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MEXICO'S BURGEONING IT INDUSTRY

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MEXICO'S BURGEONING IT INDUSTRY Powered By Docstoc
					   lights, camera, action! Mexican Film Industry Firing Up The Engines




                                mexico’s
                           burgeoning
                            it industry
iV – 2011
Great investment opportunities
             in the best place to live


Morelos
M         E       X                 I                  C                   O

Strategic location for global business.
                        Located only 50 miles south of Mexico City, by far the largest market
                      • L      d l         il       h f M i Ci
                        in Latin America
                      • Straight in the middle of the inter-oceanic highway; 260 miles from
                        the Seaport of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico


Highly qualified human capital
                        Highly kill d kf
                      • Hi hl skilled workforce
                      • Steady supply of engineering and science graduates


An outstanding innovation environment
                      • Host to 39 research centers ready to support innovative projects like no other
                        region in Mexico
                      • More than 1,500 scientists, many of whom are involved in highly relevant topics
                        such as biotechnology, applied physics, energy & fuels, materials, science, water
                        technology and others


Exceptional life quality
                        Famous worldwide for its ideal climate and natural beauty
                      • F
                      • Known as the “city of eternal spring,” Cuernavaca — the state Capital —
                        and its surroundings have become a cosmopolitan metropolis
                      • A wide array of high quality entertainment, cultural and educational options




                                 Economic Development Secretariat
                                 +52 (777) 313 5680
                                 www.businessinmorelos.gob.mx
                                 business@morelos.gob.mx
2 Negocios




                                       Contents



                                                                     20
                                                                     COVER FEATURE
                                                                     Mexico’s Burgeoning




                                                                                                       PHOTO archiVe
                                                                     IT Industry




   From the CEO                                                                            6
   Briefs                                                                                  8
   Special Report       bilateral trade between Mexico and the UK                          12
   Business Tips        Mexico: a big MarKet for it                                        16
   Mexico’s Partner     softteK                                                            24
                        solUciones tecnológicas                                            26
                        siway                                                              28
                        Kio networKs                                                       30
                        sin sentido filMs                                                  34
   	                	   cineconcePto                                                       36
                        gUadalaJara international filM festiVal                            38
   Figures                                                                                 40


       32
       lights, camera, action!
       Mexican filM industry
                                                                                                ILLUSTRATION oldeMar




       firing up the engines
       The increasing professionalization of specialists, together
       with financial and tax incentives offered to foreign
       productions and Mexican co-productions, have turned
       Mexico into a major player in the international film world.
4 Negocios




                                                                                                            PROméxICO
                                                                                                            carlos guzmán bofill
                                                                                                            ceo

                                                                                                            ilse oehler grediaga
                                                                                                            image and communications director

                                                                                                            sebastián escalante
                                                                                                            Managing coordinator
                                                                                                            sebastian.escalante@promexico.gob.mx

                                                                                                            Miguel Ángel samayoa
                                                                                                            advertising and suscriptions
                                                                                                            negocios@promexico.gob.mx




                                                                       Photo courtesy of lo coloco filMs
                                                                                                            natalia herrero
                                                                                                            copy editing

                                                                                                            q-10 COmUNICACIóN
   54                                                                                                       emma lucila lópez Valtierra
                                                                                                            Publisher
   ana                                                                                                      sergio anaya
   An	International		                                                                                       editor in chief


   3d	Star                                                                                                  carlos Molina
                                                                                                            design

                                                                                                            this is an editorial project for ProMéxico
                                                                                                            by q-10 Comunicación.

                                                                                                            Download the PDF version

The Lifestyle Contents                                                                                      of Negocios ProMéxico at:
                                                                                                            negocios.promexico.gob.mx




                                                                                                            Negocios ProMéxico es una publi-
                                                                                                            cación mensual en inglés editada
                                                                                                            por ProMéxico, camino a santa
                                                                       Photo courtesy of ana elena Mallet




                                                                                                            teresa no. 1679, col. Jardines del
                                                                                                            Pedregal, delegación Álvaro obre-
                                                                                                            gón, c.P. 01900, México, d.f. tel.
                                                                                                            54477000 www.promexico.gob.mx; nego-
                                                                                                            cios@promexico.gob.mx editor responsa-

     50                                                                                                     ble: gabriel sebastián escalante bañuelos.
                                                                                                            reservas de derechos al uso exclusivo no.
                                                                                                            04-2009-012714564800-102. licitud de títu-

    44                                                                                                      lo: 14459; licitud de contenido: 12032, am-
                                                                                                            bos otorgados por la comisión calificadora
                                                                                                            de Publicaciones y revistas ilustradas de la
     Destination: mexico                                                                                    secretaría de gobernación. issn: en trámite.
     Mexican design in the stores of New York’s Museum of Modern Art                                        impresa por cía. impresora el Universal, s.a.
                                                                                                            de c.V.
                                                                                                            Negocios ProMéxico año 4, número iV, abril
                                                                                                            2011, se terminó de imprimir el 25 de abril
                                                                                                            de 2011, con un tiraje de 13,000 ejemplares.
                                                                                                            las opiniones expresadas por los autores no
               42		The	Lifestyle	Briefs      53	Film	&	Arts                                                 necesariamente reflejan la postura del editor
                                             OPEN wINdOw FILmS,                                             de la publicación. Queda estrictamente pro-
                                                                                                            hibida la reproducción total o parcial de los
             46	The	Lifestyle	Opinion        A SmALL PROdUCTION HOUSE                                       contenidos e imágenes de la publicación sin
                  mExICO’S RISINg            wITH bIg IdEAS                                                 previa autorización de ProMéxico.
                CREATIVE TALENTS
                                             56	Interview                                                   ProMéxico is not responsible for inaccurate
                                                                                                            information or omissions that might exist in
                  48		Interview              ARmANdO ALANIS:                                                the information provided by the participant
     ANNA ROTH: wHEN mOVIES                  LOVE ON THE wALL                                               companies nor of their economic solvency.
      ARE LIFE ANd NOT wORk                                                                                 The institution might or might not agree with
                                             60	Science	&	Technology                                        an author’s statements; therefore the res-
                                                                                                            ponsibility of each text falls on the writers,
                     50	Film	&	Arts          SCIENCE COmmUNICATION                                          not on the institution, except when it states
               AdRIAN gRUNbERg                                                                              otherwise. Although this magazine verifies
                 & STACy PERSkIE:            62	Destination                                                 all the information printed on its pages, it will
               A SUCCESSFUL dUO              REAL dE CATORCE                                                not accept responsibility derived from any
                                                                                                            omissions, inaccuracies or mistakes. April
                                                                                                            2011.
   Success is just
   a click away…
   >> Log in to Mexico




www.promexico.gob.mx
negocios@promexico.gob.mx
+ 52 (55) 5447 70 70
From the CEO.




O
           ver	 the	 last	 decade,	 Mexico	 has	 developed	 into	 an	 important	
           global	 supplier	 of	 information	 technology	 (IT)	 services	 and	 it	
           is	currently	one	of	the	top	five	destinations	for	IT	services	and	
           solutions.

  Mexico	positions	itself	as	a	strategic	and	reliable	partner	for	business	as	
well	as	one	of	the	main	players	in	the	global	IT	arena,	for	a	variety	of	rea-
sons:	first,	its	proximity	to	the	United	States,	the	largest	IT	market	in	the	
world;	second,	its	ample	pool	of	professionals	trained	under	international	
standards;	third,	an	important	network	of	free	trade	agreements	that	pro-
vide	legal	certainty	and	security	for	businesses;	and	last,	its	political	and	
macroeconomic	stability	which	gives	its	IT	industry	the	strength	to	com-
pete	in	terms	of	quality,	price	and	service	in	leading	markets	around	the	
world.
	
  Furthermore,	 history	 appears	 to	 be	 repeating	 itself	 in	 another	 sector:	
creative	industries,	which	are	becoming	increasingly	strategic	to	the	Mexi-
can	economy.	In	fact,	areas	such	as	animation	and	3D	are	gaining	momen-
tum	supported	by	the	achievements	of	Mexico’s	IT	industry.

  What	is	behind	this	story?	Good	ideas!	And	in	the	development	of	both	
the	 IT	 and	 the	 cultural	 industries	 sectors,	 Mexican	 creativity	 and	 talent	
are	 playing	 a	 leading	 role.	 After	 all,	 what	 sets	 countries,	 economies	 and	
companies	 apart	 today	 is	 their	 ability	 to	 provide	 creative	 and	 innovative	
responses	to	modern	challenges.

Without	a	doubt,	Mexico	is	a	good	idea.

Welcome	to	our	magazine	Negocios!

