation is the key to continue growing in different industries, including the creative ones. In the US, the creative industries have two major influences: one cultural –for example Hollywood, sports championships and world recognized toys– the other technological –innovation carried out by companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook, among others. In short, the creative industries have become one of the largest, most dynamic and profitable sectors in the US. For Canada, creative industries are the backbone of the country’s innovation
and faster economic growth. According to a report by the Ontario Entertainment and Creative Cluster, “only the province of Ontario is among North America’s top entertainment and media economies, ranking third in employment just behind California and New York. It is among the world’s highest revenue generating creative clusters and has the potential to surpass its current status and place at the top of the second tier of media economies.” However, that growth and specialization requires the combination of different skills, talent and experience. Ontario’s six cultural industries need global partners to reach the potential growth that is compulsory for the sector. The province’s six cultural industries are: video production (film, TV, mobile and online), music recording and publishing, commercial theater, interactive digital media (including mobile content), magazine publishing and book publishing. In the case of Mexico, the country is an ideal location for the creative industries thanks to its infrastructure, state of the art technology, scenic variety, experience, highly skilled human capital and internationally recognized talent. In that sense, Mexico represents the perfect ally for Canada to create a synergy as well as develop a strategic partnership to reach its true potential and competitive level for projects in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) region and other countries. Over the past 20 years, Mexico has experienced a steady and stable growth in its economy due to its openness to international business, which, in turn, has led it to be ranked as one of the top three emerging markets. With an estimated population of 116 million people, a large and growing middle
class, and an average of 100,000 engineering and technology students graduating every year, Mexico is a significant potential consumer market and, more importantly, a potential business partner for any company within the creative industries sector. Mexico has succeeded in the creative industries by implementing a “partner” business mentality as opposed to a “competitor” business mentality, with the objective of complementing existing firms to better consolidate the North American market and to make it more competitive regarding global standards. According to KPMG’s Guide to International Business Location Costs 2012, in terms of costs Mexico is 37.7% more competitive in the area of software design and 38.9% in digital entertainment compared to the US. What the country offers through renowned companies like Baja Film Studios (world’s largest sets and aquatic stage) and Estudios Churubusco, among others, are potential partnerships to enhance the creative industries’ productions while offering competitive costs, in order to strengthen the sector in the continent. To date, both the Canadian and the US film industries have chosen Mexico as their partner for their cinematographic projects, in comparison to the other sectors that make up the creative industries. Both nations’ film industries have produced several award-winning films which were filmed in Mexico. That serves as an excellent example as to how the cooperation between the NAFTA countries can lead to even greater success when Canadian and American knowhow are combined with Mexican talent. Synergies such as that have boosted the development of Mexico’s creative industries exponentially and resulted in the
Mexico in the World | Negocios ProMéxico
creation of highly innovative projects i.e. the planning and current building of the Digital Creative City in Guadalajara, Jalisco. That city is destined to house several creative industry global giants and to become a hub in which animation, software, technological clusters, film and video game companies can develop projects not only for Latin America but also for the global market. In the meantime, however, the remaining sectors in both the US and Canadian creative industries should not lose the opportunity to expand into the Mexican market via the “tropicalization” of their products. After all, since Mexico offers highly skilled talent in these kinds
of processes, all three countries would be creating an initial win-win partnership that will grow into something greater and will provide the necessary tools to pursue highly ambitious projects in the long run. What is more, all of the above comes to show that a strategic partnership between NAFTA companies will create greater competitiveness against nonNAFTA countries for projects within the region, which is the best alternative NAFTA has to contend with other foreign companies. N
Mexico has succeeded in the creative industries by implementing a “partner” business mentality as opposed to a “competitor” business mentality, with the objective of complementing existing firms to better consolidate the North American market and to make it more competitive regarding global standards.
*Trade Commissioner of the ProMéxico office in Chicago, United States of America.
Negocios ProMéxico | Guest Opinion
Film in Mexico: An Industry with a Golden Future Mexico’s geographical diversity and natural, architectural and cultural wealth, the abundance of quality infrastructure and technical equipment, along with the country’s creative and artistic talent, have made it a “natural” set for the film industry. by giselle otero osornio and luis esteban muñiz*
The golden age of cinema in Mexico was of huge importance for the country’s film industry. It was a period of great social, political and cultural unrest not only in Mexico but also around the world. The Second World War was ravaging Europe and Asia. The US was dedicating most of its resources to the arms trade. In that context, the Mexican film industry encountered an opportunity to offer the world something other than the products of war. Between 1936 and 1945 there appeared films such as Allá en el Rancho Grande by Fernando Fuentes, Ahí está el detalle by Juan Bustillo Oro and Salón México by Emilio Fernández, which are now classics of Mexican and world cinema. Major Hollywood studios have shot films in Mexico that have been box office hits not only in the US but across the globe, thanks to the geographical, artistic and economic benefits the country offers. For example, the film Titanic by James Cameron was produced by Twentieth Century Fox’s recently built Baja Film Studios (1996) (located in Rosarito, Baja California). The complex is home to the largest aquatic studio in the world and has been the set for shooting other films such as 007: Tomorrow Never Dies by John Richardson and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Deep Blue Sea by Renny Harlin and Warner Brothers (WB). Foreign directors have discovered that Mexico is a paradise for filmmaking with attractive locations and incomparable talent. Furthermore, in recent years agreements and incentives have been established to support the growth of the film industry in Mexico, leading to the development of new opportunities to facilitate the production of films in the country. The number and variety of incentives offered in Mexico has evolved to the extent
that, together with financial and tax benefits, comparative advantages are also available relating to locations. The geographical diversity and natural, architectural and cultural wealth of Mexico, together with the abundance of quality film support infrastructure and technical equipment, and the country’s creative and artistic talent, ensure the conditions are present for numerous film success stories. In that context, the financial and tax incentives to consider include the Fund for Film Production Quality (FOPROCINE), a trust that aims to support quality cinema with venture capital, loans, guarantees, promotion and recognition of efficiency. The Fund for Film Investment and Promotion (FIDECINE) is another trust that supports production, post-production, distribution and screenings with venture capital and loans. Also available is the Fiscal Stimulus for National Film Production Investment Projects (EDICINE 226), an incentive package that grants a tax credit equivalent to the amount invested, to be discounted against the income tax levied during the tax year in which the loan is agreed. All these incentives are available through Mexican producers. In 2010 a new incentive called Support for High Impact Film and Audiovisual Production or Fondo ProAV was created. ProMéxico, the international economic promotion agency of the Mexican government, established the program to promote the internationalization of the country’s film industry. Fondo ProAV is designed to receive investment in audiovisual projects (film, series, animations, video games, apps and e-learning programs), through financial reimbursement of up to 6.5% of eligible expenditures made and invoiced in Mexico. However, what sets Mexico apart and makes it truly unique in the history of cin-
ema are the number, quality and variety of its locations, together with the existing facilities for obtaining a range of discounts in goods and services from state and municipal governments. Support is also offered in obtaining filming permits and the transport and set-up of operations, to name but a few. International film productions have seized the countless opportunities offered by that range of advantages. Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium received support from the ProAV fund, as did the film Colombiana by Olivier Megaton. Turning to Mexican cinema, key films include Amores Perros by Alejandro González Iñarritú and Y tu máma también by Alfonso Cuarón, while a number of film-
Guest Opinion | Negocios ProMéxico
makers continue to demonstrate their artistic qualities: Luis Estrada’s El infierno; Carlos Carrera’s The Crime of Father Amaro; Luis Mandoki’s Innocent Voices and Carlos Reygadas’s Silent Light. The internationally recognized work of Amat Escalante –who was awarded as Best Director at the most recent Cannes Film Festival for his film Heli and received the Best International Film award at the Munich Film Festival– is also worth mentioning. All of the above shows that Mexican cinema is achieving a great sense of drive and importance on an international level. Bringing together all of these elements means business opportunities will continue
to consolidate further, perhaps to achieve a new golden age of Mexican cinema that leads to the flourishing of an internationally renowned, quality film industry. Mexico is evolving and it has everything it needs to boost the creation and development of the national film industry. What is more, Mexico not only offers an innovative environment that helps create an art of ever increasing value and profit (film) but also achieves greater universal successes. N
What sets Mexico apart and makes it truly unique in the history of cinema are the number, quality and variety of its locations, together with the existing facilities for obtaining a range of discounts in goods and services from state and municipal governments.
*Giselle Otero Osornio is an Independent film director and Luis Esteban Muñiz an independent film producer. Both are graduates of Centro: Diseño, Cine y Televisión.
Negocios ProMéxico | Negocios Report
The National Strategy for the Film and Audiovisual Industry: A Road Map to the Future ProMéxico and representatives from Mexico’s film and audiovisual industry have worked on the National Strategy for Film and Audiovisual Industry, which will be presented to Mexico’s filmmaking community in the fall of 2013. by luis archundia*
In the wake of the growing demand for Spanish language entertainment and cultural products with a Latin touch in the United States and around the world, Mexico is currently in a unique position in the globalization of audiovisual production. The development of new digital technologies has exponentially increased the country’s chances to sophisticate and deepen its participation and influence in the industry’s global value chain. Known for its long filmmaking tradition, Mexico is a powerhouse of talent and the country has the potential to establish itself as the world’s largest producer of filmed entertainment and cultural content in the Spanish language
across the audiovisual spectrum: locations, geostrategic position, experience, as well as award-winning and cult-following cinematic storytellers. While encouraging the outlook for the country, Mexico faces a paradox: enormous challenges in the digital age demand that the sector gradually leaves behind its heavy dependence on state subsidies and develops a strong business model that ensures constant growth and diversification of the moving image industry (film, television, animation, video games, new media or visual effects), in order to formulate a new scheme with the support and guidance of the federal government.
For that reason, in 2010, ProMéxico’s Business Intelligence Unit (UIN) and representatives from the creative community, who participated in the development of a Road Map for the Creative Industries, identified the need to establish an ongoing dialogue with the film and audiovisual industry. They began collecting diverse views from a Trust Group representing the entire value chain, to perform together a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of the sector and make proposals and public policy recommendations to give a definite boost to the industry, in front of the challenges posed by the digital age. The result of that input and
Negocios Report | Negocios ProMéxico
a three-year long Mexican and international industry analysis is reflected in the National Strategy for Film and Audiovisual Industry, which will be presented to Mexico’s filmmaking community in the fall of 2013. The document –to be published in both digital and printed format– will show the current state of the industry. It will include a diagnosis and concrete proposals for an action plan to transform the current production and business model into a virtuous circle of growth and profitability through a better industrial integration to take advantage of the opportunities brought by digital technology convergence.
This National Strategy is also a reference for the best practices of leading film industries in the world, country cases and sources of documentation of global leaders in multi-disciplinary analyses of the sector. Research on international experiences was an essential component of the document, given that the film industry is truly global, especially in the digital age. The vision is much broader that in the analogical times: It is not about local theatrical performance anymore; it is a multicultural, international, simultaneous and multiplatform industry In that regard, the National Strategy for the Film and Audiovisual Industry is a road map to a forward-thinking in-
dustry which demands its players to migrate from an analogical mind frame to a digital one; to learn and master new and fast-changing production and business models; to know and embrace the opportunities of the digital production and distribution environments and to join multidisciplinary forces to make a global export-driven difference in mass or niche markets. In short, the document is designed to tackle domestic and international challenges and build upon its strengths, a new pathway to a future of consolidated leadership. N *Sector Advisor, Business Intelligence Unit (UIN), ProMéxico.
Negocios ProMéxico | Guest Opinion
courtesy of quórum
Creative Intelligence: Design as an Agent for Change in Mexico Design is booming. Driven by a group of leading designers, the government, the private sector and academia, the perception of the discipline is shifting, from the added value delivered at a product or business level, to improvements on quality of life, education and the environment to society as a whole. by luis herrera rojas*
The history of design in Mexico was ignited by the 1968 Olympics that took place in the country. That was followed in the 1980s by a wave of professionalization headed by organizations such as Quórum and the School of Industrial and Graphic Designers of Mexico (CODIGRAM), while the third wave of the Mexican design boom started about four or five years ago with a number of strategic-based projects focused on design policies, educational models and sustainable trends, led by a number of designers across the country. For some disciplines of design, this journey has seen an evolution to new levels of sophistication, having the project Destination: Mexico as a case in point. A joint initiative between the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Ministry of Economy (SE), ProMéxico and the Centro design school, it involved placing a selection of Mexican-designed products in the museum’s shops for over a month to promote the country’s perspective on design. The project’s success was reflected by the shift in perception of Mexican design and culture –as expressed by hundreds of visitors– and even through the online store, which sold out within a few days of the project opening. Towards a Design Culture Claiming that design is everywhere is not the same as having a strong design culture. For that to exist, government, private sector and academic professionals need to prove the value of design and its benefits to people’s quality of life. That may be achieved through large-scale projects that offer high functional and aesthetic value at low cost, such as the one developed by Swedish-Dutch company IKEA, or through strategic design projects involving a real democratization of design, that go beyond lifestyle to provide tangible benefits in everyday life to a wider population, such as the government-led program Ver Bien para Aprender Mejor (See Better to Learn Better). To that end, Quórum, Mexico’s Design Council has outlined a design ecosystem consisting of six habitats: government, academia, the private sector, society, the professional design community and the media. Their actions must be synchronized in order to create the conditions, attitudes, programs and results
that will help to provide tangible benefits to the economy, the environment and society at large. To achieve that, Quórum is urging the design community and other productive sectors to see –and use design– not only as a set of skills but as a mindset focused on new ways to solve old problems. Examples of government involvement in design include early developments on funding programs, design policies and Integrated and Sustainable Urban Developments (DUIS) such as the showcasing of Puebla as a design capital, Guadalajara as a multimedia regional hub or Querétaro as a city focused on the promotion of creative industries. Strategic-designed initiatives impacting on people’s welfare include projects such as Ciudad Mural by Colectivo Tomate,
Guest Opinion | Negocios ProMéxico
their growth– by hiring talented design artists or consultants who can provide guidance and consulting in areas such as innovation and strategic design, offering world class experience with a regional perspective at a local price. In terms of business, Mexican designers have helped a number of foreign companies to successfully expand into niche markets ranging from premium brands, such as frozen yogurt or urban fashion clothing to mass market products. That means that those whose business models are based on margin or volume can benefit from the experience of local consultants to design, build and try out prototypes or pilot businesses tapping into local talent and experts. Other opportunities can also be found in Mexico for companies interested in developing Shared Value Creation business models, which are aimed at impacting positively on the welfare of the local community while generating economic value for the corporation. Such is the case of projects like Sala Uno, which is determined to eradicate eye cataracts for disadvantaged people with excellent results in terms of quality of life improvement and business growth.
which focuses on the renewal of the social fabric in certain neighborhoods. The strategy is complex; however, the tactics are fairly simple as they involve only a dozen paint cans and the will of hybrid teams formed out of locals and artists to transform these so called red zones into places for young people and families to meet and relax. For these types of projects, design is used as part of the business model to change behaviors, attitudes and even industries, fostering growth and generating employment for partners, allies and suppliers alike. Design Opportunities Mexico offers a wide range of opportunities for foreign companies looking to venture into the national market –or boost
The Future Mexico’s future will become more promising when the six habitats of Quórum’s design ecosystem align in terms of objectives and resource allocation. That will allow the country to use design as creative intelligence to build smarter cities, lifestyle solutions, educational systems and products that could solve everyday problems. On the other hand, the democratization of design should also become an integral part of the national agenda to promote its use at a policy level so that it is accessible to everyone. Putting these ideas into practice is an ambitious challenge that will require boundary-breaking partnerships, determination and a focus on clear priorities. To that end, several design schools such as Centro, Anáhuac Norte and Centro de Estudios Superiores de Diseño de Monterrey (CEDIM) are embracing that vision through programs aimed at giving students a broader perspective based on business, innovation and sustainability skills. The challenge for design educators is to generate professionals trained simultaneously in problem solving and creativity. If that is pushed forward, design will precipitate a positive change in public perception and encourage the private sector to invest in original projects that will raise the quality of people’s lives, leading towards a new sense of social responsibility. The future of design in Mexico is bright, due to the trust that many companies, schools and institutions have put on the use of design as a strategic bridge between the productive sectors of the country: a strategic vehicle to tell the story of a new Mexico to the world and a strategic tool to solve the key challenges of the nation. When that reality becomes operational, the country will be recognized in the eyes of the world as a forward-thinking culture that is ready to be an agent for change in as many industries as possible. N *President of Quórum, the Mexican Design Council and partner at MBLM, an international brand consultancy agency.
