A bit of history on Tijuana and how the city became a world class manufacturing epicenter


Famous for its rich mixture of cultures, history and proximity to the United States, Tijuana city sits at the northwestern corner of Mexico and is among the fastest growing cities in Latin America.

What few people realize is that Tijuana is also considered to be the beginning of Latin America because it is the city from any Spanish speaking country in the continent that is located furthest north, sharing a border with San Diego California, which also happens to be one of the most transited borders in the world, according to a resent study by the General Services Administration (GSA) at least 20,000 people cross this border daily from Mexico to USA, Tijuana not only receives international visitors from Central and South America but also from the northern hemisphere, Asia and Europe. In fact Tijuana City is the only direct flight destination from China in Latin America that includes connectivity from both Shanghai and Beijing, respectively managed by Aeromexico (Mexican Airline) and Hainan Airlines (China) respectively, making it a fast growing destination among Chinese Tourists that wish to know Mexico and USA by taking a single direct flight. In many ways this border resembles Shenzhen and Hong Kong, particularly in terms of dynamics and proximity, and for Mayan Culture and caribbean enthusiasts Tijuana even offers direct flights to the Yucatan Peninsula where the Chichen Itza pyramids were immortalized by Xi Jinping’s visit in June 2013, this means travelers can easily visit California, Tijuana and the Mayan Riviera by taking just two flights, one from China to Tijuana and another from Tijuana to Merida or Cancun, everything else is nearby.

Officially founded in 1889 Tijuana city’s origins began prior to that date as a small ranch called the “Tia Juana” ranch which means “Aunt Juana’s ranch” thus where the city got it’s name, the proximity to the united states made it a natural tourism destination for American residents, particularly military personnel, however after casinos and a racetrack was opened after the second decade of the 20th century, Tijuana became known as the Mexican earlier version of Las Vegas, luring people internationally, interesting figures such as Al Capone and Hollywood celebrities would fly in and visit the luxurious casinos, racetracks and spas, they would drink, gamble and fine dine, particularly during the prohibition period from the 1920s up until 1933 when alcohol use, production and transportation was illegal in the USA.

This scenario brought the first economic boom to the region and prompted the establishment of hotels, restaurants, commerce and connectivity within the border region, forging a cross-border trade dynamic that would lead up to the establishment of foreign companies in Tijuana City which would mostly manufacture products at a lesser cost and would be destined for the North American markets, during the 1990’s when the first Free trade Agreement between Mexico, Canada and the United States was signed (NAFTA) most products became duty free and where able to transit the border free of import tariffs and this made it possible to bring in materials, transform them and then return them as finished goods to the consumer markets in the USA and Canada, lower labor costs, real estate and taxes in Mexico made it even more attractive for these companies to establish operations south of the American border, this kind of establishment was called “the maquiladora industry” at the beginning bringing simple processes such as textile, assembly and lean industries to set up operations, however by the 21st century more sophisticated sectors where developed such as Electronics, Automotive and even Aerospace and Biotechnology helping Tijuana become one of the Manufacturing Capitals of the World and the epicenter of advanced manufacturing in Latin America. The resent instability between China-USA relationship and the eminent tax imposition to products imported from China into the USA is making it more attractive for Chinese companies to invest in the region, groups such as FOXXCONN, HISENSE and few others are leading this new trend by establishing manufacturing facilities in Tijuana City and around this region.

In short Tijuana is an attractive destination for Chinese Tourist looking to access a few destinations and live some of the best experiences in Mexico and USA in an efficient manner, there is also much space for profitable business exploration such as real estate, manufacturing, food and beverage and innovation, leisure activities can include Wine Country, Adventure travel, Luxury Shopping, Gambling and much more.

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