Carlos	Guzmán
CEO
ProMéxico
                            EnErgy


                            Energetic
                            Alliance
                    OFFICES AbROAd
North	America
Vancouver	Regional	Director
jorge.lopez@promexico.gob.mx                                        ProMéxico	
Offices	in:	Chicago,	Dallas,	Houston,	Los	
Angeles,	Miami,	Montreal,	New	York,	
Toronto	and	Vancouver	
                                                                   Headquarters
Chicago
                                                              +	52	(55)	544	77070
miguel.leaman@promexico.gob.mx                           promexico@promexico.gob.mx
Dallas
carlos.marron@promexico.gob.mx
                                                            www.promexico.gob.mx
Houston
armando.camarena@promexico.gob.mx            Santiago	de	Chile                          Paris
                                             joel.enriquez@promexico.gob.mx             guillermo.garza@promexico.gob.mx	
Los	Angeles
mario.juarez@promexico.gob.mx                Sao	Paulo                                  Stockholm
                                             juan.pintoribeiro@promexico.gob.mx	        nicole.felix@promexico.gob.mx
Miami
cesar.bueno@promexico.gob.mx		

Montreal                                     Europe	                                    Asia	-	Pacific
alfonso.mojica@promexico.gob.mx

New	York
                                             and	Middle	East                            Offices	in:	Beijing,	Mumbai,	Seoul,	
                                                                                        Shanghai,	Singapore,	Taipei	and	Tokyo
gerardo.patino@promexico.gob.mx              Offices	in:	Brussels,	Dubai,	Frankfurt,	
                                             London,	Madrid,	Milan,	Paris	and	          Beijing	
Toronto                                      Stockholm                                  ari.saks@promexico.gob.mx
jose.peral@promexico.gob.mx
                                             Brussels	                                  Mumbai
Vancouver                                    alejandro.saldivar@promexico.gob.mx        aldo.ruiz@promexico.gob.mx
emilio.rivero@promexico.gob.mx
                                             Dubai                                      Seoul
                                             jose.neif@promexico.gob.mx                 miguel.delvillar@promexico.gob.mx
Latin	America                                Frankfurt                                  Shanghai
and	South	America	                           erwin.feldhaus@promexico.gob.mx            rodrigo.contreras@promexico.gob.mx

Offices	in:	Bogotá,	Guatemala,	              London                                     Singapore	/	New	Markets
Santiago	de	Chile	and	Sao	Paulo              mario.gonzalez@promexico.gob.mx            francisco.bautista@promexico.gob.mx

Bogotá                                       Madrid                                     Taipei
carlos.edgar@promexico.gob.mx                ximena.caraza@promexico.gob.mx             cesar.fragozo@promexico.gob.mx

Guatemala                                    Milan                                      Tokyo
ignacio.elias@promexico.gob.mx               claudia.esteves@promexico.gob.mx           esau.garza@promexico.gob.mx
briefs.
8 Negocios                                                                                                                                  Photo courtesy of Vestas




                intErnational                                                                                                       SUStainability
                tradE


                More of China
                in Mexico




                Dragon Mart Cancún, the second
                largest area of exhibition and sale of
                Chinese goods outside China, after
                Dragon Mart Dubai, will begin operat-       rEnEWablE EnErgy
                ing by November 2012.
                Developed by Chinamex, Dragon
                Mart Cancún will be opened with an          Betting On Green Energy
                initial investment of 150 million usd. It
                will be located on the Cancun-Playa         Fomento Económico Mexica-          The deal is worth 89 million            The wind farm is in an “ad-
                del Carmen highway, near Puerto             no (Femsa), Latin America’s    usd. Femsa will have a 45% stake         vance phase” and will use 132
                Morelos, 15 minutes from Cancun air-        largest beverage company,      in the project, while Macqua-            wind turbines from Vestas Wind
                port. The project, of 840,000 square        and Macquarie Group Ltd.,      rie Capital will own 22.5%. The          Systems A/S, the world’s largest
                meters (more than 9 million square          Australia’s largest invest-    remaining stake will be held             manufacturer of wind turbines.
                feet), includes a housing complex of        ment bank, agreed to buy a     by two Mexican infrastructure               Madrid-based Preneal is an
                4,000 homes and will employ more            396-megawatt wind farm in      funds of Macquarie. Femsa and            independent company that con-
                than 5,000 people.                          the Istmus of Tehuantepec,     its partner Heineken NV will             struct and operates wind farms.
                                                            in the state of Oaxaca, from   buy the power from the project
                www.chinamex.cn                             subsidiaries of Preneal.       for the next 20 years.                   www.femsa.com




                MEtallUrgiCal indUStry

                Solid Investment
                                                                                           With a 107 million usd invest-           process 840,000 tons of steel per
                                                                                           ment, Grupo Villacero inaugurat-         year, to serve commercial, indus-
                                                                                           ed its new facilities in the state of    trial, construction and infrastruc-
                                                                                           Nuevo León: a Service Center in          ture markets in North American
                                                                                           Apodaca and a helicoid pipeline          Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
                                                                                           producer in Pesqueria.                   region and Central America.
                                                                                               Grupo Villacero’s new Service            As for the manufacturing
                                                                                           Center is built on a 249,000 square      plant, it will have a capacity to
                                                                                           meters (2 million 680,202 square         manufacture 110,000 tons of pipe-
                                                                                           feet) plot of land, with buildings       lines with black helicoid welding
Photo archiVe




                                                                                           occupying 70,000 square meters           or lined pipelines for fluids in
                                                                                           (753,470 square feet). It is the larg-   structures per year.
                                                                                           est and most modern of its kind in
                                                                                           Latin America and it’s capable to        www.villacero.com
                                                                                                                                                                      briefs.
                                   aEroSPaCE
                                                                                                                    pliers, or for companies that are       grate them into a new aircraft.
                                                                                                                    already working with Eurocopter,            Eurocopter has been sell-
                                   Reaching Higher Altitude                                                         to get established in Mexico.           ing helicopters to Mexico for
                                                                                                                        The Eurocopter Group will           40 years. In 1982, the com-
                                   The Eurocopter Group, a global           ties that will start operating by the   manufacture helicopter tailcones        pany established an affiliate
                                   company with French, Spanish and         end of 2012.                            and vertical stabilizers, as well       in the country, Eurocopter de
                                   German equity, announced an up-              Eurocopter’s project will cre-      as door mechanisms. These               México, which serves 25 coun-
                                   coming investment of close to 550        ate 100 highly specialized jobs, 40     components will be shipped to           tries in Central America, the
                                   million usd in a new plant to pro-       of which will involve training at       other assembly chains of the            Caribbean and part of South
                                   duce helicopter and aircraft parts       the company’s facilities in Europe.     EADS Group (European Aero-              America. It currently has 190
                                   and systems in Mexico. In the            In addition, the project will open      nautic Defence and Space Com-           employees and services a fleet
                                   project’s first stage, the company       up the opportunity for Mexican          pany), one of the world’s leaders       of 400 helicopters.
                                   will invest 100 million usd in facili-   producers to join the team of sup-      in the aerospace sector, to inte-       www.eurocopter.com




                                                                                                                                                                                                 Photo courtesy of eurocopter
                                                                                                                    EnErgy


                                                                                                                    Golden Contract
                                                                                                                    Siemens Energy has been awarded a contract for the turnkey con-
                                                                                                                    struction of a combined cycle power plant in Mexico. The customer is
Photo courtesy of sieMens energy




                                                                                                                    Minera México, a subsidiary of Grupo México, the country’s largest
                                                                                                                    mining company and one of the world’s largest copper producers. The
                                                                                                                    plant is scheduled to achieve commercial operation in the summer of
                                                                                                                    2013 and it is expected to supply energy to the company’s copper mines.
                                                                                                                        The La Caridad combined cycle power plant will be located in the
                                                                                                                    state of Sonora and will have an installed capacity of 250 megawatts. Sie-
                                                                                                                    mens will be responsible for the full turnkey supply of the plant, which
                                                                                                                    includes engineering, procurement and construction.

                                                                                                                    www.siemens.com
briefs.
10 Negocios
                                                                                                                                                                  Photo archiVe




                 intErnational tradE


                 Trade Between Mexico
                 and the US Climbs Up
                 Surface transportation trade between the US              year-to-year increase since 1995, a year after               In 2010, Texas led all US states in sur-
                 and its North American Free Trade Agree-                 NAFTA went into effect.                                  face trade with Mexico with 114.5 billion
                 ment (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico,                    US-Mexico surface transportation trade               usd. This is the first time on record that a

                 increased by 24.3% in 2010 compared to                   totaled 320.3 billion usd, an increase of 27.6%          state has had over 100 billion usd in trade
                 2009, reaching 791 billion usd, according to             compared to 2009. The value of imports car-              with Mexico by surface modes of transpor-
                 the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)            ried by truck was 26.5% higher in 2010 than              tation in a calendar year.
                 of the US Department of Transportation.                  2009, while the value of exports carried by
                 The 24.3% increase in trade was the largest              truck was 24.3% higher.                                  www.bts.gov
 Photo archiVe




                 U.S. mERCHANdISE TRAdE wITH mExICO by SURFACE mOdES OF TRANSPORTATION                                                 TOP 5 STATES TRAdINg wITH
                 (millions of usd)                                                                                                     mExICO by SURFACE mOdES
                                                                                                                                       OF TRANSPORTATION IN 2010
                  mOdE                                             2008                  2009                  2010                    (millions of usd)

                                        Imports                       163,478               140,576               181,339
                  ALL
                                                                                                                                         RANk         STATE      2010
                  SURFACE               Exports                        129,587              110,378               138,929
                  mOdES                                                                                                                     1       Texas        114,502
                                        Total                         293,065              250,954               320,268
                                                                                                                                            2       California   47,606
                                        Imports                       134,224                117,787             148,948
                  TRUCk                                                                                                                     3       Michigan     35,106
                                        Exports                       100,264                 89,417             111,110
                                                                                                                                            4       Illinois     10,748
                                        Imports                         25,265               19,303               28,484
                  RAIL
                                        Exports                         21,965                15,291               19,632                   5       Arizona      10,456

                                        Imports                             193                  155                   182
                  PIPELINE
                                        Exports                          1,250                   788                2,038

                 Source: US Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
                                                                                                                       briefs.
                logiStiCS


          Facilitating Trade Between
          Mexico and Asia
                DHL launched its direct Less than Container
                Load (LCL) services between Busan, South Ko-
                rea and Manzanillo, Mexico. The new weekly
                LCL service will shorten the transit time from
                Busan to Manzanillo to only 15 days, facilitating
                trade between South Korea and Latin America.
                    Since 1999, Mexico has been the top Latin
                American importer of South Korean goods by
                volume and now accounts for South Korea’s
                largest trade surplus among Latin American
                nations. The annual surplus for the first three
                quarters of 2010 stood at 5.7 billion usd, a 50%
                increase on the total figure for 2009. The key
                industries driving this growth are flat panel
                displays, cold-rolled steel sheets, gasoline and
                optical lenses.
                    The new direct Busan-Manzanillo LCL
                service will be operated by Danmar Lines,
                DHL Global Forwarding’s in-house center.
                Shipments arriving in Manzanillo, a key hub
                and transhipment port on the west coast of




                                                                                                                                                  Photo archiVe
                Mexico, will be distributed to other cities with-
                in Mexico through DHL’s inland network.

                www.dhl.com




                                                                    toUriSM


                                                                    Increasingly Attracive
                                                                    According to Taleb Rifai, head of the United Nations World Tourism Orga-
                                                                    nization (UNWTO), Mexico continues to be a top destination with healthy
                                                                    revenues from the troubled tourism sector.
                                                                        Mexico received almost 22 million foreign visitors in 2010, which
                                                                    brought in just under 11.5 billion usd. International tourism to Mexico in-
                                                                    creased by 7% between January and November 2010 over numbers from
                                                                    the same period in 2009, and there was a 6% jump in revenues from these
                                                                    visitors.
                                                                        According to the UNWTO, Mexico currently ranks the 10th of the
                                                                    world’s top tourism destinations. In 2011 Mexican tourism industry expects
Photo archiVe




                                                                    to offer around 4 million jobs and 12 million indirect jobs, with income
                                                                    projected at around 40 billion usd.