Negocios ProMéxico | Mexico’s Partner
courtesy of universidad de las californias internacional
A University Out of a Movie Having a good curriculum has never been enough for the managers of a film school in Tijuana. For them, being on the set of major productions is nothing short of fundamental.
by omar magaña
Almost any university student knows the importance of participating in real production processes before graduating, especially if the experience involves heavy responsibilities coordinated by the best in the field. For five years, one of the basic goals of the film studies program at the Universidad de las Californias Internacional (UDCI), operating in Tijuana for the last 20 years, has been to have students participate in medium and big budget film
productions made along the border. Generally, they are Hollywood productions that are filmed close to Tijuana to make use of natural sea and land settings, the purpose built studios and the specialized human capital that has been formed in the city over the last decade. The same filmmakers that brought the academic plan into the University’s menu of programs in 2008, have launched a solid and assertive program of agreements with governments, producers, film studios, film equipment rental companies and universities, to give students
the necessary tools to train in a profession that requires both enormous creativity and knowledge of technical, legal and financial guidelines. “We offer the best connections. If you are accepted into the school, you will be involved in a real production,” says René Castillo, who coordinates the UDCI’s film program. The eight first-generation graduates of the program and current students have participated in feature length films and television series, such as Little Boy, by Alejandro Monteverde; Americano, by
Mathieu Demy; Benjamin Troubles, by Kai Ephron; The Bridge, by Elwood Reid and Meredith Stiehm; Knight of Cups, by Terrence Malick; Foreverland, by Max McGuire; Workers, by Pepe Valle; Ghosts of the Pacific, by Brian Falk; Ahí va el diablo, by Adrián García Bogliano; Miele, by Valeria Golino; Volando bajo, by Beto Gómez and Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by Michael Apted. That is possible –and Castillo emphasizes this as one of the school’s main advantages over other film faculties in Mexico–
Mexico’s Partner | Negocios ProMéxico
While the program gives significant weight to theoretical training with a focus on screenplay, production and business, Castillo and his academic partners believe that it is crucial, even natural, that students who have already completed their fifth term get hands-on practice, especially in a region where documentaries and commercial and film productions with significant budgets are being made throughout the year. thanks to our border location, where students can travel freely between Tijuana and Los Angeles, where they can get, for example, equipment from Hollywood Rentals, one of the largest suppliers in the US, at no cost thanks to an agreement with UDCI. Another pact with Baja Studios –the set for James Cameron’s Titanic in the late 1990s– ensures that their doors will always be open to students working on practical assignments during the program. Several other good links between the UDCI’s film school and universities such as Jinan in Guangzhou (Guangdong, China), Oviedo (Spain), Cienfuegos (Cuba), Católica de Honduras, Francisco de Paula Santander Ocaña (Colombia) and the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión de San Antonio de los Baños (Cuba) are opening up new opportunities for academic exchange for students. The UDCI is about to consolidate a plan with Jinan University for 10 film students to travel to China and 10 Chinese students to visit Tijuana to develop a film project in which each culture will portray the other. While the program gives significant weight to theoretical training with a focus on screenplay, production
and business –the basis of the 63 courses that students must complete during nine four-month terms (three years)– Castillo and his academic partners believe that it is crucial, even natural, that students who have already completed their fifth term get hands-on practice, especially in a region where documentaries and commercial and film productions with significant budgets are being made throughout the year. Continuous Practice The school can guarantee that new students will have the same, if not more, opportunities than earlier generations. The UDCI is building its own film set in its Santa Fe campus, close to the beaches of Tijuana and a post production room in another facility. Furthermore, students and faculty will be involved in the production of a feature film in the Guadalupe Valley, based on the screenplay of one of their students, and another couple of projects from the US and Argentina. In addition, they are to coordinate the Corto Creativo festival that the UDCI has been holding for 10 years, and which marked the beginning of the program, and prepare their participation in
the Tijuana Innovadora 2014 exhibition, where they will be in charge of the film section, as they were in 2012. A Boost to the Industry from Academia Several initiatives by the UDCI’s film school, state and local governments as well as the private sector are seeking to recover the momentum of investments in film productions experienced along the Mexico-US border after Titanic and the establishment of Baja Studios. “When large production companies decide to come to Tijuana, Rosarito or Mexicali,” explains Castillo, “the image of the region improves around the world and that translates into economic benefits for people in the area and professional opportunities for new film graduates.” The UDCI’s film school was very active in the consultation and analysis process of the Law for the Promotion, Support and Development of the Film and Audiovisual Industry of the State of Baja California, which was published in the Official Gazette of the Baja California State Government on September 20, 2010. Furthermore, professors of the program are on the Film Consultation Board of Baja California and are conducting
an investigation requested by the State Film Commission, which is part of the state Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR), aimed at showing whether the economic impact of the film industry in the region is equal to or higher than in other areas, such as medical tourism. The University was also involved in an investigation on the effects of the Free Trade Agreement on the Mexican film industry, led by a team of researchers from Penn State’s Center for Global Studies, coordinated by Dr. Sophia A. McClennen. The collaboration paid off, to the point where UDCI professors have presented their experiences and findings in Pennsylvania on the fervor for film that has erupted along the Mexico-US border in the last decade. Meanwhile, Penn State professors could join the list of guest lecturers who visit the University from other institutions in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Mexico City. According to Castillo, Tijuana has everything it takes to build a Vancouverstyle film complex –a city that became a prime destination for productions and formed, from that, the human capital required to advance projects with a local seal. N www.udc.com.mx
Negocios ProMéxico | Mexico’s Partner
Boxel: Exporting Quality Creativity This Tijuana-based company has a perfect understanding of what is needed to be successful in an increasingly global market in which Mexico has huge opportunities: creativity. by omar magaña
The visual content firm Boxel has set itself a goal that is an example to every new creative endeavor in Mexico: to comply with international quality standards in terms of processes, product delivery and products themselves. Because for ideas, concepts and anything else resulting from creative work to set in motion the virtuous cycle that creates industry, moves capital and generates jobs, quality is of the essence. Andrés Reyes, founder and CEO of Boxel, believes that idea has been the key to
making his company one of the main suppliers to the US entertainment industry from Tijuana, Baja California. Boxel has its own competitive advantages over other firms in Mexico that produce latest-generation visual content –cartoons, feature films or 3D images for video games– like its closeness to the world’s largest supply and demand center, the bilingualism of its human capital and the deep cultural exchange that takes place along the border. But at the end of the day, the company’s success has been pos-
sible thanks to the eagerness of Reyes and his partners –who embarked on this adventure in 1998– to match their way of doing things with the leading economies of this sector. “The difference between the US and Mexico does not lie in the ability to do things but in the ability to guarantee quality,” believes Reyes. Having solved this, Boxel has been able to position itself as a reliable and profitable option for US corporations that sign agreements with studios located on the other side of the world in an effort to lower production costs. That is how Boxel has written its own outstanding history of organic growth and consecutive successes. Reyes started out as a freelancer, taking jobs that required knowledge on interactive presentation and web page development. His work earned him an excellent reputation in the region; so much so that, in
courtesy of boxel
time, he had to partner up with his brother, a programmer and a designer to bear the work load. In 2006 there were eight people working in the company. At some point, the partners understood that they could export their products, while firms on the other side of the border saw an excellent ally in this group of entrepreneurs. “Someone in San Diego realized that people in Tijuana were doing things with the same quality as in the US but at lower costs,” explains Reyes. Boxel is currently a studio with its own facilities, infrastructure and a workforce of 27 people. The Advantage of Talent Training Boxel’s brand comprises two large areas: a studio that offers visual solutions for export and a training and specialization center for young talent with basic preparation
Mexico’s Partner | Negocios ProMéxico
in design, communications, marketing, architecture, plastic arts and film, among other disciplines. The areas are mutually supportive. Boxel Workshops, the company’s training center, uses the studios’ technology to find, first-hand, people with creativity and training in the processes they need to ensure a privileged spot in the industry. Between 2006 and 2013, 400 young people have come through Boxel’s doors. Some of them become part of the firm’s team after graduating, either temporarily or permanently, while others establish their own companies elsewhere in the country or join large projects abroad. “Human resources are extremely important in this industry. You have to really know who you will be working with because you often
get involved in long projects,” says Reyes. Thus, Boxel Workshops achieves two goals simultaneously: improving the academic training of future creative professionals and increasing the chances to renew its workforce or grow as new orders come in. “I am positive that this will be the industry that will fight unemployment in Mexico and strengthen the country’s social relations with the world. It is a key sector for the global economy,” affirms Reyes. The Challenges India, the Philippines, Romania, China and Korea are competing to get the largest slice of a market pie valued at 170 million usd, according to Reyes’ estimates. Large studios in the US have found opportunities in these countries to lower
production costs, by developing their infrastructure and human capital for specific projects. According to Reyes, some studios have opted to send specialized staff to these nations to train and oversee the work instead of financing large workforces in their own studios. He adds that many of them have discovered that is not always a viable option because the physical distance from the parent firm complicates reviewing and correcting processes, therefore extending the delivery times of the projects. This is exactly where Boxel comes in: as the best solution for US production companies. “With us, projects are authorized at the second review. And if there is a problem, we can be with our clients and solve it personally. We are two hours away from Los Angeles,” he boasts.
He adds that the cost of living in Mexico is lower than in the US, reducing payroll numbers while guaranteeing respectable salaries for Mexican creative professionals. “Our work might not be 80% cheaper than India’s but it can still be 40% lower [than in the US] and my colleagues make a good living,” says Reyes. He concludes by saying that the country has everything to become the strategic collaborator to the US and Canada in this sector. He believes governments are analyzing and understanding the importance of the industry and are beginning to understand that investments must be allocated to training and certifying talent to make Mexico the leading player, the one that produces better work, in less time and at more competitive costs. N www.boxelinteractive.com
Negocios ProMéxico | Mexico’s Partner
Astrolol Conquers Space in iTunes In less than two weeks, Skyport, a video game created by the Mexican firm Astrolol, became a favorite among Apple iTunes users, with over 25,000 downloads.
“The game focuses on a micro transaction model; players earn Aircoins they can invest to expand their airport and collect more aircraft. It is very simple but for us, Skyport has achieved one of its main goals, since it got us our first investor” says Casanova.
The company maintained itself with its own limited resources during Astrolol’s first takeoff in 2012. Two graphic artists, one designer and Casanova were all that was needed for Skyport to be launched into the Appstore in 2013.
by antonio vázquez
In early July 2013, Astrolol, a Mexican mobile device entertainment company, launched its video game Skyport on iTunes, which in less than three weeks has been valued at 364,230 usd, more than double the initial investment, by SensorTower. That is a goal that no other Mexican IP has achieved in the Apple iTunes AppStore. The game has been given a four star average on the five star rating that iTunes customers can award an application. Astrolol is a Mexican business created in 2012. While still very young, the company is supported by the experience of its CEO, Francisco Casanova Parra, who for four years led Digital Chocolate Mexico, an international mobile device game firm founded in 2003, with offices in the US, Spain, Finland and India. “Digital Chocolate began a process of optimizing resources and shut its branch in Mexico. Before it closed, I began working on a new project, like Astrolol, and that is how Skyport was conceived,” recalls Casanova. Skyport is a Farmvilletype game –that became famous on Facebook– in which players collect airplanes, send them around the world, invest money and purchase new planes until completing a fleet with different aircraft.
Mexico’s Partner | Negocios ProMéxico
“Our investor is from Monterrey but instead of diving into Skyport we went on to create a new project relevant to what players want right now” adds Casanova. Having worked at Digital Chocolate –Trip Hawkins’ business, who built Electronic Arts,
3DO, worked on the famous franchise Madden and designed games such as Rollercoaster Rush 3D, Beach Mini Golf or Kings & Warlords– gave this young entrepreneur the right set of tools to launch Astrolol. Having studied in the Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA)
and the Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) –two of the leading private education institutions in Mexico– Francisco Casanova founded Digital Chocolate in Mexico in 2009. Since then and until 2012, he led several game projects for iTunes and other platforms such as Android, Facebook, Google Games, Spill and so on. The difference between Astrolol and other companies is the knowledge behind it, claims Casanova. “Being part of Digital Chocolate opened new doors for us internationally. But the work system we are implementing is different from other places. We offer our collaborators the chance to earn more money within the company. We want a deep commitment from every person and in our six months as a new business, we offer consulting in addition to game projects, helping the firm and its employees to grow,” he asserts. Casanova explains that Astrolol’s confidence in its video game apps for iTunes lies in the innovation in gameplay and relevant business models that are of interest to Apple users. “Every company does it; we look for our own market niche, especially to create empathy with large brands. It’s part of our growth strategy,” says Casanova. After Skyport, the firm will launch Monster Pop Diary, which will closely resemble Candy Crush –a famous mobile social game. In the future, Astrolol plans to create more projects that attract investors and continue, via outsourcing, to offer consulting services to companies that design apps for Apple, with strong brands that people love and can have fun with. N www.astrolol.com
Negocios ProMéxico | Mexico’s Partner
Gran Tiki Games: for the Best Agreements The conquest of interactive televisions through video games is brewing in western Mexico. Gran Tiki Games is part of the new digital entertainment trend and it is surging forward. by omar magaña
Gran Tiki Games is a Mexican startup with five years of experience. During that time, it has focused on exporting its video games using the platforms of the largest video game distributors in the world.