                                                                    www.unwto.org
12 Negocios                                                                                                 Photo courtesy of uK trade & inVestMent




    Mexico and
    the UK agree
    to doUble
    trade
    britain’s charM offensiVe of Mexico has Paid diVidends with
    the signing of an agreeMent to doUble trade between the
    two coUntries. the UK seeMed to PUll oUt all the stoPs as it
    introdUced its Main bUsiness MoVers and shaKers to Mexican
    trade, indUstry and edUcation leaders oVer a two-year
    wooing of the north aMerican coUntry.
    here, Negocios taKes a looK into the agreeMent and
    analyzes what increased trade with Mexico Means for
    british bUsinesses that already haVe interests in the coUntry.




    by graeMe stewart




 P
            erhaps the biggest hint that Britain    the UK was not only good business sense but also      “Mexico is the most open economy in this re-
            was serious about its determined bid    vital to both nations’ continued growth in trade   gion,” Clegg said during a press conference after
            to increase trade with Mexico was       and investment.                                    meeting with President Felipe Calderón. “We
            when Prince Andrew, the UK’s Spe-           There were other events, too, that kept up     can and we must increase our commercial ties,”
 cial Representative for Trade and Investment,      the pressure and, by the time that the UK’s        he said.
 was brought to these shores as part of a con-      Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg arrived in           They also agreed to set up a new British-
 tinuing charm onslaught on Mexican business.       Mexico to clinch the deal, it had become no        Mexico business forum and a Mexican Cham-
     The third child of Queen Elizabeth II duly     more than a formality.                             ber of Commerce in London as part of Britain’s
 obliged by charming Mexican business people            Both countries should be congratulated         drive to increase trade with Latin America.
 and politicians at private meetings and a series   on carrying off a historic trade agreement.           Clegg, who was accompanied by a top-
 of lunches at which the Royal shone as he got      When Britain and Mexico committed to dou-          level business and education delegation, said
 his message across: Britain means business!        ble bilateral trade to 6.7 billion usd by 2015     British trade with Mexico was increasing but
     Then there was the visit of Boris Johnson,     and boost ties, it was a job well done for both    currently represented barely one percent of
 Mayor of London, who also used his consid-         sides of the accord.                               Mexican imports.
 erable charm to emphasize to the Mexican               Both Mexican President Felipe Calderón            The leader of the Liberal Democrats –the
 business community that increased trade with       and Nick Clegg were enthusiastic about the deal.   junior party that governs with Prime Min-
                                                  SPECIAL REPORT bilateral trade between Mexico and the UK




                                                                                                         More than 350 British companies already
                                                                                                    have a presence in Mexico while 900 firms
                                                                                                    with British capital are doing business there.
                                                                                                         UK Trade & Investment has identified
                                                                                                    opportunities for UK companies in the in-
                                                                                                    frastructure, energy, advanced engineering,
                                                                                                    retail and education sectors.
                                                                                                         Thirteen companies from the UK vis-
                                                                                                    ited Baja California to explore opportuni-
                                                                                                    ties in the aerospace sector, one of the in-
                                                                                                    dustries with the greatest potential in the
                                                                                                    region, with 51 aerospace companies, 25%
                                                                                                    of the total for Mexico.
                                                                                                         UK aerospace companies had the op-
                                                                                                    portunity to meet leading tier one suppliers
                                                                                                    such as Honeywell, GKN, Eaton and Go-
                                                                                                    odrich at their manufacturing facilities in the
                                                                                                    South West US and Northern Mexico.
                                                                                                         Over the past few years, an integrated
                                                                                                    aerospace supply chain has developed be-
                                                                                                    tween the South West US (California and
                                                                                                    Arizona) and Northern Mexico (mainly
                                                                                                    Sonora and Baja California). The delegates
                                                                                                    visited advanced manufacturing facilities on
                                                                                                    both sides of the border and will be able to
                                                                                                    fill supply chain opportunities that have been
                                                                                                    generated as a result of the North America
                                                                                                    Free Trade Agreement.
                                                                                                         Jonathan Clare, Head of UK Trade & In-
                                                                                                    vestment (UKTI) Monterrey and in charge
                                                                                                    of the aerospace sector said: “UKTI’s efforts
                                                                                                    aim at strengthening the commercial rela-
                                                                                                    tionship between the two countries in the
                                                                                                    aerospace sector.”
                                                                                                         UK and Mexico have an increasingly
                                                                                                    important commercial relationship in that
                                                                                                    sector. GKN, for example, has significant
ister David Cameron’s Conservatives– also                                                           manufacturing operations in Mexicali, San
addressed the Mexican Senate in Spanish           both coUntries shoUld                             Luis Potosí and Guanajuato, serving the
and met with Mexican athletes and school-                                                           aerospace and engineering sectors.
                                                   be congratUlated on
children.                                                                                                Senior Aerospace (Ketema) has manu-
    But what does the deal mean for UK busi-
                                                  carrying off a historic                           facturing, power generation and aerospace
nesses that already have interests in Mexico?        trade agreeMent.                               operations in Saltillo, Coahuila. Doncasters
And for the educational institutions that were                                                      has operations in Monterrey, Nuevo León,
part of Clegg’s delegation?                                                                         manufacturing vanes and blades for the
    Tipped to be among the world’s top seven         Clegg said: “I am delighted to be visiting     medical and aerospace industries. Also,
markets by 2050, UK firms say Mexico offers      Mexico with a delegation of leading British        Exova has testing and special processes in
a wealth of new business opportunities.          businesses and universities. The delegates         Monterrey and an operation in Silao, Gua-
    With UK exports to Mexico having in-         cover a range of industries from infrastructure    najuato, providing thermal processes. Cob-
creased by 28% last year, British firms are      to financial services, education and engineer-     ham (Remec) has manufacturing operations
looking for new business opportunities in the    ing. They showcase the breadth of business op-     in Tijuana and BAE in Sonora and Baja
country, seeing it as a base to access the US    portunities that UK firms have to offer to their   California. Other UK investors include CAV,
and the wider Latin American region.             counterparts in Mexico.”                           Trac Group and Meggitt. n
14 Negocios                                    illustration oldeMar




    Mexico as
    seen by british
    Companies
                      ARUP
                      “Mexico is brimming with opportunity. Arup
                      welcomes the UK’s and Mexico’s Govern-
                      ment leadership in the area of internal trade
                      and knows how valuable these delegations
                      can be in helping to identify and win new
                      businesses.”

                      bIOgAS
                      TECHNOLOgy LTd
                      “Biogas Technology Ltd. and our sister com-
                      pany, EnerG Natural Power Ltd., have been
                      in Mexico since 2005 and we have found it to
                      be a very attractive market for our products
                      and development schemes, using gas with
                      high methane content. Mexico has proven to
                      be the most important market to us outside
                      the European Union. Hence, we are keen to
                      support our expansion efforts in this country
                      by implementing new emission reduction
                      projects for new clients. Currently, we are also
                      focusing on mine gas, which also has great
                      business potential.”

                      bUPA
                      “Mexico is the most important market for
                      Bupa in Latin America because it provides a
                      stable political and economic environment
                      to support foreign investments. Research
                      studies reveal that the Mexican population is
                      interested in receiving medical treatment in
                      the US.”



                      CURRIE
                      & bROwN
                      “Currie & Brown has been in Mexico for
                      six years. During that time we have advised
                      Federal and State governments on all aspects
                      of the PPP process. This has created a social
                      infrastructure of the highest standard which
                                                    SPECIAL REPORT bilateral trade between Mexico and the UK




is based on clearly-defined and exacting out-    consultancies we are interested in renewing      for us to develop strategic partnerships with
put specification that is end user focused.”     our relations with Mexican businesses and to     Mexican companies and universities.”
                                                 broaden our range of services. We believe that
dE LA RUE                                        Mexico will continue to be a strategic gateway   UNIVERSITy
                                                 for us in Latin America.”                        OF AbERdEEN
“De La Rue has been doing business with
Mexico for many years and values the rela-       SERCO                                            “Mexico is an important place for the
tionship with the customer as a technically-                                                      University of Aberdeen for its potential
discerning one.”                                 “Serco is a rapidly-growing international        links in energy sector not only as it offers
                                                 service company with over 40 per cent of         the opportunity to showcase the expertise
HSbC                                             its fast-growing markets beyond the UK.          available in the city and in the UK, but also
                                                 Mexico has a fast-growing mixed economy          because it offers opportunities to work
“Mexico is a fast-growing consumer and           with the ability to develop trading links with   with high-quality academic colleagues and
manufacturing economy and is significant to      companies such as Serco, across a range of       students to collaborate on the development
HSBC’s global footprint. The country plays       markets including transportation, healthcare,    of new ideas, techniques and technologies.
a leading role in both our Latin America         offender management and business process         We have been successful in developing col-
strategy and increasingly in a wider global      outsourcing. Serco has excellent credentials     laborations in postgraduate training –low
scale as it develops strongly and its business   for developing innovative transforming ser-      in number but high in quality– and are
sector looks to Asia and Europe.”                vice delivery, both in the public and private    developing opportunities for collaborative
                                                 sector.”                                         research.
INVENSyS                                                                                              “The ability to work with like-minded
                                                 SHEFFIELd                                        organizations and individuals offers the
“In Mexico, we have more than 3,000 em-          UNIVERSITy                                       University long-term strong links across
ployees with facilities in Matamoros, Reyno-                                                      a range of academic disciplines including
sa, Nuevo Laredo, Mexicali and elsewhere.        “I’m delighted to know that our long-standing    Engineering, Geosciences, Economics and
Many of these sites are factories supplying      links with partners in Mexico have led to an     Law, from which both sides can benefit
Invensys products and technologies to major      agreement to establish a collaborative in-       and enhance the reputation of the Uni-
clients in Mexico, the region and indeed         dustrial research facility with the University   versity of Aberdeen as an internationally
the world. These include high-technology         of Sheffield in Toluca. This will enable us      leading energy University.”
automation and safety equipment as well as       to carry out joint research into topics from
controls for white goods, home heating and       which both the UK and Mexico can ben-            UNIVERSITy
commercial appliances. In addition, we have      efit. The model for this collaboration will be   OF STRATHCLydE
design and engineering centers which employ      based on the University of Sheffield’s Ad-
local engineers to develop new technology        vanced Manufacturing Research Centre –that       “Energy and power infrastructure com-
that is also exported around the world.”         brings together innovative industrial partners   mitments in Mexico resonate well with
                                                 with leading-edge academic thinking.”            the UK’s strategic investment opportuni-
                                                                                                  ties. The prospect of closer industrial and
mOTT mACdONALd                                   SOUTHAmPTON                                      academic collaboration between the UK
                                                 UNIVERSITy                                       and Mexico would add mutual benefit in
“For many years, Mott MacDonald has been                                                          technological innovation, the creation of
following the Mexican energy and transport       “Southampton is one of the leading UK uni-       a highly skilled workforce and joint ap-
market with some success. We are keen to         versities in business. We have much to learn     proaches to dealing with challenges –such
support the UK’s latest initiatives there. As    from the dynamism of the enterprise culture in   as climate change– on a global scale.”
one of the leading international engineering     Mexico and there are enormous opportunities
16 Negocios   illustration oldeMar




  mExICO:
  A bIg mARkET
  FOR IT
                                                                                                                                      bUSINESS TIPS




Mexico’s doMestic MarKet for it is set to grow fast in the coMing
years. it is estiMated that in 2011, sPending on these technologies in
Mexico will haVe grown 11%, which Means an exPenditUre of aboUt
13.6 billion usd. it is estiMated that in the Period between 2011 and
2015, the sector’s growth rate will be 10% annUally, exceeding the
estiMated growth in gross doMestic ProdUct (gdP).

by MarÍa cristina rosas *




  G
                    lobalization involves a reor-     when protectionism prevailed, technological         tense within each country, evidentiating the
                    ganization of the economic,       approaches were developed which proposed            importance of IT to society, beyond the com-
                    political, social and cultural    the acquisition of foreign technology to gener-     mercial and entrepreneurial spheres.
                    world. However, globaliza-        ate substitute products and processes, or to try
                    tion has been operating for       to encourage internal technological develop-        THE IT mARkET
a long time and its path has tended towards           ment and diminish the dependency on goods           IN mExICO
the dizzying interconnection between different        and services from abroad.                           Until 2010, Mexico, the second most popu-
societies and / or actors on the planet, so that                                                          lated country in Latin America (112 million
internal developments in a particular territory        Until 2010, Mexico, the second                     468,855 inhabitants), was also the country
are increasingly influenced by those occurring            Most PoPUlated coUntry                          with the second largest number of Internet
elsewhere. Information technology (IT) tends             in latin aMerica (112 Million                    users in the region (30 million 600,000). Re-
to close the gap that traditionally delimited the      468,855 inhabitants), was also                     lated data shows that Mexico has the largest
national environment from the international            the coUntry with the second                        number of Facebook users in Latin America
one.                                                    largest nUMber of internet                        (15 million 037,020). That means that for ev-
    However, the world’s development of IT is          Users in the region (30 Million                    ery 10 Internet users in Mexico, five are Face-
uneven. The technology gap is what differenti-                     600,000).                              book users. In relation to hardware, 86% of
ates countries, based on their capacity to gen-                                                           Mexicans have cell phones, 59% desktops,
erate, assimilate and disseminate knowledge.             By contrast, within globalization, countries     54% laptops, 45% video games, 14% smart
That, in turn, depends on the specialization          know that they must look for technological          phones, 8% Personal Assistants or PDA’s and
possibilities available to each society in order to   progress within a scheme of competitive pro-        4% have tablets.
compete in a globalized world.                        duction throughout the planet. Thanks to this       Certainly, the international economic crisis
    As is known, technology is not an item that       technology, countries may generate special-         inhibited the expansion of IT in the country.
one can obtain freely, which is why the compe-        ized processes within a new-world productive        However, it is estimated that in 2011, spend-
tition ultimately depends upon the specifica-         composition, where the paradigm of growth is        ing on these technologies in Mexico will have
tions of each economy in respect to the prevail-      knowledge. In the case of IT, it constantly pres-   grown 11%, which means an expenditure
ing average of other nations. During the times        ents us with a use that is broader and more in-     of about 13.6 billion usd. It is estimated that
18 Negocios                                                                                                                      illustration oldeMar




 in the period between 2011 and 2015, the          and 2015, the per capita outlay in these prod-    an estimated 6.2 billion usd in 2011 to 8.9 billion
 sector’s growth rate will be 10% annually,        ucts will go from 124 to 179 usd.                 usd in 2015. With the spread of broadband and

 exceeding the estimated growth in Gross Do-           Businesses, especially small and medium-      3G systems, the conditions will be in place for a
 mestic Product (GDP).                             sized companies (SME’s), are a natural market     greater demand for computers.
      Mexico City accounts for 50% of the IT       for IT investments. These companies must in-          In the area of software, 80% of what is used
 expenditure in the country. However, there        corporate technology into their business strat-   in Mexico is imported. There is a tendency,
 is enormous potential in the South, South-        egies to achieve productivity, competitiveness    especially among SME’s to standardization, to
 east and West regions of the country, with        and efficiency.                                   obtain the reduction of production costs and
 predictions of an increase in the budget for                                                        to increase efficiency, so the market for these
 the sector due to the rise in personal com-                                                         products will be in the order of 2.5 billion usd
 puter sales, decreased prices and increased         it is estiMated that in 2011,                   in 2011.
 demand from US companies operating in              sPending on iT in Mexico will                        In regard to the Mexican government, soft-
 Mexico, that will be sub contracting person-       haVe grown 11%, which Means                      ware expenditure for information security was
 nel for the industry in growing numbers. Re-       an exPenditUre of aboUt 13.6                     probably one of the main priorities along with
 garding government needs, IT is planned to                   billion Usd.                           that of the systems known as ERP or the plan-
 increase spending in areas like tax collection,                                                     ning of resources which allow real-time op-
 improved medical services, promotion secu-        German corporate software leader SAP re-          eration without the need for periodic updates.
 rity trade and strengthening with platforms       vealed in 2010 that SME sector is the fastest     The same can be said about the software that
 that need IT –in the case of security, the am-    growing segment in Mexico.                        provides solutions for the administration of
 bitious Plataforma Mexico stands out. Also,          Meanwhile, US computer company Dell,           supply chains.
 several government departments increasing-        maintains that in 2010 30% of its income              The IT services market is also growing, for
 ly offer various online services, demanding       from Latin America originated in small and        several reasons. While the estimated expendi-
 service platforms and electronic interfaces.      medium enterprises.                               ture in the sector is 4.9 billion usd for 2011, it is
      In terms of GDP, Mexico’s outlay on IT          The computer market in Mexico is growing       expected that by 2015 the annual growth rate
 is 1.4% and it is estimated that between 2011     rapidly. Sales of these products will grow from   will stand at 10%. Government, telecommuni-
                                                                                                                                   bUSINESS TIPS




                                                        the iT serVices MarKet is also
                                                      growing, for seVeral reasons.
                                                     while the estiMated exPenditUre
                                                       in the sector is 4.9 billion Usd
                                                        for 2011, it is exPected that by
                                                        2015 the annUal growth rate
                                                                       will stand at 10%.