This company with global aspirations is located in Guadalajara, Jalisco, where there has been an important boom in information technology and entertainment in recent years. Fifteen employees work in its head office but a large part of
its production is done through networking, the in-vogue collaboration system that enables it to integrate the creativity and know-how of some 10 experts that join the company’s video game creation process from the US, Canada and Spain. The firm, headed by Iván Díaz de León, began developing video games with a project on Mexican golfer Lorena Ochoa for the Nintendo Wii, which involved some fifty Mexican and Dutch developers. Today, Gran Tiki Games products have found an outlet that the industry would not have contemplated five years ago: smart televisions. The company has a contract with Samsung to create over 40 video games in Spanish, English and Portuguese.
“In these five years, the studio has had the chance to learn about several niches and business opportunities. It is important to follow, understand and develop the trends,” says Díaz de León. He explains that when the business began, gaming companies believed that consoles would reign but now we know that video games have huge chances of reaching the markets through mobile phones, tablets and digital entertainment televisions. Gran Tiki Games has followed closely the path of global trends and has positioned its products on Facebook, Apple and Androidbased devices, PlayStation Vita and now Samsung’s smart televisions. According to the
Mexico’s Partner | Negocios ProMéxico
firm’s CEO, its strategy was to review and learn how business opportunities were created in international markets, especially through the examples of countries such as Canada, Germany, the US, Sweden, the Netherlands and Spain, where some companies have more than 20 years of experience. The next steps in this sector-recognition dynamic
into the US, Brazil and German markets and to do so it intends to make contact at every show with the largest content distributors –such as Electronic Arts and Apple–, medium-sized companies that establish work agreements via outsourcing and companies committed to team work, mainly from Spain, Holland and Germany that
“Our added value [as a Mexican industry compared to other countries] is the existing creativity and talent. The third point we need is marketing and distribution. It is one of the niches we need to work on,” he explains. In addition, Mexico has federal and state funds to launch this type of firm, although companies like Gran
Gran Tiki Games has followed closely the path of global trends and has positioned its products on Facebook, Apple and Android-based devices, PlayStation Vita and now Samsung’s smart televisions. were training, certification, networking, securing their first important project –Nintendo in this case– to catapult them and, more recently, exhibiting in international shows to introduce themselves to potential customers. “We ventured into Nintendo’s ecosystem and onto platforms that did not exist in Mexico. They saw the country as a consumer zone instead of a development zone. We were a milestone,” boasts Díaz de León. International Showcase Iván Díaz de León, who is also head of the Mexican Federation for the Development of the Video Game Industry (mexicodevgames.org), believes that the international shows that his business has attended with ProMéxico’s support are the ideal venue for meeting customers that will take their products to new markets. He explains that Gran Tiki Games wants to venture
have investments for this type of project. “For a Mexican firm to be hired by a foreign one, there must be certain levels of quality, commitment, responsibility and professionalism,” states Díaz de León. Shared Achievements Díaz de León’s position in the Mexican Federation for the Development of the Video Game Industry makes him an agreement manager for the sector. “I see opportunities in the industry for Mexican companies to benefit and further their business,” he says. According to his numbers, there are currently more than 80 video game developers in Mexico, although there are some other groups of creative developers that are not constituted as companies (Sociedad Anónima or S.A.). Together, and with the support of several universities, these businesses are creating the human capital required to grow the sector in Mexico.
Tiki Games strive to maintain their operations through third party sales and attracting private investors’ capital. “Some people see the potential of the video game industry. The world’s market is worth 67 billion usd,” he reveals. Gran Tiki Games –which has created games such as Candy Crew, an adventure with extraterrestrials and candies; Ninja Kisu, a reaction game; ED Zombie, a tower defense game; Tiki Idol, a development for Facebook in which a toy company from North Carolina participated, and other games with various themes– has seen itself as a sustainable firm since day one. “Every company needs to work hard. Corporations that have been immensely successful have done so in 10 years or more. In any case, I believe it is important to keep one’s feet on the ground and be professional in any enterprise,” concludes Díaz de León. N www.grantikigames.com
Negocios ProMéxico | Mexico’s Partner
Motion Control: a Transmedia Company For over two decades, Motion Control has evolved harmoniously alongside technological change. The Mexican firm offers products and services for the film world to video games for mobile devices. by antonio vázquez
Roberto Rochin, CEO of Motion Control, defines the company as a transmedia business able to contribute technological products and services for film, television, mobile devices and culture. “We are a transmedia company: we create and develop products with multiple technologies, such as games and multi-platform ap-
plications, commercials, films and interactive facilities for museums,” he explains. Twenty years after the firm was created, Rochin has achieved every one of his goals. Twenty five years ago, before he opened his business, Rochin submerged himself in the historical and anthropological research of
the ball game played by MesoAmerican cultures in what is now Mexico. A quarter of a century later, Motion Control has brought to Apple touch-screen mobiles the Pok ta pok app (www.poktapokgames.com), which recreates the ball game played by civilizations such as the Mayas, Aztecs and Olmecs thousands of years ago. “Our company is deeply rooted in Mexican culture and its sights are set on new technology innovations. Our creations like Pok ta pok, which is available for iOS and in the process of migrating to a mobile multi-platform, in addition to a version of Kinect and a multiplayer PC, is the only game that recreates the original Mexican ball game
courtesy of motion control
from over 3,000 years ago,” he clarifies. With colorful and finely detailed graphs, Pok ta pok is the clear technological image of the ancient Pre-Hispanic game. Its 11 characters have names like Cuauhtémoc, Xóchitl and Tláloc, which allude to personas and gods of the ancient Meso-American cultures. Pok ta pok –“jump, leap, jump” in Mayan– is Roberto Rochin’s life’s work. Twenty five years ago he made a film of the ball game, whose impact has lasted until now. “I made that movie 25 years ago, and I always dreamed of adapting it to an interactive game. Many have tried to create an app or a video game of the ancient ball game but couldn’t get them published,” he boasts. Rochin also claims that he “led all the research on the ball game, until I made it into a fun and attractive video game that maintains the cultural essence of Mexico. The challenge was to make Pok ta pok a modern and fun game that also represented Mexico: a ball game as universal as tennis itself.” Rochin points out that Pok ta pok was created and developed by Mexican engineers and artists at Locomocion3d, Motion Control’s video game division. The only foreign contribution was from a group of advisors that helped perfect the game play –which is what makes a game technologically fun to play and easy to grasp. For the businessman, Mexico’s geographic location is an advantage for companies that create technological products for the film and video game industry. “The monitoring and contact we have with foreign companies that hire our services is fluent and agile. We
Mexico’s Partner | Negocios ProMéxico
have always been convinced of the talent and resources in Mexico. Our business has the infrastructure required by any modern studio, to attract producers from the US and the rest of the continent,” he states. In the film world, Motion Control has an outstanding reputation. Motion control services –computer-controlled camera movements– offered by the company have been hired for films such as Frida, with Mexican actress Salma Hayek, Apocalypto, directed by Mel Gibson, and The Arrival, with actor Charlie Sheen. With an academic background in film schools in Los Angeles, Roberto Rochin has
achieved what few people in the industry have: to expand the horizons of a corporation that today offers film, commercial production, spots and music videos, video game development and museum infrastructure services. “We are working to concentrate everything in a virtual set that serves to make visual effects and images with motion control, with new robots and, in that way, combine all the technology we have,” says Rochin, who believes that most of Motion Control’s success stems from its roots in Mexican culture and close relationships with other companies in the US, France and Argentina.
With colorful and finely detailed graphs, Pok ta pok is the clear technological image of the ancient Pre-Hispanic game. Its 11 characters have names like Cuauhtémoc, Xóchitl and Tláloc, which allude to personas and gods of the ancient MesoAmerican cultures.
“The perspective for the sector in Mexico is extremely good. Technology is part of the life of any consumer seeking entertainment and utility tools and Mexico is prepared to offer just that,” concludes Rochin. N www.motioncontrol.com.mx
Negocios ProMéxico | Mexico’s Partner
courtesy of don porfirio
Don Porfirio: International Television Animation from Mexico Established only three years ago, this Mexican studio annually produces television animation projects for international audiences in the US and Canada.
by antonio vázquez
Whenever you tune into a program on channels such as ESPN, NBC Sports, CBC Sports, MLB Network or BBC Entertainment, you enter the world of Don Porfirio, a Mexican studio that specializes in animation, motion graphics and broadcast design for television. Approximately 40% of the company’s annual production –which is located in the city of Mérida, in the state of Yucatán– is developed for international audiences, mainly in the US and Canada. Don Porfirio was created in 2010 by its now CEO Roberto Puig, who had just graduated as a graphic designer and decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in visual effects in Toronto, Canada. In 2003, after finishing his postgraduate studies, he began working for Big Studios, a globally renowned motion graphics firm. For over six years he absorbed as much knowledge as possible from one of the global companies that has left its mark in television graphics, such as those that appear during the National Football League’s (NFL) Monday Night Football.
“For several years I worked on projects for many renowned customers such as ABC, ESPN, the Super Bowl, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) image, other things for the NFL, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Major League Baseball (MLB) Network’s image. I was involved in many of these assignments and led many others,” says Puig. Around 2009, after gaining more maturity and experience in television animation, Puig decided to return to Mexico. The new setting for Don Porfirio would be the city of Mérida, in an effort to drive the decentralization of the industry in Mexico. “One of my main interests in coming back was to support the industry in other places, to help decentralize things; many cities, such as Guadalajara and Mérida, are booming. Even so, nowadays, physical location is different. We are living proof of that because we manage projects for international markets, so we have business meetings through Skype or other digital media. We never actually physically meet many of our customers,” explains Puig.
Mexico’s Partner | Negocios ProMéxico
Puig’s experience at Big Studios enabled him to establish commercial relations with studios in North America. “Our former employers are now our customers or collaborators. They send us many of their projects and they outsource to us because they are confident that we will develop them well, from creation,” he asserts. Puig explains that this is the ideal time for companies that work on motion graphics and broadcast design to establish their business in Mexico. Compared to almost 13 years ago, when he graduated from university, today’s graduates from specialized Mexican education institutions are both talented and capable of satisfying the demands of the global market. “There used to be no education options or companies where you could learn and apply animation. Today, many universities focus on animation –we frequently work with students from cities such as Puebla and Guadalajara– and we see a new wave of Mexican animators and designers,” states Puig. “We have a broader view of the animation market in Mexico. Other countries look for talent in both the creative and technical areas and that opens many opportunities because it is an unexplored market (...) There is a significant amount of investment abroad, there are channels and programs that redesign their image, television networks that want to be on a par with others such as ESPN. We want to introduce all that and more in Mexico, in film productions and broadcast design,” he adds.
With only three years, eight employees and close to 20 projects a year, Don Porfirio is one of the top 10 animation studios in Mexico. What is more, the local specialized press has ranked it among the 100 most notable national creative projects. “In recent months we have completed some important projects. For instance, we did the graphic package for Top Gear’s Engine Block show, by BBC Entertainment, and we also did some work for the NFL’s Monday Night Football, among others,” boasts Puig, who adds that one of the advantages of being an animation company operating from Mexico is that it offers the level of quality demanded by the international market, at a much lower cost. Don Porfirio’s staff works from a commercial relations office in Mexico City, a creative office in Mérida and spends from one to two months on each project. “It’s been interesting to see how the borders have disappeared and how customers trust us even if we are far away,” says Puig. According to Don Porfirio’s CEO, the firm plans to grow in both infrastructure and professional personnel in the future. “We will start out with a considerable investment strategy to train people working in the studio. We want to penetrate other fields such as character animation, television series, film and video games and we want to have the infrastructure and knowledge to apply them to new products for other markets,” he concludes. N donporfirio.tv
Negocios ProMéxico | Mexico’s Partner
The Challenge of Telling a Good Story Machete Producciones was established in 2008 and has since produced four films and received several awards at Cannes. by karla garduño
Machete Producciones’ raison d’etre is the search for stories. While it may seem like stating the obvious for a film production company, it is the real goal it has managed to achieve project after project: to tell stories that are different, daring and “worth remembering.” Since its creation in 2008, the production firm, formed by Edher Campos and Luis Salinas, has pushed steadily along a path that has led them to produce four films, receive two awards at the Cannes Film Festival and raised their name to a high standard. Machete was created by Campos and Salinas and was named after a tool that evokes protest, defense and also hard work. The Startup: Año Bisiesto “The time came when we asked ourselves why we were making films that we didn’t like, that were not ours, that we got premiered but all our efforts were not channeled into something we really wanted to do,” remembers Campos. The script for Año Bisiesto was a good reason to launch Machete Producciones. It was a profound story of loneliness that dug deep into a sadomasochistic relationship and posed an interesting challenge for these rookie producers. Furthermore, it was the film’s director and screenwriter Michael Rowe’s first work. Getting the resources was far from easy, according to Campos, but the project finally moved forward with the help
of an interdisciplinary group of young people and experienced producers. “That is always a strategy for getting good feedback,” says the producer. The film was finished in 2009 and was selected for the Cannes Festival Directors’ Fortnight in 2010. It was received well by critics and it won the Caméra d’Or, the award to the best opera prima by a director. It was the first time that a film made in Mexico had received the accolade. “It is a universal story that could happen anywhere. What is interesting, and the challenge in telling it, is that it all happens inside an apartment. People can identify with the story and not necessarily because they have been through it. The topic of loneliness touches very sensitive fibers,” explains Campos.
courtesy of machete producciones
prima that deals with the Electra complex in a very delicate way, according to Campos. Cecilia Suárez stars as a woman who discovers, after her father’s death, that he was the person who complemented her. “It is a very risky proposal and, once again, funding it was quite difficult. But we worked closely with Grupo Modelo and they became interested in the film. We created a great synergy with them and we were surprised that they would be interested in a project with an independent proposal,” explains Campos. Nos Vemos Papá was first shown at the Morelia Film Festival in 2012. It then went to premiere at the Karlovy Vary festival in the Czech Republic, where it was the only Latin American film that formed part
A Bet on Operas Primas With Año Bisiesto, Machete set high goals. It was a wise move for the production company. The film was sold in over 30 countries and in Mexico it played in commercial theaters with only 12 copies and was seen by close to 50,000 spectators –unlike large productions that screen up to 200 copies. “The Mexican film market is very uncertain. Mexican audiences are very demanding but you never know what can attract or interest them,” reflects Campos. After returning from Cannes, Machete began its second production, Nos Vemos Papá, Lucía Carreras’ opera
Mexico’s Partner | Negocios ProMéxico
of the official selection. The film opened in theaters early in 2013 and has been in festivals in Israel, Spain, Holland and India. “That is where you discover that every film has its own cycle, its own circuit and its own audience,” affirms Campos.