cations and financial services will be among its     lion 700,000 Mexicans had Internet access.        reflected in the habits of Mexican society
main customers. Also, let’s not forget about the     The development of infrastructure was lim-        which increasingly demands access to IT for
fact that foreign companies operating in Mexi-       ited because it was needed to build highways      work/professional communication, educa-
co increasingly demand such services.                                                                  tion and/or entertainment needs. In various
    In judicial matters, Mexico has been de-           bUsinesses, esPecially sMall                    governmental, academic, business and edu-
veloping diverse legislation that permits the          and MediUM-sized coMPanies,                     cation circles, it is often heard, for instance
regulation of society and it’s relation with tech-     are a natUral MarKet for iT                     how beneficial, Internet access is, to the point
nological information. For example, in the Fed-                 inVestMents.                           that Mexicans increasingly consider it to be
eral Penal Code a penalty of a fine and a prison      gerMan corPorate software                        indispensable.
term is given to anyone who, with malice or             leader saP reVealed in 2010                        IT contributes toward the integration of
with the purpose of profit, interrupts or inter-        that the sMall and MediUM                      markets not only inside a country but also
feres with wireless, wires or fiber optic com-           enterPrises sector is the                     among nations. This not only facilitates the
munications, whether they are telegraphic, tel-        fastest growing segMent in                      development of trade and investment but
ephonic or satellite through which audio, video                    Mexico.                             also the communication that is so neces-
or data signals are transmitted.                          Meanwhile, Us coMPUter                       sary in a world where the death of distance
    In addition, the unauthorized reproduction         coMPany dell Maintains that                     is a growing reality for millions of people. n
of software is also regulated by the Federal          in 2010 30% of its incoMe froM
Copyright Law and piracy is a crime punish-          latin aMerica originated froM
able by imprisonment.                                sMall and MediUM enterPrises.
    In retrospect, 10 years ago, when the Mexi-
can Government decided to the e-Mexico
initiative in motion, the country found itself a     and other means of communication in order
very different situation within the information      to develop the installation of the fiber optic    *Professor and researcher in the Political and
field. At that time, large parts of the country      network.                                          Social Sciences Faculty, National Autonomous
lacked a telephone service and only one mil-            Today the situation is different and that is   University of Mexico (UNAM).
20 Negocios                                                                Photos archiVe




 mexico’s
 burgeoning
 IT Industry
  Mexico’s inforMation technology (it) indUstry is Posting ProMising
  growth on the bacK of aggressiVe PUblic Policies that ProMote
  goVernMent, acadeMic and PriVate-sector sUPPort. cUrrently rated
  foUrth worldwide as a ProVider of it serVices, the coUntry is exPected
  to cliMb to third Position in the MediUM terM.

  by MarÍa eUgenia seVilla
                                                                                               COVER FEATURE Mexican it indUstry




A
                 ccording to Santiago Gutiérrez the majority of countries reported negative solutions, data centers, distance maintenance,
                 Fernández, President of the growth due to the global financial crisis.                online businesses and e-commerce, in addition
                 Mexican Electronics Telecom-          The sector is currently valued in excess of to BPO/BPM, ERP/CRM, web migration, B2B,
                 munications and Information 15 billion usd annually and there are 2,500-plus B2C, B2E, multimedia, technical consultancy
                 Technologies Industries Cham- companies engaged in IT-related activities. These and call center services.
ber (CANIETI, for its acronym in Spanish), to companies employ some 600,000 professionals                 In Mexico, research centers mainly focus on
which some 700 companies are affiliated, Mex- –400,000 of whom specialize in software–, with artificial intelligence, robotics, computer vision,
ico is the world’s main exporter of                                                                                 virtual reality, embedded software
IT services after India, China and                                                                                  and the development of applica-
the Philippines.                           the sector is cUrrently ValUed in excess of 15                           tions related to mobile telephony,
    “In the last decade, the sec-         billion Usd annUally and there are 2,500-PlUs                             triple play and RFID, according
tor’s exports have risen from a         coMPanies engaged in it-related actiVities. these                           to information compiled by the
trifling to over 3.75 billion usd.        coMPanies eMPloy soMe 600,000 Professionals                               Mexican Information Technology
In other words, they have grown          –400,000 of whoM sPecialize in software–, with                             Industry Association (AMITI, for
more than 70-fold”, says Gutiérrez      another 65,000 Joining their ranKs each year on                             its acronym in Spanish), a private
Fernández, adding that “global           aVerage, according to figUres fUrnished by the                             organization that seeks to position
analyst firms project that, if the                            Mexicoit PrograM.                                     IT as a key element of Mexico’s
present climate of support per-                                                                                     competitiveness by promoting the
sists and the industry, government and aca- another 65,000 joining their ranks each year on growth of the industry via the creation of a legal
demics continue to pool their efforts, in just average, according to figures furnished by the and regulatory framework that facilitates the
three years Mexico could be rated the world’s MexicoIT program.                                        conducting of business.
third-most-important IT service provider.”             Covering everything from the basic needs of        Concomitantly, the academic and private
    The sector’s national market value has also small and medium enterprises to specific solu- sectors are cooperating with the government
increased substantially, battling its way out of a tions within the wide range of services they offer, on the development of 24 technological parks
contraction of -2% in 2000 to post double-digit these companies are also involved in the develop- throughout the country, which has some 33
growth in recent years –except in 2009, when ment and manufacture of software, back office clusters in 23 states.
22 Negocios                                                                                                                              Photos archiVe




                                                                                                             growth estiMates for
                                                                                                            the sector Vary between
                                                                                                               10% and 14% for 2011,
                                                                                                                 dePending on the
                                                                                                                soUrce consUlted.
                                                                                                             in any case, gUtiérrez
                                                                                                               fernÁndez belieVes
                                                                                                              “doUble-digit growth
                                                                                                             will alMost certainly
                                                                                                                    continUe.”




                                                                                                           “But we are also making a decisive incur-
                                                                                                       sion into Latin American and European mar-
                                                                                                       kets,” says Gutiérrez Fernández.
                                                                                                           Mexico enjoys numerous advantages that
                                                                                                       allow it to meet demand for services on the
                                                                                                       US market. These include similar time zones, a
                                                                                                       compatible business culture and very competi-
                                                                                                       tive total costs. In fact, the Competitive Alter-
                                                                                                       natives 2010 study conducted by KPMG cites
                                                                                                       Mexico as the country with the lowest cost in-
                                                                                                       dex in the areas of software design, back office
                                                                                                       and call center services.
                                                                                                           Then there are the added benefits of a free
                                                                                                       trade treaty that guarantees the protection of in-
                                                                                                       tellectual property, the free passage of people and
                                                                                                       high-performing bilingual human capital —an
                                                                                                       area in which Mexico is ranked above all other
                                                                                                       Spanish-speaking countries on the continent on
                                                                                                       the A.T. Kearney Global Services Location Index.
                                                                                                           But the pluses Mexico offers as an IT ser-
                                                                                                       vice provider go well beyond nearshoring. An
                                                                                                       extensive network of free trade treaties with 44
                                                                                                       countries provides access to almost one billion
                                                                                                       potential consumers worldwide and Mexico
                                                                                                       has also entered into mutual agreements for
    And while some of the industry’s major              (CMMI), Certification for Meeting Manage-      the promotion and protection of investments
multinationals have set up shop in Mexico, it is        ment (CMM) and Software Industry Process       with 27 nations.
development at a local level that has put Mexi-         Model (MOPROSOFT), is on the rise.                 Furthermore, the incentives offered by the
can firms like Neoris at the top of the list of lead-                                                  Mexican government and the programs orga-
ing IT companies in Latin America, according            COmPETITIVE                                    nized in conjunction with the industry make
to Global Services magazine.                            AdVANTAgES                                     Mexico the perfect IT business option.
    Likewise, the quality of the customer ser-          Geographically speaking, Mexico is the natu-       One such incentive is the Software Indus-
vices rendered by Mexican companies has                 ral supplier of the Latin and North American   try and Information Technology Services De-
been acknowledged by the Brown Wilson An-               markets. Due to its proximity, the US —which   velopment Program (PROSOFT). Introduced
nual Outsourcing Survey, while the number of            accounts for more than two-thirds of global    in 2004 by the Ministry of Economy, this pro-
Mexican companies certified under standards             purchases of IT services— is one of Mexico’s   gram provides financial assistance for project
like Capability Maturity Model Integration              main customers.                                investment and development, with funding put
                                                                                                   COVER FEATURE Mexican it indUstry


forth by state governments and industrial asso-
ciations. In 2008, some 500 companies benefited
from the program and 121 universities are pres-
ently involved in it.
    By 2013, PROSOFT aims to achieve annual
software output of 5 billion usd, which would es-
tablish Mexico as Latin America’s leading devel-
oper of software and digital contents in Spanish.
    Projects like MexicoIT and Mexico FIRST
are also deserving of mention.
    Run by CANIETI together with government
agencies, the goal of MexicoIT is to position the
country brand on the global IT market, par-
ticularly in the US. An offshoot of this has been
increased awareness among target audiences as
to the existence, capacities, benefits and differen-
tiated supply offered by Mexico, which analysts
at Gartner estimate will be the second-most-im-
portant IT services provider worldwide by 2013.
    Mexico FIRST was set up by the Ministry of
Economy with the backing of the World Bank to
develop world-class, specialized human capital
in the sector that will help position Mexico as a
preferred nearshoring destination. During 2008
and 2009, over 12,000 people were trained with
funding put up by this program, at least 80% of
whom are expected to be certified in its various
areas of specialization.
    The industry’s interests are represented by a
series of organizations, such as CANIETI, AMI-
TI, the Mexican Association of Electronic Com-
merce Standards (AMECE, for its acronym in
Spanish), the National Association of Informa-
tion and Communications Technology Distribu-
tors (ANADIC, for its acronym in Spanish) and
the Productive Electronic Chain Supply Asso-
ciation (CADELEC, for its acronym in Spanish).
    Mexico also has the advantage of being a
large country, with 72% of its states possessing       and the IT industry continue to work togeth-        Mexico enJoys nUMeroUs
productive capacity in the sector. And since it        er as they have been doing so far.                 adVantages that allow it
has several cities acting as supply centers, this          The idea is to build up an export industry         to Meet deMand for
gives it an edge over countries that depend on         with diversified target markets by promoting de-   serVices on the Us MarKet.
the availability of labor in one single city.          velopment and growth on a global level. Govern-       these inclUde siMilar
                                                       ment initiatives to this effect should be teamed    tiMe zones, a coMPatible
gROwTH                                                 with academic efforts geared towards produc-       bUsiness cUltUre and Very
PROSPECTS                                              ing quality human capital capable of competing      coMPetitiVe total costs.
Growth estimates for the sector vary between           on a constantly changing market.                     in fact, the coMPeTiTive
10% and 14% for 2011, depending on the source              According to Gutiérrez Fernández, “this         AlTerNATives 2010 stUdy
consulted.                                             is what is required to continue positioning            condUcted by KPMg
     In any case, Gutiérrez Fernández believes         the country as a high-caliber global player            cites Mexico as the
“double-digit growth will almost certainly             and progress from the current nearshore            coUntry with the lowest
continue,” but warns that, because this is             concept to differentiators that create value       cost index in the areas of
a global industry subject to variables and             compared to other global competitors, just as            software design,
world events like a boom or a global crisis            we did when we went from being a low-cost             bacK office and call
that can have a directly proportional impact,          solution to one that offered the advantages of            center serVices
it is essential that the government, academics         the nearshore concept.” n
24 Negocios                              Photos courtesy of softteK




                     A
                                        mid a landscape dominated
                                        by offshore services from the




 sofTTek:
                                        Indian subcontinent, Softtek
                                        has established itself as Latin
                                        America’s largest independent
                     provider of IT services. The company started



 ALwAys
                     out nearly three decades ago and now presents
                     itself as the leading Latin American company
                     offering IT services and business processes re-
                     lated to applications, BPO, IT infrastructure sup-



 CLose
                     port and software products.
                         Its clients are Fortune 500 and Fortune1000
                     companies, all leaders in their field of expertise,
                     in over 20 countries. After an active process of
                     internationalization, the company has offices in

 The Mexican iT      30 Latin American countries, nine global deliv-
                     ery centers in Brazil, Mexico, Spain, China and

 soluTions coMpany   Argentina, and employs about 6,000 people
                     worldwide. Its turnover amounts to about 300

 sofTTek harvesTs    million usd annually. Over 70% of its income
                     comes from outside Mexico, either for exported

 global success      services and for services provided directly in
                     countries like Brazil and Argentina.

 wiTh iTs concepT    HISTORy
 of nearshore        Recognizing the lack of companies that devel-

 ouTsourcing         oped software, Gerardo López García founded
                     Softtek in 1982, in the northern city of Monterrey,
                     Mexico. He was soon joined by other visionaries
                     who then became partners. Amongst them was
                     Blanca Treviño, Softtek’s current CEO.
                         Softtek soon began expanding into Latin
                     America by opening its first offices in Peru,
                     Brazil and Argentina. But its real achievement
                     would take place in 1996 a little to the north,
                     when the company set its sights on a US mar-
                     ket overwhelmed by the imminence of the mil-
                     lennium and the dreaded Y2K.
                         Between the rush to adjust the systems for
                     the new century and the Internet boom, the US
                     opted for outsourcing, which contributed to the
                     sprawl of companies in countries like India.
                         “We saw an opportunity there,” recalls Ale-
                     jandro Camino, Softtek’s VP of Marketing &
                     Communications. “The global talent was not
                     enough to meet these needs,” he continues.
                         Softtek managed to get its first major account
                     in the US in 1997 and that relationship has not
                     stopped growing, to the point that the US now ac-
                     counts for 40% of the company’s revenues and is
                     Softtek’s major market in terms of volume.
                                                                                                    mExICO’S PARTNER softteK


THE AdVANTAgES                                               SERVICES
OF PROxImITy:
NEAR SHORE                                                   > Application-Related Service
                                                             > Business Process Outsourcing
By 1997 Softtek introduced the near shore services           > IT Infrastructure Support
concept with the creation of its Global Delivery Cen-        > Software Products and Associated Services
ter in Monterrey, Mexico, the first of its kind in Latin
America. Since then, near shore services have been
key to Softtek’s success.                                    AwARdS ANd dISTINCTIONS
    “Primarily, the idea was born to close the gaps of
distance, time, culture and in many cases of costs, be-      SEI CmmI Level 5
tween the US and Mexico,” explains Camino. Softtek           SIx SIgmA Corporate Program
set the strategy of offering US companies an alternative     ISO 9001:2008 (for “Procurement Services” from Aguascalientes, Mexico, and
solution to offshore outsourcing, which took advantage       for “Design, Development, Support and IT application improvements”
of both the tangible benefits of the proximity between        in Argentina)
Mexico and the US and the logistical benefits of sharing     ISO 9001:2008 CERTIFICATION (for Development, Maintenance &
time zones, the large number of daily flights between        Application Support in Brazil)
the countries, legal and commercial infrastructure al-       IAOP gLObAL OUTSOURCINg 100 LIST, 2009-2010 
ready in place and the similarities in business culture.     10 SAP AwARd OF ExCELLENCE in “Best Regional Partner” category
The proposal was also efficient in the matter of cost,       gARTNER bEST SOLUTION dELIVERy AwARd 2004
because although one would think that Mexico had a           bUSINESSwEEk Emerging Outsourcing Players
disadvantage compared with countries like India, where       THE gLObAL SERVICES 100 - Top Company to Watch South of the Border
the cost of living and wages are lower, Softtek devised a    2007 & 2008 and Top Company to Watch in Latin America 2006 by neoIT and
way to confront and overcome it.                             Global Services Magazine
    “We compensate for this in two ways: physical prox-      gREAT PLACE TO wORk INSTITUTE’S Best Places to Work For: Argentina,
imity and productivity and efficiency,” explains Cami-       Brazil and Mexico
no, adding that being in the same time zone allows to        ONLy LATIN AmERICAN COmPANy IN gARTNER’S
have more people working in the area at a lower cost,        Magic Quadrant for Offshore Application Services 2006 & 2007
which in this case is Mexico. Additionally, the con-         NAmEd AS A “STRONg PERFORmER” for SAP Implementation Services
struction of process infrastructure as well as the adop-     by Forrester
tion of worldwide accepted quality control practices
in IT has allowed Softtek to automate processes and
given it the tools to reach the superior levels of produc-
tivity needed to compensate for the lower costs offered
in other parts of the world.
    Having succeeded in this endeavour, the next logi-
cal step was to repeat that experience giving way to
the era of global near shore. Under the same model
of services rendered from a neighboring country, Soft-
tek offers its services to Europe from Spain, to South
America from Brazil or Argentina and to Asia from
China. Proximity to its clients along with the benefit
of lower costs and higher productivity also allow the
company to offer integrated solutions like the so called
“follow-the-sun” ones, which provide continuous ser-
vice to the global companies.
    Today, Softtek’s future plans are focused in Mexico,
Brazil and the US. The company aims to increase the
added value of its clients through its applications and
services. n

www.softtek.com
26 Negocios                 Photo courtesy of soluciones tecnológicas




              soLuCiones
              TeCnoLógiCAs
              Flying High
                                                                                  mExICO’S PARTNER solUciones tecnológicas




                 FounDeD 20 years ago, this mexican comPany has workeD with
                 automotive manuFacturers such as ForD, auDi anD volkswagen.
                 soluciones tecnológicas is now PreParing For take-oFF in the
                 aerosPace inDustry anD has an excellent business carD: the eu’s seal
                 oF e-excellence awarDeD in march 2011.




  S
                oluciones Tecnológicas, a Mexi-     explicit intent to grow, increase our interna-           “To begin with, I should say that a number
                can company with 20 years’          tional presence and expand our products to           of interesting things have come together for
                experience in the automotive        include the aerospace, telemetry and mobility        us. On one hand you have the aerospace mar-
                sector, has taken a giant step      industries.”                                         ket which is very attractive. The aerospace
                forward: it has crossed the At-                                                          and defense communities around the world
lantic and received an award from the recieved      FROm THE gROUNd UP...                                have their eyes on Mexico as the next strategic
Union (EU), and is exploring the aerospace, te-     IN 20 yEARS                                          location. There are external forces which tell
lemetry and mobility sectors.                       In 2011, Soluciones Tecnológicas celebrates its      us that this market is set to grow and there will
    In March 2011, the company from Mexico’s        20th anniversary. Based in Guadalajara, the          be serious growth opportunities for those who
western state of Jalisco was awarded the EU’s       company has earned the loyalty of at least 30 cli-   enter the sector,” says Ramírez. He adds: “Also,
Seal of e-Excellence for innovative technologi-     ents, mostly in the automotive sector. Firms like    internally, we’ve got the experience from the
cal companies. The award was given for the          Audi, Continental, Ford, Robert Bosch, Takata,       automotive industry. That means the offer of
business model with which Soluciones Tec-           TRW and Volkswagen are among its clients.            value can adjust to potential aerospace and
nológicas has grown over its two decades of ex-         Initially created as a small design and en-      defense clients. This is now the natural way
istence, says Eduardo Ramírez, the company’s        gineering company, Soluciones Tecnológicas           forward because there are so many projects
Business Development Director.                      began making its own path toward specializing        that need extra talent because the existing
    “When we decided to compete for this prize      in products ranging from design, development,        resources are being overwhelmed. Our ad-
–opened for the first time to Latin American        integration and support of high-performance          vantage over countries in Asia that usually
countries– we submitted our business model.         data/image acquisition and instrumentation           undertake this kind of project is that they’re
We emphasized our client-based strategy and         systems for the automotive industry.                 not as close to the US.”
our plans for future growth. Thanks to that,            Soluciones Tecnológicas employs some 50              In the past two years, Soluciones Tecnológi-
we were the only company from Jalisco con-          specialist personnel. Each year the company          cas has attended fairs, conventions and inter-
sidered for the special mention seal,” explains     generates around 5 million usd in each of its        national events, all with a view to exploring the
Ramírez.                                            business units and develops around 12 specific       aerospace, telemetry and mobility sectors. Com-
    The prize –awarded by the European Mul-         projects.                                            panies from France, Germany and Spain are
timedia Forum– was given to 36 companies in             “Through the development of these applica-       all interested in incorporating Soluciones Tec-
the platinum, gold and silver categories. The       tions we realized that there was a way of creat-     nológicas into their supply chain, says Ramírez.
award ceremony, in which Soluciones Tec-            ing added intellectual value. As an engineering          “Specifically in these countries, we’ve been
nológicas received the silver seal together with    company we decided to add value to what was          analyzing how to insert ourselves into their
14 companies from various EU countries, was         being manufactured in Japan, Germany and             supply chains and they’re interested because
held during the CeBIT Trade Fair that took          the US and all this integration of engineer-         they’re waiting for packets of work and that’s
place in Hannover in March 2011, showcasing         ing has given us a significant advantage and         where we come in, winning contracts that rep-
digital IT and telecommunications.                  helped us play a key role in the sector,” explains   resent additional challenges,” he adds.
    “This prize clearly shows the interest of Eu-   Ramírez. “Working in development engineer-               Eduardo Ramírez concludes by saying that,
ropean countries that recognize and promote         ing has shown us how to incorporate added            as Soluciones Tecnológicas enters its third de-
the business aspect of technological companies.     intellectual value to what we do. We’ve become       cade it is set to increase its product offer in the
It also helps create new links between compa-       a two-headed monster.”                               automotive industry that the company knows
nies in the EU and Latin America,” points out           The US, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Venezuela,    so well and to spread its wings and soar into the
Ramírez.                                            Brazil and Argentina are the main markets for        aerospace and defense industry, as well as the
    The businessman goes on to explain: “Our        Soluciones Tecnológicas’ automotive products.        telemetry and mobility sectors. n
business model was interesting to them for its      Now the company is beginning to penetrate the
short, medium and long-term application, the        aerospace sector in Germany, France and Spain.       www.st-mx.com
28 Negocios                                                                                                                               Photo archiVe