La Jaula de Oro: A Huge Challenge When Año Bisiesto was presented in Cannes, the producers met Diego Quemada-Díez, a Spaniard living in Mexico who showed them his project La Jaula de Oro, a testimonial of South American immigrants who go to the US; another opera prima and another interesting story for Machete. They partnered up with another producer, Inna Payán, who risked traveling from Guatemala to Wyoming by train
to make the film that included close to 700 immigrants and so-called non-actors –people who are not strangers to the creative world but who are not professional actors. Machete’s new production was also selected at Cannes in 2013, as part of Un Certain Regard, where it obtained the Italian critics award and the French press award. It also received the best cast ensemble award from the official selection. La Jaula de Oro will be released in five European countries by the end of 2013 and has currently been selected for over 15 international film festivals. And then, a Romantic Comedy And while all is happening, the firm is in the postproduction
phase of its fourth project, a coproduction with the Czech Republic. When Nos Vemos Papá was screened at the Karlovy Vary festival, some Czech producers presented Machete with a completely different project: a romantic comedy that takes place during Christmas. The possibility of expanding the horizon of such a distant market –Central European– was, in itself, a good reason to take on the challenge. Plus, they had the opportunity of shooting in Prague with two Mexican actresses, Dolores Heredia and Aisslinn Derbez, starring in the film. “It is a light comedy that also has a strong dramatic edge. It is about a Mexican family that goes to Prague because the father is a Czech who left his country 30 years ago,” reveals Campos, excited at the idea of exploring a new genre. Little Baby Jesus, Czech director Lenka Kny’s second film, is expected to be a huge success in commercial theaters. Campos explains that it will all depend on the publicity, convinced of the need for a media strategy to ensure a successful film. “It is important to let people know that a film exists because often, when people find out, the film is no longer playing. I have learned that you need at least three months of campaigning for people to discover that a Mexican movie is going to open.” Thanks to distribution companies that have conquered spaces for Mexican film, and the talent of many young creators, Mexico’s film industry is doing well. “The industry is in a sweet spot. Mexican films have resurfaced and we must not lose the box office; we must offer audiences a wide variety of choices,” concludes Campos. N www.macheteproducciones.com
Negocios ProMéxico | Mexico’s Partner
The Rebirth of a Titanic Company Mexico’s border region regains its position as the ideal destination for big budget productions. Baja Studios, one of the major drivers of that dynamism, is more active than ever.
courtesy of baja studios
by omar magaña
While the bow of the Titanic, the legendary British liner, never resurfaced, Baja Studios, the locations off the coast of Baja California where director James Cameron filmed his blockbuster about the final hours of the ill-fated ship between 1996 and 1997, has once again fired up the engines after a few years at a relative standstill. The films Little Boy, by Alejandro Monteverde (Mexico-US, 2013), All is Lost, by J.C. Chandor (US, 2013) and Ghosts of the Pacific, by Brian Falk (in filming), have given a
new impulse to the studios on the international film market. “We are working with ProMéxico to find ways to improve the program [Support for High Impact Film and Audiovisual Production, or ProAV, created in 2010] and increase our competitiveness compared to other countries,” affirms Kurt Honold, one of the partners at the Baja California corporation which in 2007 acquired the 20th Century Fox studios built in 1996 for the filming of Titanic. He explains that tightening the screws of the program with
Mexico’s Partner | Negocios ProMéxico
the help of Mexican authorities and top US producers, and also with film companies from Mexico and the rest of the world, is a priority for bringing big budget productions back to the Mexico-US border; productions that guarantee a significant economic spillover in the region with every shoot, especially in the service sector. In an article published in the Los Angeles Times in January 2012, Richard Marosi, speaking about the rebirth of Baja Studios, recalled that period in the late 90s and early this century, when hotels and condos in Rosarito were fully occupied by the cast and crew of films such as Titanic (1997), Pearl Harbor (2001) and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003). The numbers revealed since Titanic was filmed show that 20th Century Fox invested approximately 50 million usd to build the studios with some of the largest water tanks for filming in the world and various sets. “Titanic put the site and the studios in the center of big movie making and other
productions followed. That brought in a lot of income from film for the area and created a series of new, well-paid jobs,” says Honold. The incentives sought by fine tuning ProAV –which initially refunded companies up to 17.5% of total shooting expenses if they amounted to at least 70 million pesos or 5.5 million usd, or post- production costs, if they reached 20 million pesos or 1.5 million usd, reduced in December 2012 from 70 to 40 million pesos or 3.1 million usd in production and from 20 to 10 million pesos or 785,000 usd in post-production– could put Baja Studios and Mexico in a good position compared to other countries like Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Great Britain and Spain, which are currently the most attractive destinations for film investment. “We have the potential to become the best but if the bottom line is not enough, it’s not enough,” states Honold, who insists that at the end of the day every film company will want to lower costs to a minimum and recover, as far as pos-
sible, the filming expenses. The location that guarantees that will be the winner. “We must be like the other countries to ensure that the deciding factor is only closeness,” he adds. A Good Recovery In spite of setbacks, Honold, who represents the group of investors that decided to reopen and support Baja California once again as the ideal destination for large film productions, is confident that the challenge is worth the effort. “We saw that, at the time, it created a very important economy in the region,” he declares. Honold reveals that during its peak, the studios created human capital specialized in production work and involved teams from around the country which, to him, can only be seen as positive. In addition, he says that the fact that companies have the confidence to bring their shoots to a city or region improves the image of those sites internationally because it speaks to their social stability.
The know-how acquired over the years, the closeness to Hollywood and lodging and food services available in the region, are some of the arguments used by Baja Studios to negotiate with large producers, beyond its state-of-theart facilities on the Mexican Pacific, where other films like Tomorrow Never Dies, MGM (1997); In Dreams, DreamWorks (1999); Deep Blue Sea, Warner Brothers (1999); Weight of Water, Phoenix Pictures (2000); Kung Pow, Fox (2002) and music videos, television series, commercials and TV movies have been made. “We are trying to create a post-production center at the studios with a few universities. We are working together with universities, who will supply the talent, ProMéxico, who will obtain the financing, and us, who will contribute the facilities. In that way, when a large production comes knocking on our door, we will be able to hire people to train in our worldclass studios,” ends Honold. N www.bajafilmstudios.com
The know-how acquired over the years, the closeness to Hollywood and lodging and food services available in the region, are some of the arguments used by Baja Studios to negotiate with large producers, beyond its state-of-the-art facilities on the Mexican Pacific. August 2013
Negocios ProMéxico | Mexico’s Partner
photos courtesy of redrum
Redrum: The Shining lights of the Mexican Film Industry Redrum is the Mexican film production company of Stacy Perskie and Adrian Grunberg. The business was born only four years ago but already it has a list of successes that is the envy of many major production firms. by graeme stewart
For many film buffs –those movie addicts that love to pore over every factoid of film making and who can be identified as those last to leave the movie theater as they study every word on the end credits– there has been a new name occurring ever more frequently in contemporary films.
That name is Redrum, a moniker that has appeared often enough on recent film credits to have Silver Screen Nerds scuttling home to google the name in a bid to discover more about this latest arrival in the labyrinthine world of film production. Redrum has not been a secret to movie fans in Mexi-
co as the rise of the company has been well documented in the pages of this magazine and many more. But to those inhabitants of the Golden Divans outside of Mexico, the success of Redrum has come as something of a surprise. Yet they shouldn’t be too surprised, for hard work and quality often leads to success and, as the saying goes, the cream always rises to the top. For that is what you get with Redrum –quality and hard work mixed with lots of fun and pride. The two men behind Redrum are Stacy Perskie and Adrian Grunberg. They have become highly rated as producers, writers and directors yet maintain a boyish enthusiasm for their careers that suggests, and I hope they don’t mind this being said, that if they hadn’t been lucky
enough to work in the film industry, they would be two of the nerdiest film buffs around. Take, for example, Perskie’s interview with Negocios in which his sheer joy at being involved in the film industry shines through. “Really, Adrian and I are just a couple of friends who like to watch and make movies, both of which we happen to be great at! We created Redrum in 2009 and we took the name from the film The Shining, a masterpiece of film making. Redrum read backwards is ‘murder’, which is what we were willing to commit to make films. Long before Redrum, we worked with a bunch of directors of unquestionable talent. Oliver Stone, Jim Jarmusch, Sam Mendes, Tony Scott, Julie Taymor, Steven Soderbergh, Alex de la Iglesia, Peter Weir, James Cam-
Mexico’s Partner | Negocios ProMéxico
“Mexico has really stepped its game up in terms of film making. In matters of talent and professionalism, it is hard to beat what is on offer in Mexico. There used to be around 15 films a year made south of the border but now we are seeing something like 60 movies a year being shot here,” says Perskie.
eron... We’re sure they also brag about having worked with us!” says Perskie. “The important thing is that the experience of working with so many movie giants drove our necessity to tell our own stories. Necessity, yes. That which is impossible to evade, miss or resist. That, and with Redrum, in 2010 we shot our first feature film. We both wrote Get the Gringo together with Mel Gibson, who is a really cool person. Adrian directed it and I produced it. It cost 20 million usd but it looks like 60 million. And we proudly recruited a bunch of Mexican talent both behind the camera as well as in front of it. It was shot in Mexico City and in Veracruz. If you haven’t seen it, you need to check it out. We loved doing it, it gave us so much creative freedom,” he continues. “We later produced The Boy Who Smells Like Fish.
No, it’s not a joke. That’s the real name. With this –which hits theaters September 13, 2013– we accomplished filming the first co-production between Mexico and Canada of a fiction feature film. Cool, right? This one cost 5 million usd and it looks like it cost 15 million. We also have a science fiction movie called Elysium, starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Diego Luna, coming out on August 9, 2013. I co-produced it and ran the Mexican side of the film, all through Redrum. We now have a couple of other projects in the pipeline. I can’t say anything about them yet because of confidentiality clauses but we are excited, to say the least! We are also creating a business plan that will allow us to grow significantly. We have created good foundations and we want to build on that,” Perskie adds.
Perskie and Grunberg have a close relationship with actor/director/writer Mel Gibson, having first met him while working together on Apocalypto (2006). Gibson has been fighting his own well publicized personal demons for several years but Perskie has nothing but praise for his sometime collaborator. “I think he’s doing really well. I haven’t spoken to him for a while, several months or so, but mutual friends tell me that he is doing really well. He has an amazing talent, a really great creative force, and despite some of the negative publicity, he is still a great guy. The movie industry can ill afford to lose a man of his great talent,” affirms Perskie. Perskie was also upbeat about the state of the Mexican film industry. “Mexico has really stepped its game up in terms of film making. In
matters of talent and professionalism, it is hard to beat what is on offer in Mexico. There used to be around 15 films a year made south of the border but now we are seeing something like 60 movies a year being shot here,” he says. “The costs of producing in Mexico are lower than elsewhere and there are incentives like the ProAV Fund and Eficine 226 that make it even more affordable to work in Mexico. Adrian and I both feel privileged at the artistic freedom working in Mexico gives us. We grew up watching movies from Mexico and from many parts of the world and we hope to spend the rest of our working days making films and reaching out to many, many people,” Perskie concludes. Film buffs from all over the globe will say “Amen” to that. N www.redrum.com.mx
Negocios ProMéxico | Special Feature
Turkey and Mexico as Priority Partners: Trade Diversification and Emerging Markets in Asia The link between Turkey and Mexico is close to celebrating its 85th anniversary and both countries are in search of new ways to promote a more dynamic relationship, and to put each other’s comparative and competitive advantages to good use. by sebastián escalante*
Mexico has taken great leaps forward in its level of foreign trade, thanks to the extensive network of free trade agreements (11 treaties) it has signed with a total of 45 countries. Nevertheless, the US remains its main trading partner: in 2012, 77.5% of all exports went to its northern neighbor.
In this context, trade diversification is a key component to reposition Mexico on the international stage. In fact, increasing the country’s share of new markets is one of the guidelines covered by the federal government’s National Development Plan 2013-2018 and represents a key strategy
aimed at consolidating Mexico’s leading role around the globe. Multiple opportunities lie open and are yet to be explored in Mexico. For instance, many analysts agree that the country should further boost its links with the Asia-Pacific region, while focusing on emerging and developing economies. In fact, various forums have drawn attention to the fact that “growing economies are neither developed nor mature” and the need to stop “turning our backs to emerging countries in Asia with growth rates of close to 10%, while in developed nations they barely reach 2%.” This scenario partly explains the importance of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which has become one of the most dynamic and significant trade negotiations worldwide. It brings together Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, as well as Mexico, Canada and the US, with a combined market of over 658 million people. At the same time, negotiations for the Pacific Alliance are underway –which is seen
Special Feature | Negocios ProMéxico
as a “groundbreaking regional free trade integration initiative with special emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region,” and comprises Colombia, Peru, Chile and Mexico. Meanwhile 16 countries, including China, the US, Turkey and South Korea, have signed up to participate as observers. Mexico is not the only actor who is aware of this new reality; in truth, strategies for trade expansion are shared by the other economies involved in the Alliance. This is the reason why a few months ago, a joint office for Pacific Alliance members was set up in Istanbul, Turkey, to promote the interests of the four nations. The trade promotion agencies (ProExport, ProChile, PromPerú and ProMéxico) are helping to run said office in order to boost exports and attract investment in different key sectors in each country. According to data provided by Mexico’s Ministry of Economy (SE) during the 8th Pacific Alliance Meeting of Foreign Ministers and International Trade Ministers, held at the end of June 2013, the joint trade office located in Istanbul had so far received enquiries from over 50 companies in the infrastructure, automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical and metallurgical sectors. Turkey and Mexico: an important bilateral link Turkey and Mexico share a specific characteristic: their unique geostrategic position. The two economies act as a bridge between markets and, historically, both have played a very important role in their respective regions. For its part, Turkey has been a valuable intermediary between the European and Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries, as well as the Caucasus region. Its trade potential in the region is outstanding. According to ProMéxico data, while Turkey’s most important trade links are with the European Union (EU), this Eurasian nation maintains important commercial interests and ties with many other countries in the region, such as Iraq, Iran and the United Arab Emirates, while China and Russia are its second and third largest trading partners. Meanwhile, Mexico neighbors the largest economy in the world and also represents a natural entry point to other markets in Latin America. Apart from
the geopolitical importance and trade interest in gaining access to new markets, both economies complement each other in many other aspects. According to data from ProMéxico’s Business Intelligence Unit (UIN), 67% of total exports from Mexico to Turkey in 2012 were in the manufacturing sector, mainly goods vehicles, cell phones and vinyl polymers. Food products (vegetable crops, live cows, wheat and meslin) represented 30% of exports to the country. Of Mexican imports from Turkey, 96% were manufactured goods, such as parts and accessories for automobiles, textile industry products, forging and die-cutting machines and clothing. Despite the fact trade between Mexico and Turkey has grown 431% between 2002 and 2012 (from 150 million to 797 million usd), this relationship could be further strengthened. The same is true for the investment made by Turkey. According to SE data, between January 1999 and December 2012, Turkish companies in Mexico reported an accumulated investment of 1.3 million usd. Undoubtedly, this situation could be boosted by implementing the necessary mechanisms to attract new investment and to underpin trade between the two countries. Thus, Mexico’s foreign affairs minister’s recent visit to Turkey aimed to expand the bilateral relationship on a number of fronts, as well as to prepare the ground for the upcoming visit of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto (anticipated for September 2013, prior to the G-20 summit). Mexico is certain to consolidate its active role on the international stage, meaning it is essential to bolster the promotional bodies and mechanisms necessary to achieve this. Mexico has huge export potential in the automotive sector: in the second quarter of 2013, the country was the fourthlargest exporter of new light vehicles. It is also the main electronics exporter in Latin America and is in the top 10 worldwide for exports of computers and cell phones. Likewise, Mexico has shown itself to be a competitive leader in exporting advanced manufacturing and high-tech products, such as aerospace and information technologies (IT) goods, which are of interest to these new markets. The opportunities for the food and agriculture and chemicals industry should also be considered.