siwAy
From Selling Food
to Mass Internet Access
The company, set up by five young partners, brings
the Internet to low-income housing developments
and exports its software to Europe


P
            roviding global web access is the          The idea of democratizing the Internet           mission, was willing to install the routers on its
            goal, Siway is working to achieve it   was born of serious work and a favorable en-         posts and Mexico City’s Miguel Hidalgo district
            in Mexico. The company began de-       vironment. The company, a diverse group of           was willing to provide 35,000 usd to install the
            veloping software to sell food and     professionals including lawyers, economists          service at 70 locations.
continued with another program to channel          and a mechatronical engineer, began work                 Thanks to Siway, since 2008 the public
advertising to target audiences. Siway now         in 2007. The partners used their own funds           and wireless Internet access in that area of
exports its software to Europe, manages 1.3        and then had the support of the Prosoft pro-         Mexico City has recorded 1,000 unique visi-
million client accounts and has a plan to pro-     gram, coordinated by Mexico’s Ministry of            tors on a daily basis. At the same time, the
vide Internet access to low-income housing         Economy.                                             district authorities know how many people
developments across Mexico.                            The initial objective has changed from           are connected to the Internet, and what
    Siway was founded by five young entre-         selling food over the Internet to developing a       their age and location are. That data is used
preneurs aged under 30 years old: Juan and         commercial information management soft-              to generate special messages and notices.
Gulberto Marín, José Miguel Menéndez, Ro-          ware. “We created a program to make adver-               In 2009, the company’s partners realized
drigo Obregón and José Carlos Quiroz.              tising more efficient. When users start their        that the historic centers of Tlaxcala and their
    So far they’ve given Internet access to        session with a browser, the software takes           home town of Puebla – both in Mexico’s cen-
7,000 low-income housing developments but          them to a screen where they must provide,            tral region – needed the service. That same
they’re aiming higher. José Carlos Quiroz says     just once, their age, gender, location, and email.   year, 100 free connection points were made
that, with the backing of Mexico’s National        We don’t share this information with compa-          available in Puebla, earning it the VI Premio
Workers’ Housing Fund Institute (Infonavit,        nies or governments, but we use it for targeted      Iberoamericano de Ciudades Digitales, a pri-
for its acronym in Spanish), their micro-sized     advertising and segmenting message sending,”         ze for internet-connected cities awarded by
company is negotiating with some of Mexico’s       explains José Carlos Quiroz.                         the Ibero-American Association of Research
largest low-income housing construction com-           The second step was to search for private        Centers and Telecommunication Enterprises
panies to include Internet infrastructure, with    companies willing to finance public networ-          (AHCIET, for its acronym in Spanish).
Siway managing the network service at an           ks; the team found out that Mexico’s national            The evaluation criteria required ICT ser-
affordable cost.                                   electricity company, the Federal Electricity Co-     vices in the competing cities to be innovative
                                                      mExICO’S PARTNER siway

and an effective tool for citizens and their lo-
cal governments to communicate. According
to the jury, Puebla’s project “stood out for its
excellent concept, plan and management.”
     Siway is currently negotiating with the
Mexico City government about the possibility
of installing a public network in Mexico City’s
Zócalo, or main square.
     José Carlos Quiroz admits that these nego-
tiations are not always easy for a single reason:
the youth of the business partners. Although
their age does not imply any less responsibility
or common sense: “We’re the only company
that installs and provides technical support
all the time. All our equipment is insured and,
if it’s stolen, we can replace it right away. Our
users are protected from spam, pornography
and extreme violence,” he says.
     The business is going well and a promising
future beckons. In 2010, the project Internet
para todos (Internet for all) was one of the fi-
nalists in the Iniciativa México program which
awarded it 750,000 Mexican pesos (around
65,000 usd), together with another 750,000
pesos from Mexico’s federal government. The
aim is to “create public networks that are free
and self-sustaining through advertising. Go-
vernments requesting them only cover the
cost of the initial infrastructure. And each
household using the service will pay just 99
pesos [8.5 usd] a month for the first year. In
the second year, 77% of that fee will be used
to expand the network and purchase compu-
ters,” explains José Carlos Quiroz.
     OECD data explains the social advantages
of the program. For each 10% increase in ac-
cess to broadband services, the country’s per
capita GDP increases by 1%.
     The good news keep coming and business is
growing. Recently, Siway’s software was exported
for the Spanish company Wiftel’s Edriaaz pla-
tform. The Mexican software will also be used to
provide Internet coverage at all concerts organi-
zed by Live Nation in stadiums or indoor venues
across Spain. Siway will manage the access and
control the network from Mexico.
     Why choose Siway’s software from such
a wide offer? José Carlos Quiroz lists the five
reasons: “It’s affordable. It’s flexible –there are
no licenses because it’s installed automatically
within the Internet. It’s user-friendly –anyone
can download it without any programming ex-
perience and therefore it cuts costs. It’s simple
–it can be configured for most routers on the
market. And the software is 100% Mexican.” n

www.siway.com
30 Negocios                                    Photos archiVe




kIO NETwORkS
Mission critical
it solUtions
Booting up in 2001 with an initial
investment of 50 million usd, KIO
Networks now offers IT solutions on a par
with its global competitors and has entered
into an alliance with Internet giant Google.
                                                                                                         mExICO’S PARTNER Kio networKs




K
                    IO Networks emerged ten          medium-sized companies. This model includes          market in video surveillance and information
                    years ago to meet demand         KIO Networks Hosting, which is basically a           technology. Among other things, KIO Busi-
                    for mission critical IT ser-     gateway to reliable technological infrastruc-        ness Security offers comprehensive, unified
                    vices by Mexican companies.      ture.                                                solutions and services for the supply, instal-
                    Since then, it has specialized                                                        lation, configuration, testing, management,
in providing the same solutions as its global          Kio networKs entered                               support and maintenance of infrastructure
competitors, with the exception that it em-                into a strategic                               and components for the habilitation of digital
ploys Mexican talent and creativity.                        alliance with                                 surveillance systems.
     In 2001, with start-up capital of 50 million         california-based                                    As part of its privacy policy, KIO Networks
usd, the company set up its first data center               google in 2009                                employs state-of the-art technology to protect
in Santa Fe, an exclusive business district of           for the MarKeting                                information furnished by users. This technology
Mexico City. Initially it began operations in 700          of google aPPs.                                encrypts, codifies and prevents the interception
square meters of office space that currently                                                              of information provided over the Internet, in-
house more than 2,000 servers.                           The company’s hosting services rely on           cluding credit card data and e-mail addresses.
     Today the company has a total of 11 data        high-security mission critical data centers. Iris
centers spread over three complexes. During          and proximity detection biometrics guarantee         STRATEgIC ALLIES
its first five years of operations, KIO Networks     total privacy and top security for the customer,
grew an incredible 50%, to the extent that it        while a team of experts certified in all types of    KIO Networks entered into a strategic alliance
now sets the benchmark in Mexico for IT ser-         technological platforms, active communica-           with California-based Google in 2009 for the
vices and solutions supported by secure and          tions equipment, networks, Internet and secu-        marketing of Google Apps. “Any company,
reliable data centers. And it has done that with-    rity make this a unique service that can simul-      no matter what its size, can exploit the oper-
out sacrificing quality standards, offering new      taneously manage, operate, support and moni-         ating advantages of Google Apps for the sole
generation technologies on a par with or better      tor the solutions requested by the customer.         purpose of improving productivity,” said then
than those offered by its global competitors.        Some of the applications KIO Networks man-           Sergio Ronsegaus, Executive Director of KIO
     KIO Networks’ data centers are essential        ages include SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Docu-          Networks.
to the operation and support of its mission          mentum, Siebel, i2 and Google Apps. Likewise,            Together, KIO and Google offer companies
critical technological infrastructure. Covering      an automated management and operation                25 GB of storage and access to Google’s web
8,000 square meters, the design attributes of its    model provides greater availability and better       applications, such as e-mail, calendar, docu-
three centers include: physical security –grade      services, which translates into lower operating      ments, instant messaging and home pages,
six military level–, continuity, robust telecom-     costs for the customer.                              among others.
munications and Internet infrastructure, and             Security is another factor that has built            As part of its growth strategy, in February
plants that can generate enough electricity to       up customer confidence in KIO Networks, so           KIO Networks and El Corte Inglés of Spain
last eight days without refueling, to name just      it should come as no surprise that KIO Busi-         joined forces and put up 15 million usd to create
a few. One of the advantages of these centers        ness Security is as important a branch of the        Hiku, a firm specializing in the management of
is that they are hooked up to a powerful, high-      company as its data centers and the manage-          document and paperless services, including the
speed global network.                                ment of IT solutions. This division renders          collection, storage, monitoring and even the de-
     Outsourcing is the key to the success of        third-party outsourcing services. The focus          struction of company data where required. n
KIO Networks’ business model, which enables          here is on corporate security, with custom-
the company to provide services for large and        ers benefiting from the best practices on the        www.kionetworks.com
32 Negocios                                                                                                                             illustration oldeMar