According to data from ProMéxico’s Business Intelligence Unit (UIN), 67% of total exports from Mexico to Turkey in 2012 were in the manufacturing sector, mainly goods vehicles, cell phones and vinyl polymers. Food products (vegetable crops, live cows, wheat and meslin) represented 30% of exports to the country. Of Mexican imports from Turkey, 96% were manufactured goods, such as parts and accessories for automobiles, textile industry products, forging and diecutting machines and clothing.
Even though the link between Turkey and Mexico is close to celebrating its 85th anniversary, it is essential that this new diversification strategy is consolidated by the signing of a free trade agreement between the two countries (as well as an Agreement for the Reciprocal Development and Protection of Investment and an Agreement to Avoid Double Taxation, among others) in order to promote a more dynamic relationship. Despite Mexico’s established role as an integrated economy of increasing significance in North America, the enormous opportunities offered by mechanisms like the TPP or the Pacific Alliance should not be ignored. After all, the goal is to strengthen its regional and continental positioning for the benefit of the population. Fortunately, Mexico is already taking its first steps towards generating definite advances in its quest for trade diversification. N *Internationalist and graduate of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He also holds a Masters in Political Science from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
Negocios ProMéxico | Figures
Creative Industries: The Mexico advantage Mexico is the leading exporter of creative goods in Latin America.
According to KPMG, the country is the most competitive destination for software, video games, web and multimedia development in America.
AN INDUSTRY OUT OF A MOVIE 112
The first Digital Creative City in Latin America will be established in Guadalajara, Mexico. It is expected to become the leading Spanish-language content production center in the world.
Mexico is the world's 6th largest exporter of new media and it is one of the most competitive destinations to develop digital content in the world.
produced n films xica e M
ses lea Re
‘12 % Films produced with state support
MOVIE THEATER ATTENDANCE
In ter n
u od pr o al c tion
millions of admissions 228
Source: Mexican Institute of Cinematography (IMCINE).
Mexican-filmed entertainment is exported to more than 100 countries and is viewed by more than a billion people worldwide (2012). 48
There are 1,500 businesses in Mexico that offer production, post-production, animation, VFX and digital services. In addition, the country has ideal locations for national and international film making.
Mexico is the leading video game market in Latin America.
Mexico is the most important film market in Latin America and the second largest in the hemisphere, after the US. August 2013
The Complete Guide to the Mexican Way of Life
Nature’s Gifts to Mexico:
10 Natural Wonders Not to Be Missed
Caves, mountains, canyons, deserts and lakes… Mother Nature has been generous to Mexico and soft on the eyes of those who behold her creations. 60
The Lifestyle Briefs
The Strains of Mexico the Whole World is Singing
Mexico, a Home Away from Home
“When I dance, I am reliving my whole life” Interview with Esteban Hernández
Nelson Vargas, Poseidon of Mexico’s Swimming Pools
The Lifestyle Briefs
MUAC Gets Our Pulses Racing
random format, leading visitors past artistic representations of the human psyche like a stream of disorganized thought. Moments of passion and agitation transmute into images of collective excess: the pulse of death, delirium and raveinduced trances and euphoria that defy the logic of “normal” behavior, revealing the origin and scope of sensory overload. Pulso Alterado will be showing until January 12, 2014.
The University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC) in Mexico City brings us Pulso Alterado (Altered Pulse), an exhibition by various artists that explores the extremes of human emotion, from frenzy, rage and frustration to loss, hallucinations and ecstasy. The works, which belong to the MUAC and related collections, date from the 1970s right up to today and their authors hail from different parts of the world. In keeping with its theme, the exhibition takes a
Yawí Arte Tradicional: A Museum with Spirit
Indigenous and traditional Mexican art were finally given their very own exhibition space in Mexico City since June 2013 with the opening of the Yawí Arte Tradicional gallery in the city’s Historic Center. Intended to promote indigenous artists and the sale of their work, Yawí will stage three exhibitions a year, said its director, the anthropologist Jorge Martínez Cabrera. The gallery belongs to the Calpulli Nezahualcóyotl cooperative and will bridge the gap between quality crafts and buyers interested in one-of-a-kind works made with traditional materials and imbued with deep spiritual meaning. Marking the gallery’s debut is an exhibition of beadwork by Gregorio Barrio Montoya and his family, Huichol artists from San Andrés Cohamiata, Jalisco. The artwork of this particular ethnic community tends to reflect their worldview, depicting mythical landscapes and animals in a kaleidoscope of bright, contrasting colors. Although the materials used today are different, the techniques have remained unchanged for centuries. The gallery is on the first floor of Monte de Piedad No. 15 in Mexico City’s main square.
The Lifestyle Briefs
Exploring Mexico City’s Sights by Bike
You can now visit Mexico City’s archaeological sites and historic monuments by bicycle. “INAH by Bike, Pedaling Past Your Heritage” is a program created by the National Anthropology and History Institute (INAH) to encourage cyclists to develop meaningful relationships with the city’s archaeological and historic sites. Several routes have been marked out so cyclists can safely reach the city’s museums, archaeological sites, community centers and historic monuments. The program operates on Sundays and bicycle stations will be available at participating venues. www.inah.gob.mx
The focal point of the design is a flight of enormous steps leading down to two floors below ground level, and that double up as a space for community workshops, educational programs and the various literary events organized by the library. TEN has also projected a reading area for families, a computer lab equipped with state-of-the-art technology and an audio and video collection to complement the library’s existing book collection, all in an effort to “foster interaction among the local community”. “The library is beautiful and has a flexible design that maximizes use of its public spaces,” said Marx. TEN’s design won the 2013 Award of Merit presented by the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. www.ten-arquitectos.com www.nypl.org
Enrique Norten’s architecture studio, TEN Arquitectos, has been chosen to design the new Donnell Library. One of the largest and most representative public libraries of New York, the Donnell stands on 53rd Street in the heart of Manhattan. The project will cost 20 million usd and is scheduled to be completed by year-end 2015. New York Public Library (NYPL) President Tony Marx said that the institution he represents is more than happy “with the spectacular designs Enrique Norten and his team have created for the new library on 53rd Street […]”. The building will have a glass wall on street level so passersby can see the book shelves and cultural activities taking place inside. In addition to serving as a source of natural light, it will blur the line between the city and the library.
courtesy of new york public library
Enrique Norten Showcases His Talent in New York
Negocios ProMéxico | The Lifestyle
The Strains of Mexico the Whole World is Singing Say you’ve been to Mexico and someone will invariably mention mariachi music. There is some doubt as to the origin of this distinctly Mexican tradition but none whatsoever as to its strident future.
by sandra roblágui
Indubitably Mexico’s most famous tradition, mariachi music, is a marriage of European instruments and New World sounds that emerged not long after the Conquest and that continues to liven up get-togethers to this very day. Half a century ago, the mariachi traveled beyond Mexico’s borders and was well received in other parts of the world, so much so that some countries
have their own mariachi bands, many of which sing in their native languages. Today, the sounds in the mariachi’s repertoire include the precise chords of the guitar, one of the oldest, most popular instruments in the world: on occasion, the sweet resonance of the harp; the nostalgic wail of the violin (two or three for each trumpet); the joyful Mexican bandoleón, a large box that serves as an acoustic bass
and the vihuela, a small five-string guitar that accompanies the deeper chords of the guitarrón, a 25-string guitar that some historians believe was invented in colonial Mexico, although others associate it with the Spanish Renaissance. The trumpet was introduced just 80 years ago and most mariachi bands have two. As for the origin of the term “mariachi”, there are several hypotheses.
The Lifestyle | Negocios ProMéxico
For centuries, the mariachi, like tequila, was scorned by Mexico’s elite as a symbol of the masses. Mariachis typically played at parties called fandangos, famous in what are today the states of Jalisco, Michoacán, Colima, Nayarit and Zacatecas.
According to journalist and researcher Patricia Alamilla, it is popularly held that the word dates from the time of the French Intervention in Mexico in the mid 19th century. The story goes that a group of French soldiers arrived at a town in Jalisco where a wedding was taking place. When they enquired about the merrymaking, their translator replied: “C’est un mariage”. In August 1925, a national daily published: “The mariachi [...] was born in the days of the French Intervention and the word originally means marriage in French,” says researcher Jesús Jáuregui in his book The Mariachi. A Musical Symbol of Mexico. Other authors, like Ricardo Espinoza, claim that the term was introduced shortly after the Conquest and that its source is a native song to the Virgin Mary, plus the suffix “chi”, which means “song” in the native language of the Coca people from the Cocula region in Jalisco. Still others say it is derived from the wooden platform or “mariachi” the natives
of Techaluta, another small community in Western Mexico, used to dance on to magnify the sound of their stamping feet. These versions also credit the Coca people with inventing the vihuela and the guitarrón to imitate the Spanish lute and double bass, respectively. For centuries, the mariachi, like tequila, was scorned by Mexico’s elite as a symbol of the masses. Mariachis typically played at parties called fandangos, famous in what are today the states of Jalisco, Michoacán, Colima, Nayarit and Zacatecas. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the first mariachi record was made and after the Mexican Revolution of 1910, mariachi music gradually became more widely accepted as musicians made their way from the west to Mexico City and began wearing charro outfits. The mariachis of old wore a pair of pants, a white cotton shirt and a plain straw hat, like the one worn by farmers, while the charro outfit was more akin to the attire of Mexico’s wealthy landowners of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Also in the early 20th century, the trumpet was added. Today, especially outside Mexico, it’s hard to find a mariachi band without wind instruments. Some believe the adoption of the charro outfit and trumpets can be attributed to the way mariachi musicians were portrayed in the films of the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema (1936-1957). Mario Alberto Nájera, a researcher at the University of Guadalajara (UDG), is of that opinion. He believes that the commercialization and internationalization of mariachi bands has modified their costumes, instruments and songs, although most of their lyrics are still about life in the country, despite the fact that over 70% of Mexicans are city dwellers. If you’re a mariachi fan, September is the best time to visit the city of Guadalajara, where you can catch the International Mariachi and Charrería Festival just before Mexico’s independence festivities. As part of a concerted effort to revive and preserve the ancient music of Mexico, Guadalajara will also be hosting the 12th National Festival of Traditional Mariachis from September 4 to 8, 2013. Each band will be decked out in regional dress and the decibel level will be off the charts! N
Negocios ProMéxico | The Lifestyle
“When I dance, I am reliving my whole life”
Interview with Esteban Hernández From London’s Royal Ballet to the San Francisco Ballet, this Mexican dancer draws on his own life experiences in his reinterpretations of the classics.
courtesy of esteban hernández
by alejandra guillén
Dance is more than a series of steps; it is an exploration of memories and emotions on stage, capable of creating dream worlds that allow us to escape the big, bad world, if only for a fleeting moment. After graduating from London’s Royal Ballet on July 14 and joining the San Francisco Ballet just one day later, 18-year old Esteban Hernández chatted with Negocios about his experience in England, where he perfected his technique and discovered the soul of ballet. Like his brother, the famous Isaac Hernández, Esteban went to school in Jalisco, in Western Mexico. He would play at dancing in his backyard while his father, Héctor Hernández –a dancer himself, but now retired– taught him ballet moves. When he was eight, Esteban competed in Youth America Grand Prix in New York. From there, he went on to take part in other competitions, both in his native Mexico and abroad. In 2010, he became the first Mexican to be accepted as a student at the Royal Ballet in London. “The experience has changed my life. It’s hard to believe I’ve graduated. In a way it’s sad but I’m happy and excited about
The Lifestyle | Negocios ProMéxico
“I find it easier to express myself with my body than with words. It comes more naturally to me and I feel more comfortable dancing than talking.”
what’s to come. The day after I graduated, I had to turn up for my first day at work, at the San Francisco Ballet. I feel lucky because few people get opportunities like this,” says Esteban. Studying in London was like a dream come true but it was also a leap of faith. Esteban found he had to work harder than ever to stay ahead. He soon learned it wasn’t about who could execute the highest assemblé or who had more grace but about baring your emotions and dancing as if it were your last day on earth. In 2011, a group of Royal Ballet students staged a choreography by John Neumeier, director of the Hamburg Ballet. But instead of asking them to play a character, Neumeier told the dancers to play themselves. “That way of understanding dance made a lasting impression on me because I realized it’s not about faking, that I should always be myself. That’s what it is to dance honestly,” reveals Esteban.
thing I can, now go elsewhere and become the best dancer you can possibly be. I think it’s time you followed in the footsteps of your brother [Isaac Hernández] and went to Philadelphia to study,” which is where I went before going to London.
—Do you think dance is lacking that spirit? I do, because few people are interested in the arts these days. They think dance is about jumping and spinning, but that is gymnastics. They forget ballet is about telling stories, that it depicts characters with unique traits and emotions. By striving to make performances more spectacular, we have killed the spirit of dance.
—Did you have anything in common with your fellow students at the Royal Ballet? There were 19 men, including myself, and 15 women and it was funny because I’d already met half of them at competitions and festivals. They’d all left their countries to chase their dream and that’s the one thing we had in common. All the times I felt I couldn’t go on, they were there for me and I hope they found support and encouragement in me, too. We all wanted to be the best dancers in the world but there was no rivalry, even though ballet is highly competitive. Getting to know them was an unforgettable experience.
—Why did you leave Mexico? Dance is very important in Europe. My family helped me make the decision to leave my country. My father said, “I’ve taught you every-
—What is the life of a professional dancer like? It’s pretty normal for me but I guess my life is different to that of most people. I have to be aware of my body and my emotions all the time. It’s hard; it’s not always a bed of roses. Every day you have to work and push your body beyond its limits, improve on the previous day. It’s physically, emotionally and mentally draining. There’s a lot of pressure to reach perfection but it is part of the job and I like it. I like seeing how I evolve with each passing day. Sometimes I ask myself why I do it and the answer is because I truly love it.
Negocios ProMéxico | The Lifestyle
“By striving to make performances more spectacular, we have killed the spirit of dance.”
—Do your memories affect how you dance? You bet! Every dancer has his roots, his story. A dancer can be extraordinary when he embodies those memories. I find it easier to express myself with my body than with words. It comes more naturally to me and I feel more comfortable dancing than talking. My origins have always had an influence on my artistic side because the emotions have to come from somewhere. You have to use those feelings to tell stories, to create worlds that make people feel they are in a dream. When I dance, I am reliving my whole life. I might not remember everything I’ve ever felt but I feel everything I remember. Esteban Hernández was born in 1994, a difficult year for the Mexican economy. The other face of Mexico’s youth, he belongs to a generation that has seen the world change before their eyes. In the immediate future, his goal is to become lead dancer at the San Francisco Ballet but in the longer term he hopes to live up to his father’s expectations and become the best dancer he possibly can. N
The Lifestyle | Negocios ProMéxico
Mexico, a Home Away from Home
Mexico has a reputation for welcoming foreigners. Over the last 15 years, the country has shown increasing clemency to migrants who want to make it their permanent abode.
by dolores reséndiz mora
Mariah has only been in Mexico for a year but she plans on making it her home. A native of Australia, she visited Jalisco on holiday and stayed on after meeting and falling in love with a photographer. Love, the people and the food –whose colors and flavors she describes as “intense”– are some of the reasons she cites for settling down here. She also enjoys spending time with her Mexican family that “gets together on Sundays and celebrates birthdays”. Mariah is one of 961,621 registered immigrants in Mexico, according to the
2010 census taken by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). One million people in a country with a population of almost 112.5 million (according to the National Census 2010) may not seem like much but it goes to confirm Mexico’s long tradition of offering asylum to foreigners who are drawn by the country’s hospitality, good weather and lively social scene. Mexico has a reputation for welcoming foreigners, one that was bolstered with the trade opening of the Eighties and Nineties. In fact, over the last 15 years, a re-
port published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reveals that Mexico has shown increasing clemency to migrants like Mariah who want to make it their permanent abode. Foreigners have taken up residence in different parts of the country. According to INEGI and the National Migration Institute (INM), the cities with the largest foreign communities are Ajijic, Chapala, Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Los Cabos, Mérida, Mexicali, Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, Puerto Vallarta, San Miguel de Allende and Tijuana, listed in alphabetical order.
Negocios ProMéxico | The Lifestyle
San Miguel de Allende A major tourist attraction in the state of Guanajuato, some 10,000 Americans have taken up residence in San Miguel de Allende, won over by its old world charm and excellent weather. The city’s colonial buildings are one of its greatest assets, some of which witnessed key events in Mexico’s War of Independence.
Ajijic-Chapala This magical town on the shores of Lake Chapala is famous for its large foreign community –12,000 no less, a number that almost doubles in winter and that includes neighboring towns like San Juan Cosalá, El Chante and Jocotepec. The vast majority of immigrants resident in Ajijic are from the US, Canada and Australia, mostly pensioners desirous to live out their twilight years in warmer climes. Several decades ago, before the colorful town of Ajijic made it on to the map, the city of Chapala was a popular destination for those in search of adventure and exoticism. The
area is popular among those with artistic and literary inclinations, while others are content to lead the quiet life in the shadow of El Travesaño Ridge and take in the view of Lake Chapala, the largest freshwater lake in the country.
Mexico City According to INEGI statistics, there are just over 34,000 foreigners living in the Mexico City metropolitan area. Home to government offices and the headquarters of some of the country’s largest corporations, the job opportunities these offer account for the large presence of professionals from other latitudes.
Cuernavaca Often referred to as the “City of Eternal Spring”, Cuernavaca has one of the largest foreign populations in Mexico. It was the conquistador Hernán Cortés who started the tradition of weekending at Cuernavaca, whose weather and proximity to Mexico City explain its popu-
larity. The local government even holds an annual party to which the immigrant community is invited.
Mérida According to INM figures, this city in the state of Yucatán is home to 11,238 foreigners. Merida’s exotic air, archaeological sites and colonial architecture are some of the aspects tourists and overseas residents appreciate most.
Mexicali INEGI puts the number of foreigners living in Mexicali at 30,000, most of whom are Americans, which is hardly surprising for a border city.
Monterrey Monterrey is the capital of Nuevo León and the city with the largest population in the state. As a highly developed industrial center, the city has managed to lure a significant amount of foreigners –some 8,500, accord-
The Lifestyle | Negocios ProMéxico
ing to data furnished by agencies like INEGI and the National Migration Institute (INM).
Nuevo Laredo Located in the state of Tamaulipas on the Mexico-US border, Nuevo Laredo has a foreign population of 16,000. Most of the people who have chosen to live and work here have trade connections with Texas.
Tijuana The world’s busiest border crossing has a population of some 43,000 Americans, although the total number of foreigners living here is estimated at 72,000 and includes immigrants from China, Europe and other parts of Latin America.
Jalisco’s leading tourist destination offers beach and mountains, not to mention good weather all year round. According to the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board, there are 20,000 foreigners living in the municipality, mainly Americans and Canadians.
Negocios ProMéxico | The Lifestyle
Nature’s Gifts to Mexico: 10 Natural Wonders Not to Be Missed
Since the beginning of time, the four elements –water, fire, earth and wind– have been sculpting the breathtaking landscapes that have made Mexico famous the world over. Negocios had the challenging task of choosing only 10 that represent the tip of the iceberg of the natural treasures to be found the length and breadth of the country.
Caves, mountains, canyons, deserts and lakes… Mother Nature has been generous to Mexico and soft on the eyes of those who behold her creations.
by antonio vázquez
The Lifestyle | Negocios ProMéxico
Montebello Lagoons: A Mirror Image of Heaven
The estate has 56 lagoons, spread over 6,022 hectares, and two official routes: one that comprises Esmeralda, La Encantada, Bosque Azul, Ensueño and Agua Tintal and another that takes you past Cañadas, Pojoj, Dos Lagunas and Tziscao, a 45-meter-deep lagoon that straddles the border with Guatemala.
The heavens are reflected in the intense blue of the Montebello lagoons in the state of Chiapas. Tourists can explore the sur-
rounding pine and oak forests by foot or on horseback, take a kayak out on the water, swim or rent boats made out of tree trunks. Located 72 kilometers from the municipality of Comitán, this national park has enjoyed the protection of the Mexican government since 1959.
The ancient cultures of Mesoamerica believed that the god of rain, Tláloc, ruled from Los Tuxtlas, a region in the state of Veracruz. His palace was the Eyipantla Waterfall, a 40-meter wide wonder just 12 kilometers from the municipality of Catemaco. In Náhuatl, eyi means three, pantli canyon and tla water, so Eyipantla roughly translates to “three streams of falling water”. In this case, water from the Río Grande that flows into the Catemaco Lagoon. To admire it in all its glory, you have to climb 244 steps to the top, where you can feel the mist on your face and hear the roar of the water as it plummets 60 meters to the ground. Movies like Apocalypto, directed by American-Australian actor Mel Gibson, have been filmed here.
Eyipantla Waterfall: Tláloc’s Legacy
Negocios ProMéxico | The Lifestyle
Copper Canyon: The Colors of Creation If you happen to be in the state of Chihuahua in Northern Mexico, we suggest you hop aboard El Chepe and explore the Chihuahua-Pacific railroad. On the Divisadero-Los Mochis section, the six red
canyons of the Tarahumara Mountains make for an incredible sight. Spread over some 60,000 square kilometers, these canyons are collectively known as the Copper Canyon, a natural wonder that plunges even deeper than the famous Grand Canyon in Arizona. This is Tarahumara territory and in the creation myth of this native people,
the Copper Canyon was formed when the world came into being, and the rocks were still malleable. According to scientists, it dates back more than 20 million years. Choose one of El Chepe’s 64 wagons and settle down for a 14-hour journey across 39 bridges and through 86 tunnels –628 kilometers of arid landscapes that glow copper in the glint of a blistering sun.
Swallow Cave: A Bottomless Pit
At 512 meters, Swallow Cave in San Luis Potosí is the sixth deepest natural pit in the world. The cave was created by water seeping through a fault line, which gradually eroded away the limestone, lending it its characteristic conical shape: a wide mouth that tapers to the bottom. So named because it is a refuge for birds like swifts (a species of swallow) and quilas (similar to the parakeet), Swallow Cave’s 376-meter free fall draws speleologists from all over the globe in search of a challenge.
The Lifestyle | Negocios ProMéxico
Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary: A Winged Spectacle
Every year, millions of tiny orange and black wings make their way to a natural sanctuary that stretches from the east of the state of Michoacán to the west of Estado de México. This is the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, all 56,000 hectares of which were declared a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in 2008. Between November and March, the Monarch butterfly travels over 4,000 kilometers from Canada and the United States to Michoacán in search of warmer climes in which to procreate. El Rosario, Sierra Chincua and Senguío are the main tourist centers where you can witness the spectacle. And while you’re here, why not sample some local cuisine, buy a few handicrafts or try your hand at an extreme sport?
The Cenotes of the Maya Riviera: The Wiliness of Nature
The Yucatán Peninsula in Southeast Mexico has no major rivers or lakes but wily Mother Nature found her way around that obstacle by creating cenotes, natural waterholes without which the Maya civilization would probably not have prospered. Called ts’onot in Maya, which means “hole in the ground”, the region’s cenotes were the Maya’s main source of water and several cities were built around them. They were also used as ceremonial sites where human sacrifices and offerings to the gods were made, as evidenced by the jewelry and ceramic pots that have been retrieved from the bottom of some of them. The most famous cenotes of the Maya Riviera include Boloonchojol, covered by a dome through which the sunlight gently filters, X-Batún, an open waterhole with enormous tree roots hanging over its entrance and Aktunchén, a cavern that is no less than five million years old. Today these waterholes are used for diving, kayaking and extreme sports like rappelling and zip lining.
Negocios ProMéxico | The Lifestyle
Hierve el Agua: Lot’s Waterfall
Hierve el Agua is famous for its waterfalls that have turned to stone midair. At the top, some 30 meters up, is a mineral-rich spring that reaches temperatures of 25ºC, which explains why the water settles as it falls, while the sun and wind add the finishing touches to this monolithic sculpture crafted by the hands of nature. Located approximately 70 kilometers from the state capital of Oaxaca, visitors come to bathe in these healing spring waters. There are facilities where you can spend the night and explore the area by foot.
Cacahuamilpa Caves: An Underground Gallery Just 52 kilometers from the silver town of Taxco, in the state of Guerrero, are the Cacahuamilpa Caves, indubitably among the most impressive in the world.
Discovered in 1834 and declared a natural park by the Mexican government in 1936, two rivers –the Chontalcoatlán and the San Jerónimo– have created petrified forms and stalactites as they flow through these dark, humid caverns made of limestone rock that once lined the sea bed.
A couple of hours are needed to explore all 90 galleries, which are spread over two kilometers. Each has been named in allusion to the form it takes or after the person who discovered it: El Chivo, El Beso, Los Enamorados, La Aurora, and Paso del Águila, among countless others.
The Lifestyle | Negocios ProMéxico
Hidalgo’s Basalt Prisms: Primal Geometry
The Organ Mountains: A Natural Hollywood Habitat
The Organ Mountains tower 2,560 meters above sea level at their highest point and harbor 1,125 hectares of rock formations shaped from lava that crisscross Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range. Hot during the day and freezing at night, the region’s semi-arid micro climate,
combined with its geographical conditions, make this the perfect hideout for coyotes, hares, white tailed deer and other endangered species like the peregrine falcon. The Organ Mountains have appeared in numerous movies, including The Guns of Navarone, starring Anthony Quinn and Caveman, featuring Ringo Starr.
Some 30 kilometers from the municipality of Sombrerete in the state of Zacatecas is a natural park that has served as the set of many a Hollywood movie.
alejandr0 mejía greene
Rising some 30 meters into the air, the basalt columns of Santa María Regla in the state of Hidalgo were created millions of years ago by cooling lava. Water trickling from the San Antonio Regla and Azul dams continues to hone this unfinished work of nature. The German explorer Alexander Von Humboldt was struck by the precise, geometrical shape of these columns and the pencil drawing he made of them in 1803 can be seen at the British Museum in London. Nearby is a tourist center where you can camp, go horseback riding, take a boat trip on the San Antonio dam or taste some regional fare.
Negocios ProMéxico | The Lifestyle
courtesy of nelson vargas family fitness
Nelson Vargas, Poseidon of Mexico’s Swimming Pools by abraham díaz
Winner of the National Sports Prize in 2012, he has coached Olympic swimmers, owns a successful business and has presided over the National Sports Commission, Mexico’s top sporting authority. In interview with Negocios, Nelson Vargas talks about his long and successful career as a swimming instructor and entrepreneur. For over 40 years, the water was his realm. Mermen and mermaids rallied to the sound of his deep voice and shrill whistle. This modern day Poseidon has coached thousands of young swimmers, who have since gone down in Mexico’s sporting annals. Tenacious and with the mindset of a champion, this particular profe –as he is known to the thousands who have perfected their stroke under him– has applied the same spirit and diligence he displays poolside to his other venture, Nelson Vargas Family Fitness (formerly Acuática Nelson Vargas), a successful company with 14 branches in eight states throughout Mexico and more than 20,000 students on its books. “I am and always will be passionate about sports. Although I come from a working class background, even as a boy I always liked sports, which is why I took a degree in Physical Education at the National School of Physical Education,” recalls Vargas. He then landed a job at the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), where his passion for
swimming made a torpedo push off. “I wasn’t a good swimmer but I liked training young people,” he says. It was that same passion that won the IMSS swim team the national championships in all categories for 20 years in a row –from 1967 to 1987–and produced four Olympic medalists: Felipe Tibio Muñoz (Mexico City, 1968), Carlos Girón (Moscow, 1980), Jesús Mena (Seoul, 1988) and Fernando Platas (Sydney, 2000). These victories won Vargas respect and a name at home but his real dream was to start his own swim school. “I thought if I didn’t build some personal equity, I’d have to be at the edge of a swimming pool at five in the morning when I was 50, 60 or 70.” And so Vargas opened his first branch of Acuática Nelson Vargas in 1978, in the Lindavista district of Mexico City. “As a businessman and a major player in the development of water sports in this country, I’m proud of having instilled in the children and young people I’ve coached the habit of competing and of having kept track of their progress.” These are the words of a man who believes the desire to
The Lifestyle | Negocios ProMéxico
win serves his followers, not just in the pool but also in every aspect of life. According to Vargas, motivating children and young people to exercise and compete makes them strive to better themselves. “It is crucial that the families get involved in the exercise routine,” he says when asked about the core values of Nelson Vargas Family Fitness. True to their mission, Nelson Vargas Family Fitness centers offer over 45 activities for the whole family, including swimming, tae kwon do, artistic gymnastics, physical fitness, spinning, pilates, yoga, tennis, squash, basketball and indoor soccer. Vargas has made a few flip turns himself, even venturing into the government lane. “I’m satisfied with what we achieved during the six years I presided over the National Sports Commission (CONADE). We did a lot with very little and I managed to persuade local governments to invest in sports.” It was around that time that Vargas’ children took over the business and renamed it Nelson Vargas Family Fitness.
“I thought if I didn’t build some personal equity, I’d have to be at the edge of a swimming pool at five in the morning when I was 50, 60 or 70.” And so Vargas opened his first branch of Acuática Nelson Vargas in 1978, in the Lindavista district of Mexico City.
One of his indisputable achievements at the forefront of CONADE was the founding of the National Center for the Development of High Performance Sporting Talents (CNAR), the largest professional sports center in the country. As for the path his career has taken, Vargas says he’s a “firm believer in the old adage that ‘No one is a prophet in his own land’. You have to work wonders to make a name for yourself. You have to have a winner’s mentality. I’m the kind of person who likes to be recognized for his efforts and that’s the mentality that prompted me to become an entrepreneur.” As a coach, that is the philosophy he seeks to pass on. “Fernanda González is currently Mexico’s top swimmer and she trained with us. Three of our swimmers have qualified for the FINA World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, two for the World Universiade in Russia, two more for the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Dubai, while 154 of our swimmers have qualified for the Olimpiada Nacional 2013 to be held in Tijuana and 52 will be compet-
Negocios ProMéxico | The Lifestyle
ing in the International Children’s Games 2013 in Windsor, Essex, Canada. These are just some of the results of what we and the kids have achieved by working together.” Just as Nelson Vargas’ career has gone from strength to strength, so has the sports scene in Mexico. “Things have improved a great deal. The mentality has definitely changed. In the past, athletes who made it internationally weren’t prepared. Now many of our youngsters are simultaneously battling it out for titles as well as a career. They are aware of the fact that they can get scholarships and economic incentives but that it all ends quickly. We make sure they know they can’t live on medals and titles alone.” Plus, “It doesn’t all revolve around soccer anymore. We have excellent divers, archers, tae kwon do artists, people who are making names for themselves. Mexico’s athletes have a winning mentality and can compete on a level playing field with any other athlete in the world.” —What’s next for Nelson Vargas? —“I’m 79 and I can’t stop now. I’m already planning to build new facilities in Guadalajara (Jalisco), Sayavedra (Estado de México) and Santa Fe (Mexico City). As a businessman, I want to continue opening centers that foster culture, education and athleticism as part of my contribution to the comeback of sports,” Vargas concludes. N
foto cortesía de feria internacional de franquicias
Las franquicias se han consolidado como un modelo de negocios exitoso en México y son una importante fuente de ingresos y empleos en el país. Actualmente, México tiene el reto de exportar sus franquicias y ganar nuevas posiciones para las marcas mexicanas en el mercado internacional.
La franquicia como modelo de crecimiento: lecciones de México 78
Una bebida de México para el mundO:
La Alianza del Pacífico
ProMéxico Y LaS empresas exportadoras de tequila
a ojos de México
Negocios ProMéxico | Para Exportadores
Desde ProMéxico. La internacionalización de empresas y marcas mexicanas es una tarea de suma importancia para ProMéxico, la agencia de promoción económica internacional del gobierno mexicano que tiene como misión atraer inversión extranjera directa al país, así como impulsar la exportación de productos y servicios mexicanos, a fin de incidir en la internacionalización de las empresas del país. En conjunto con otras instancias de apoyo, se tiene como meta consolidar la exportación de casi 120 franquicias mexicanas durante los próximos seis años. Por ello, ProMéxico trabaja con distintos actores estratégicos, como la Asociación Mexicana de Franquicias (AMF), que ha sido un componente fundamental para impulsar distintas acciones tendientes a lograr dicho propósito. En este contexto, la presente edición publica una contribución del presidente de la AMF, en donde presenta un claro diagnóstico sobre las marcas mexicanas en el extranjero, así como sobre su potencial. Asimismo, a partir de las experiencias reportadas por diversas empresas mexicanas, reúne varios casos de éxito representativos con la finalidad de ilustrar este tema.
En esta edición también se incluyen contenidos alusivos a los apoyos y servicios que ProMéxico ofrece a las empresas tequileras de México. Cabe destacar que durante 2012, México exportó 300 litros de tequila por minuto (156 millones de litros al año). Este dato es muy representativo. ProMéxico ha sido un promotor permanente de las compañías tequileras que desean incursionar en nuevos mercados o que buscan potencializar su participación en mercados internacionales. Igualmente se incluye una breve sección que reúne los principales datos de producción y exportación de esta bebida insignia del país. Por último, se publica un análisis sustantivo sobre las ventajas y el potencial que tiene la participación de México en la Alianza del Pacífico, sobre todo para reforzar el liderazgo económico del país en la región. Esta negociación comercial representa una oportunidad única para diversificar los vínculos comerciales de México con diversos países en América Latina pero, sobre todo, para aprovechar las demandas de mercados establecidos en la región Asia-Pacífico. Esperamos que los contenidos que se presentan en esta sección para el exportador sean de su interés.
cortesía de campus party
Una fiesta de tecnología El evento de tecnología Campus Party México 2013 recibió a alrededor de 8 mil campuseros que asistieron a más de 500 conferencias y talleres enfocados a acelerar empresas tecnológicas.
En esta cuarta edición del festival, que evolucionó de talleres básicos de computación a la creación de emprendedores, se planteó el objetivo de impulsar 150 ideas de empresas con potencial de crecimiento. El evento se enfocó a la comunidad emprendedora y contó con el apoyo del Instituto Nacional del Emprendedor (INADEM), ProMéxico, la Asociación Mexicana
de Internet (Amipci), además de 10 fondos de inversión extranjeros y nacionales como Amexcap y Angel Investors, que participaron en el evento para identificar proyectos para invertir. Las 500 conferencias se dividieron en ocho escenarios temáticos en un área de 300 metros cuadrados; algunas de las ponencias destacadas corrieron a cargo del astronauta Buzz Aldrin y del creador de Atari, Nolan Bushnell. Campus Party es el evento más importante del mundo en las áreas de innovación, creatividad, ciencia y entretenimiento digital. Desde 1997, Campus Party ha logrado reunir a miles de jóvenes apasionados por la tecnología para que colaboren, aprendan y promuevan el conocimiento y la innovación. En los últimos 16 años, más de 145 mil campuseros han participado en las treinta y cinco ediciones celebradas en siete países de Latinoamérica y Europa. Actualmente, el evento tiene presencia en ocho países y realiza ediciones anuales en São Paulo, España, Bogotá, Ciudad de México y Quito. www.campus-party.com.mx
Con los pies en la red
Las marcas de zapatos Flexi, Capa de Ozono, Charly/Skechers, Coqueta y Audaz invertirán 10 millones de dólares en la tienda de comercio electrónico Dafiti para ampliar y fortalecer sus ventas en Internet. Las cinco marcas –que en conjunto venden cerca de 25 millones de pares de zapatos al año– buscarán incrementar sus ingresos gracias a los cinco millones de usuarios de Dafiti, que reporta tasas de crecimiento mensual de hasta 57%.
Un puerto de vanguardia El Puerto Lázaro Cárdenas integra tres nuevas grúas STS para atender más carga, consolidando su posición de vanguardia y proyección a futuro a través de la terminal especializada de contenedores
operada por Hutchison Ports Holdings. Este equipo se integra para complementar la operación de otras seis grúas de su clase e incrementar y fortalecer el dinamismo, eficiencia y rapidez del puerto en el despacho de mercancías con los tiempos más competitivos del mercado. www.puertolazarocardenas.com.mx
cortesía de flexi
IBDF se realizará en el marco del Abierto Mexicano de Diseño, en el Gran Hotel Ciudad de México del 22 al 25 de octubre de 2013. Se espera que se convierta en puerta de acceso a inversionistas y que se consolide como uno de los espacios más reconocidos del diseño en México para el mundo. www.ibdf.mx
cortesía de business design fair
El diseño brilla en México
International Business Design Fair (IBDF) es una feria internacional que incide en la comercialización del diseño y de las industrias creativas. Su función es vincular a importantes distribuidores de diseño en el mundo con los más destacados protagonistas de la industria nacional para fomentar o afianzar vínculos comerciales.
E-factura de México para América Latina
Durante los próximos tres años, la empresa cárnica American Beef invertirá cerca de 200 millones de pesos en un proyecto de expansión en el municipio de Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco. Con la diversificación de alimentos cárnicos procesados, que incluyen desde pastas hasta guisados, el corporativo apostará a una línea de alta cocina mexicana capaz de conquistar los mercados internacionales.
Dot Net, empresa de Cancún especializada en servicios digitales, alista la exportación de sus servicios de facturación digital a Colombia, Chile y Perú, en el marco de la Alianza del Pacífico que firmó México con esos países en mayo de 2013. www.facturadorelectronico.com
A la conquista de nuevos mercados
Para Exportadores | Negocios ProMéxico
Una bebida de México para el mundo: ProMéxico Y LaS empresas exportadoras de tequila
Empresas tequileras mexicanas han recibido servicios y apoyos de ProMéxico que les han permitido conquistar nuevos mercados para la bebida insignia del país.
por blanca mendoza avilés*
ProMéxico, a través de la Unidad de Promoción de Exportaciones (UPE), ofrece a los empresarios tequileros mexicanos una serie de apoyos y servicios para iniciar o incrementar sus exportaciones. Los ejecutivos de ProMéxico establecidos en las distintas Oficinas de Representación en México (OMEX), se dedican a recibir a empresarios nacionales y evaluar sus proyectos, con el fin de presentarles los apoyos más adecuados a sus requerimientos. Estos pueden com-
prender rembolsos económicos a través de bolsas de viaje; diseño de envase, empaque, embalaje y etiquetado; diseño de campaña de imagen; planeación y realización de actividades promocionales en el exterior, entre otros, así como una gama de servicios con costo que pueden incluir participación en pabellones de ProMéxico en ferias internacionales, realización de agendas de negocio en el marco de misiones de exportadores, asesoría especializada en México y contratación
de practicantes de negocios en el exterior, entre otros. Este esquema se conoce como modelo de la oferta. Cuando las empresas tequileras requieren información especializada, son canalizadas a un experto sectorial en oficinas centrales (Ciudad de México), quien les ofrece consultoría gratuita sobre los documentos requeridos para exportar, los mercados con mayores oportunidades y los requisitos no arancelarios, así como los eventos internacionales más representativos de la industria.
Negocios ProMéxico | Para Exportadores
ProMéxico está listo para llevar más de la bebida insignia de México al mundo, así como para apoyar a las empresas tequileras en sus estrategias de exportación y diversificación internacional.
Asimismo, el experto sectorial les ayuda a identificar fuentes de información valiosa para detectar importadores y distribuidores, datos importantes del mercado y del canal de distribución, o bien sugerencias para el diseño exitoso de su plan de negocios de exportación. De manera adicional, ProMéxico identifica oportunidades de negocio a través de las 34 Oficinas de Representación en el Extranjero (OREX), distribuidas en 25 países. A partir de conferencias telefónicas y/o entrevistas con importadores de bebidas alcohólicas, se analizan los requerimientos de proveeduría mexicana y, con el apoyo de un ejecutivo en oficinas centrales, se localiza a exportadores de tequila que puedan cubrir la demanda. Este esquema se conoce como modelo de la demanda. En su compromiso por contribuir a la formación de exportadores nacionales, ProMéxico ofrece también –en línea y de manera gratuita– una serie de documentos
técnicos para que las empresas identifiquen en qué etapa del proceso de exportación se encuentran, cuáles son los pasos que deben seguir para diseñar su plan de exportaciones, cómo analizar los mercados internacionales, dónde conocer los aspectos culturales del mercado al cual van a dirigir sus esfuerzos, cómo establecer el precio de exportación, cómo realizar un contrato de compra-venta internacional y cómo mejorar su logística de exportación, entre otros aspectos. Hoy, ProMéxico está listo para llevar más de la bebida insignia de México al mundo, así como para apoyar a las empresas tequileras en sus estrategias de exportación y diversificación internacional. Por ello, cada vez son más las compañías exportadoras de tequila que hacen de ProMéxico su aliado de negocios en México y en el exterior. La bebida del éxito ProMéxico, a través de la OREX en Bogotá, identificó el interés de una empresa
comercializadora de bebidas alcohólicas y alimentos, por conocer a productores de tequila para representarlos en Colombia. La entidad organizó una agenda de negocios entre esa compañía y varias empresas tequileras en Jalisco. En mayo de 2011, después de tres meses de análisis de perfiles, el importador colombiano tomó la decisión de realizar un acuerdo de compra-venta para representar dos marcas. Con la finalidad de realizar el lanzamiento del producto en las ciudades de Medellín y Bogotá, ProMéxico autorizó a la empresa mexicana en 2012 el rembolso denominado “Participación y realización de eventos promocionales en el exterior”, apoyo que permitió difundir entre distribuidores especializados las nuevas marcas mexicanas. Las ventas que se han generado para la empresa mexicana han sido contundentes. Otra marca tequilera aceptó la invitación de ProMéxico para participar en una misión presidencial a Chile realizada durante 2012. La empresa mexicana solicitó a ProMéxico referencias comerciales de sus posibles contrapartes, información que fue analizada, procesada y entregada a la compañía con uso de las herramientas de inteligencia comercial. Durante su agenda de negocios, organizada por la OREX Chile, la firma tuvo una serie de entrevistas con importadores de bebidas alcohólicas y eligió a un aliado estratégico para coordinar sus transacciones. A la fecha, este exportador mexicano trabaja de manera coordinada con su importador, mismo que tiene distribución en todo Chile, y una infraestructura muy bien diseñada para la logística de reparto del producto –distribuye a tiendas departamentales y centros de consumo. N
*Directora de Proyectos de Exportación, Unidad de Promoción de Exportaciones (UPE), ProMéxico.
Para Exportadores | Negocios ProMéxico
UNA INDUSTRIA MUY MEXICANA
La industria de bebidas en México alcanzó un valor de producción de 45 mil 344 millones de dólares en 2012 y se espera que presente una tasa media de crecimiento anual de 9% para el periodo 2012-2020. En 2012, México registró el segundo valor más alto en la producción industrial de bebidas en América, solamente por debajo de Estados Unidos y, según cifras de ProMéxico, la industria mexicana de bebidas recibió una Inversión Extrajera Directa (IED) de 285 millones de dólares –entre 2000 y 2011, el sector registró una IED de 6 mil 395 millones de dólares. Producción de agave • En 2011 la producción de agave en México fue de 1 millón 703 mil toneladas, con un valor de 146 millones de dólares, de acuerdo con datos del Sistema de Información Agropecuaria y Pesquera (STAP) de la Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (SAGARPA). • El consumo total de agave para la producción de tequila en 2012 fue de 881 mil toneladas, de las cuales 62% se destinó a la producción de tequila 100% agave y el resto para tequila.
Producción de Tequila • En 2012 la producción total de tequila fue de 253 millones de litros (3% menos que la producción de 2011). • De acuerdo con cifras del Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT), 45% de la producción fue de tequila 100% agave y el resto de tequila. • Los principales estados productores de tequila son Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit y Tamaulipas. México exporta tequila a diversos mercados • En 2012, México exportó 300 litros de tequila por minuto (156 millones de litros). • La exportación de tequila durante 2012 equivalió a 859 millones de dólares. • El principal destino de las exportaciones mexicanas de tequila fue Estados Unidos, con una participación del 71%. • Las exportaciones de tequila a Japón crecieron 67% en 2012. • 138 empresas exportaron tequila, 57% de ellas se ubica en Jalisco y 9% en el Distrito Federal.
Negocios ProMéxico | Para Exportadores
cortesía de alianza del pacífico
La Alianza del Pacífico a ojos de México La Alianza del Pacífico representa una oportunidad única para diversificar las exportaciones mexicanas, fortalecer el liderazgo económico de México en América Latina y generar mejores oportunidades de desarrollo en el país.
por adolfo laborde*
En enero de 2013, los presidentes de México, Enrique Peña Nieto; Chile, Sebastián Piñera; Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos y Perú, Hollanta Humala, acordaron, en el marco del mecanismo Alianza del Pacífico, alcanzar el libre mercado, con lo que eliminarán en casi 90 por ciento el arancel al intercambio comercial y los obstáculos técnicos al comercio entre sus países, a la vez que consolidarán una colaboración aduanera. Con el arancel cero, los miembros del bloque se benefi-
ciarán del acceso seguro de sus productos y servicios a los mercados. El objetivo de la Alianza del Pacífico, de acuerdo con la Declaración de Lima, es formar un bloque comercial que propicie la libre circulación de bienes, servicios, capitales y personas en esta región latinoamericana, que sirva de plataforma para lograr una mayor vinculación económica con la región Asia-Pacífico. Para alcanzar esta meta, los gobiernos de los países firmantes generarán una nor-
matividad clara con respecto a las reglas de origen en materia comercial; impulsarán inversiones en materia educativa (promoción de becas de licenciatura) y eliminarán el requisito de visa entre sus miembros. Unas cuantas cifras pueden ayudar a dimensionar el impacto de este mecanismo. Según datos del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Chile, la población de todos los países de la Alianza del Pacífico suma alrededor de 270 millones de personas. Es, sin duda alguna, un mercado de gran potencial.
Para Exportadores | Negocios ProMéxico
La Alianza del Pacífico podría ser un instrumento ideal para apuntalar la estrategia de diversificación comercial de México, sobre todo considerando el énfasis que tienen los países pertenecientes a dicha Alianza por intensificar relaciones con Asia, entre otras regiones del mundo. De acuerdo con el Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI), tan solo en 2012 el Producto Interno Bruto (PIB) de los países de la Alianza del Pacífico fue de 2 mil 10.3 miles de millones de dólares (el PIB de México representa 59 por ciento del total de la Alianza). Por su parte, la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC) recientemente reveló que en 2012, los países de la Alianza del Pacífico ocuparon el séptimo lugar como exportadores a nivel mundial, solo detrás de China, Estados Unidos, Alemania, Japón, Países Bajos y Francia, al exportar un total de 554 mil millones de dólares. Esto provocó que dichas naciones cerraran el año con un superávit de 12 mil millones de dólares en su comercio con el mundo, según datos del Global Trade Atlas (GTA). En Latinoamérica, las exportaciones de la Alianza del Pacífico representaron 50.2 por ciento del total de la región (1 mil 107.615 millones de dólares), según información de la OMC. El atractivo de estos países también se vio reflejado en el monto de Inversión Extranjera Directa (IED) captado en 2012, el cual registró un crecimiento ponderado anual de 19.8 por ciento, de acuerdo con datos de la Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL). Los principales sectores destino de la IED entre los países miembros de la Alianza fueron: Chile (minería, seguros, electricidad, gas y agua, manufactura [excepto alimentos, químicos y papel], transporte y almacenamiento), Colombia (petrolero, minería, industria manufacturera, transporte y almacenamiento, servicios finan-
cieros y empresariales) y Perú (minería, finanzas, comunicaciones, industria y energía), según datos recopilados por el Comité de Inversiones Extranjeras de Chile, el Banco de Colombia y la agencia de promoción comercial de Perú (Proinversión). En los próximos años se estima que los países miembros de la Alianza del Pacífico continuarán con un crecimiento económico sostenido de 4.7 por ciento, en promedio, mientras que el promedio de toda la región se pronostica en 3.8 por ciento. Finalmente, los países pertenecientes a la Alianza del Pacífico ofrecen una gran ventaja competitiva como bloque comercial: su ubicación geográfica. Esta permite una comunicación favorable entre los miembros y, sobre todo, una inigualable cercanía a prácticamente cualquier punto de América Latina. Asimismo, los países de la Alianza gozan de sólidos fundamentos macroeconómicos que generan las condiciones necesarias para el establecimiento exitoso de las empresas extranjeras. En el caso de México, durante 2012, 88 por ciento de sus exportaciones hacia los países miembros de esta Alianza fueron manufacturas –principalmente vehículos, tractores, material eléctrico, plástico y sus manufacturas, entre otros– según la OMC. En un futuro se prevé que sectores como el de servicios, productos intermedios, maquinaria y equipo tendrán un impacto positivo para el país. Si se compara con el resto de los países de la Alianza, México supera a sus socios de manera importante. Por ejemplo, con Chile se tuvo una balanza comercial favo-
rable de casi 749 mil millones de dólares el año pasado. Con Colombia, México también registró una balanza superavitaria de más de 4 mil 700 millones de dólares; mientras que en el caso de Perú, el país tuvo un saldo favorable de más de 1 mil 80 millones de dólares. En los tres casos, México obtuvo una balanza comercial positiva, lo que de alguna manera significa que continuar con una lógica de liberalización comercial con estos países, traería consigo una expansión comercial y una profundización del superávit del país. En este contexto, la Alianza del Pacífico podría ser un instrumento ideal para apuntalar la estrategia de diversificación comercial de México, sobre todo considerando el énfasis que tienen los países pertenecientes a dicha Alianza por intensificar relaciones con Asia, entre otras regiones del mundo. En el terreno geopolítico, la Alianza podría servir para contrarrestar la influencia de Brasil y Venezuela en el marco del Mercado Común del Sur (MERCOSUR) y de la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (UNASUR), que marca la división de Latinoamérica en dos proyectos económicos, políticos y sociales. México es, en suma, un destino exportador clave en el marco de la Alianza del Pacífico, la cual se mantiene como un mecanismo de balance geopolítico regional de suma importancia, en la que el país ejerce un contrapeso sustantivo. N *Internacionalista; director de la Licenciatura en Relaciones Internacionales del Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Santa Fe; miembro del Sistema Nacional de Investigadores, Nivel 1.
Negocios ProMéxico | Para Exportadores
La franquicia como modelo de crecimiento: lecciones de México Las franquicias se han consolidado como un modelo de negocios exitoso en México y son una importante fuente de ingresos y empleos en el país. Actualmente, México tiene el reto de exportar sus franquicias y ganar nuevas posiciones para las marcas mexicanas en el mercado internacional. por diego elizarrarás cerda*
El modelo de franquicia ha sido uno de los formatos comerciales más divulgados y eficientes en el mundo para crecer y desarrollar una marca. Aunque comúnmente se le asocia con negocios del sector de alimentos y bebidas, es difícil encontrar un giro comercial que no tenga ejemplos de marcas que se hayan desarrollado a partir del sistema de franquicias. Las principales fortalezas de este modelo son el compartir y sumar talentos: una fórmula ganadora probada (franquiciante), sumada al talento y deseo emprendedor de un tercero (franquiciatario). El financiamiento es otorgado por el franquiciatario, lo cual le da derecho a utilizar la marca registrada y reconocida, así como los conocimientos técnicos y la asesoría necesarios para manejar exitosamente el negocio durante un tiempo determinado. Por otro lado, la combinación de talento, experiencia y deseo de superación ha permitido que la franquicia se desarrolle al margen de la cultura, idioma y poder económico del país donde se instale. Es un formato de negocio que puede alinear en un mismo proyecto a empresarios independientes que trabajen con procedimientos, objetivos y metas comunes. No existe un país en el mundo que no tenga por lo menos una franquicia; de hecho, actualmente hay más de 19 mil redes o cadenas de franquicias (franquiciantes) y más de 1.3 millones de unidades franquiciadas (franquiciatarios) a nivel global. En México, el modelo de franquicia se ha posicionado como un escalafón importante para el desarrollo económico del país. Durante sus casi 30 años de existencia, su efecto como fuente generadora de empleos, emprendedores, motor de cambio y profesionalización de las pequeñas y medianas empresas (pymes) ha sido incuestionable.
De acuerdo con datos de la Asociación Mexicana de Franquicias (AMF), entre 2007 y 2012 se generaron cerca de 811 desarrollos nuevos de franquicias, más de 2 mil 300 puntos de venta y cerca de 12 mil 400 empleos directos. El total aportado durante ese periodo fue de 941 mil millones de pesos, solo en la apertura de nuevas tiendas. Se espera que el sector de las franquicias en México cierre 2013 con un crecimiento de 13% en lo referente a puntos de venta y nuevas marcas generadas, con lo cual superará el 12% registrado en 2012. La facturación del sector en México es de aproximadamente 85 mil millones de pesos anuales y, según diversas estimaciones, el número de empleados rebasa las 700 mil personas. Gran parte de las franquicias mexicanas se ubican en el centro del país (43%), aunque también existe una presencia importante en la región occidente (15%), noreste (14%), Golfo (9%), noroeste (9%), Bajío (6%) y sureste (4%).
Para Exportadores | Negocios ProMéxico
Los principales giros a los cuales pertenecen las franquicias mexicanas son alimentos y bebidas, comercio especializado, cuidado personal, servicios especializados, educación y capacitación, tecnología y comunicaciones, y entretenimiento y recreación. México: referente internacional En México, el modelo de franquicias se ha consolidado como un fenómeno de las pymes nacionales, así como un referente mundial en cuanto a ecosistemas de franquicias, y no solo como un sistema prestado de las marcas extranjeras que introdujeron el modelo en un inicio. En términos del número de marcas franquiciantes en operación, el país ocupa el quinto lugar mundial, solo detrás de Estados Unidos, China, Brasil y Australia. Esta posición favorable se ha logrado gracias a la estructura legal sólida del país, presente por más de dos décadas –y principalmente motivada por la integración de México al
La facturación del sector en México es de aproximadamente 85 mil millones de pesos anuales. Según diversas estimaciones, el número de empleados rebasa las 700 mil personas.
Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (TLCAN)–, así como a un esfuerzo de sensibilización sobre los beneficios del modelo de franquicia a nivel gubernamental, académico, medios de comunicación y público en general. Desde hace más de seis años, existen financiamientos de la banca de desarrollo y comercial que han incidido directamente en el crecimiento del sector de las franquicias. Estos créditos han hecho que México se consolide como un destino muy favorable para firmas provenientes de Estados Unidos, España y Canadá, entre muchos otros países. El papel relevante que ha ganado México en el entorno mundial de las franquicias no sería posible sin el liderazgo activo de dos organismos internacionales, la Federación Iberoamericana de Franquicias (FIAF) y el Consejo Mundial de Franquicias (WFC). Asimismo, la organización de la Feria Internacional de Franquicias (FIF) en la Ciudad de México –una de las tres exposiciones más importantes del ramo en el orbe, junto con la de Sao Paulo y París– ha sido un factor determinante en el buen posicionamiento del país dentro del sector de las franquicias. Sin embargo, la internacionalización de las franquicias mexicanas es una asignatura pendiente. En la actualidad, de 840 marcas nacionales, menos de 30 tienen presencia importante en el extranjero. Esto no es casualidad, ni se debe a falta de talento ni de conceptos originales o mercados atractivos para estas marcas; más bien responde a un deseo muy generalizado, a una intención más que a un proyecto bien consolidado. Según estudios de la Unión Europea, una empresa que tiene actividad e inversión en el extranjero genera hasta 16% más de empleo en su país. Lo anterior genera un círculo virtuoso que impulsa a otras compañías a buscar la internacionalización y, a su vez, poner en alto el nombre de México como marca-país. Por ejemplo, Javier Sánchez Azcona, presidente de la franquicia de entretenimiento infantil KidZania (antes La ciudad de los niños), cambió el nombre al proyecto para conectar con una visión más global del mismo. De acuerdo con el empresario, tras haber abierto franquicias en distintas latitudes, lo que inicialmente resultaba más difícil para los inversionistas era creer que se trataba de una empresa mexicana, ya que la concepción de la marca-país en aquel momento era negativa. Así, casos de éxito de franquicias nacionales como KidZania (entretenimiento), El Fogoncito y Sushi Itto (alimentos), han requerido de un trabajo coordinado entre el gremio de las franquicias mexicanas y las autoridades en materia de comercio exterior, para detectar y promover conjuntamente a aquellas marcas franquiciantes con potencial y listas para comenzar a expandir sus conceptos inter-
Negocios ProMéxico | Para Exportadores
Franquicias mexicanas en números (2013)
• 1 mil 400 empresas franquiciantes.
• 750 mil empleos directos creados. • 84% marcas nacionales y 16% extranjeras.
• 82% de proveeduría e insumos nacionales y 18% importados.
• 73 mil puntos de venta. • Representan 6% del Producto Interno Bruto (PIB) nacional.
nacionalmente, así como para identificar y concretar encuentros fructíferos con potenciales inversionistas de otros países, de la mano de una correcta planeación y soporte técnico en los países destino. Con esta visión y compromiso, en el primer trimestre de 2013, la AMF y ProMéxico firmaron un convenio de colaboración para hacer realidad la exportación del modelo de franquicia y de las marcas mexicanas, bajo el concepto de exportación de talento, marcas, conocimiento y propiedad intelectual, aprovechando la infraestructura de ambas instituciones y el fuerte compromiso por sacar este proyecto adelante. Dentro de los primeros frutos de este convenio está la publicación de la Guía para la Exportación de Franquicias, con miras a participar en un primer evento para llevar franquicias mexicanas a Chile, en octubre de 2013. Sin duda es un camino largo; sin embargo, la consolidación de más marcas en el extranjero será una práctica recurrente en el país y a nivel global. Lo que es más, esta dinámica será un paso firme para posicionar a las marcas mexicanas y al país como un líder entre las economías del mundo. N *Presidente de la Asociación Mexicana de Franquicias (AMF).
Creative Industries: The Mexico Advantage Turkey and Mexico as Priority Partners