  lights, caMera, action!
  mexican Film inDustry
  Firing uP the engines

D
               uring the Mexican Cinema Golden         related to it, such as post production laboratories       According to IMCINE, every year Mexico is
               Age –1930s to 1960s– films pro-         and international exhibition chains, among oth-       host to at least ten to twelve large foreign pro-
               duced in the country enjoyed suc-       ers. This is coupled with a series of comparative     ductions. Each one spends between 8 million
               cess throughout Latin America.          advantages that make Mexico an attractive place       and 10 million usd, representing an annual profit
    In that time, many production companies            for various activities related to the filmmaking      of between 120 million and 130 million usd. IM-
were born and the international film industry          process: geographical proximity to the US, low        CINE’s statistics reveal that, due to its geographi-
started to see Mexico as an interesting destina-       relative costs, and a variety of landscapes and       cal proximity, US productions are the ones that
tion for film producing.                               locations.”                                           use Mexico for filming most frequently. France
    In 1963, Elvis Presley came to Mexico to film          Hugo Villa, Director of Film Production Sup-      and Spain are the European countries, which
Fun in Acapulco. In that time it was hugely ex-        port at the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE, for       predominantly choose to film in Mexico, the lat-
pensive to transport the heavy filming kit, cam-       its acronym in Spanish), agrees: “Foreign pro-        ter for language reasons. For the same reason, a
eras, materials and a cohort of specialists to oper-   ductions filmed in Mexico are now much better         number of Latin American countries, like Argen-
ate it all.                                            catered for, with top-quality specialists who are     tina, Brazil, Uruguay, Cuba and Bolivia, choose
    But since then, things have changed consid-        generally bilingual. Our workforce is completely      Mexican locations.
erably, not only because the equipment is much         au fait with film work and this is one of our main        “Currently Mexico City is top choice for for-
more manageable but also, and especially, be-          competitive advantages, as producers only have        eign productions. You could say that 70% of films
cause, as opposed to the 1960s, Mexico is now          to bring the bare essentials to Mexico. They can      produced in Mexico take place in the country’s
able to offer big film producers much more than        travel with smaller teams and they can hire the       capital”, explains Hugo Villa.
beautiful locations and a good climate. Mexico’s       rest of their people here. Films like Apocalypto          Also, Mexico City has an ace up its sleeve. The
appeal as a filming destination has grown.             [Mel Gibson, 2006], The Legend of Zorro [Martin       Estudios Churubusco film studio is located in the
    According to the report The Film Industry in       Campbell, 2005] and Troy [Wolfgang Petersen,          Mexican capital, with sets suitable for large-scale
Mexico and its participation in the global value       2004] are just some examples of films that em-        productions that are unique throughout Latin
chain, published by the Subregional Headquar-          ployed Mexican labor extensively,” he says.           America and with industry-related services that
ters in Mexico of the Economic Commission                  According to the United Nations, Mexico           easily match the quality of other international
for Latin America’s (ECLA): “Mexico has a sig-         holds the twentieth position in the world in cre-     studios.
nificant capacity to produce and distribute films      ativity and it’s the only Latin American country
but also to provide services to foreign producers      to appear in the ranking. The creative industries
looking to film in the country. The long history       sector altogether accounted for 6.7% of Gross
of the Mexican film industry, along with a do-         Domestic Produt (GDP) in 2008, and represent-
mestic market with high attendance to cinemas          ed 11% of the jobs generated in Mexico. Within
–compared with other developed countries– has          the so called creative industries, cinema account-
allowed the development of human talent, physi-        ed for almost 1.5% of GDP (including the income
cal facilities for filming and service companies       generated by exhibition chains).
                                                                                                SPECIAL FEATURE Mexican filM indUstry


     Even so, states like Morelos, Puebla, Veracruz       IMCINE’s figures show that during 2009 the          and investment support that benefits producers,
and Zacatecas seem to be making their presence        institute collaborated on the production of 70          marketers and exhibitors of national films.
felt, after years of the desert and beach locations   film projects, 44 of which were foreign. And that           The Fund for Quality Film Production (Fo-
in states like Durango and Baja California being      does not include commercials, which are now             procine, for its acronym in Spanish) is a trust fund
the star attractions.                                 made to the same standard as films. In 2009, 27         that publishes invitations for full-length film (75
                                                      large-scale commercial productions were filmed          minutes or longer) production and post-produc-
and they Filmed Happily Ever after                    in Mexico, 15 of which were foreign.                    tion support in the areas of fiction, documenta-
The Mexican Government has identified inno-               Eficine 226 is a fiscal incentive for taxpayers     ries and animation.
vation and creativity as key factors in the coun-     that is granted by Article 226 of the Income Tax            The star among incentives to filmmaking
try’s growth. Thus, fostering creative industries     Law. It supports production and post-production         is the newly created Support Program for the
has become a central feature in the develop-          of full-length fiction, animation and documentary       High-Impact Film and Audiovisual Industry
ment of national policies and programs. Film-         films. Producers can use the financing under Ar-        (Fondo Proaudiovisual), a program that grants
making is no exception.                               ticle 226 of the Income Tax Law, either to make         an incentive of up to 7.5% of production expen-
    Co-production is a formula that is in-            films with exclusively Mexican content or to co-        diture in Mexico, which together with a VAT re-
creasingly applied in the global market and           produce projects with content from other coun-          fund to which foreign productions are entitled in
in Mexico.                                            tries. No small incentive.                              Mexico, can represent a net reimbursement of
    The Mexican film industry is always look-             “This investment fund, which does not come          up to 17.5% of expenditure in national territory.
ing for ways to encourage Mexican filmmakers          from the public purse but instead is paid by the            There is something about Mexico that cap-
to create alliances with foreign colleagues.          taxpayer himself, has strengthened Mexican film-        tures people’s hearts and fascinates them in the
    Mexico has co-production agreements               makers and producers and converted them into            same way a good movie does. Otherwise it would
with 26 countries, among them, the Ibermedia          major players within the international film scene,      be hard to explain why so many filmmakers
Program for example, created in 1997, has suc-        especially in Latin America,” says Villa.               choose to return to film in Mexico. The Mexican
cessfully raised funds to provide an incentive            The Investment and Incentive Fund for the           film industry is now firing up its engines to con-
for Spanish and Latin American producers to           Film Industry (Fidecine, for its acronym in Span-       solidate as a major player in the global game of
work on co-productions.                               ish) is a system of financial, securities, incentives   creative industries. n
34 Negocios                                                                                                                                    Photo archiVe




  Sin Sentido Films:
  Hollywood Experience,
  Adapted for Mexico
  owned and managed by former Mexican line producers, sin sentido films
  is a production company that is both producing national movies
  and co-producing foreign films made in Mexico.

  by antonio VÁzQUez




M
                          ariachi Gringo is the sto-   tresses Martha Higareda, Adriana Barraza and         get together and produce our own projects. We
                          ry of an American who        the singer Lila Downs,” says the filmmaker.          offer production services, especially for foreign
                          comes to Mexico with             Sin Sentido Films is just 18 months old          companies filming in Mexico,” explains Cárde-
                          a dream of becoming a        and employs 200 people. However, its found-          nas.
                          mariachi. His passionate     ers, Alejandra Cárdenas, Rafael Cuervo and               As well as Mariachi Gringo, Sin Sentido
journey to become a popular Mexican musi-              Ramiro Ruiz are veterans in the field having         Films is participating in another Mexican pro-
cian takes the US actor Shawn Ashmore (X-              worked in films as well as in commercials and        duction to be released in October: Espacio In-
Men, 2006) on a series of comic and romantic           serials for television.                              terior, a film that tells the story of an architect
adventures in places such as Mexico City and               Rafael Cuervo, for example, has worked as a      who was kidnapped in Mexico in the 1990s.
Guadalajara.                                           line producer for films such as Babel and Troy,          “It’s based on true events. It’s the survival
    The film is produced by Sin Sentido Films          starring Brad Pitt, Titanic, with Leonardo Di-       story of a man who was locked up inside a
and is currently in post production with a re-         Caprio and Kate Winslet, Jarhead, by director        small 6.5 by 10-foot room for nine months. It’s
lease date planned for the second half of 2012,        Sam Mendes, and Abel, directed by Diego Luna.        a film that shows this man’s strength,” explains
according to Alejandra Cárdenas, one of the                “Each of us, separately or in a team, have al-   Alejandra Cárdenas.
founding company’s partners.                           ways worked in film, from being production as-           The company is also working on internation-
    “This is our first film as producers and our       sistants or line producers to what you could call    al productions such as Flight of the Butterflies, a
first project with funds from Sin Sentido Films. It    film administrators –in charge of logistics, han-    co-production between Canada and England.
was filmed between November and December               dling budgets, making sure everything’s ready            “We have work for the whole year ahead.
2010, with Ashmore working with Mexican ac-            on the set. Eighteen months ago we decided to        We have several projects in the pipeline for our
                                                                                                  mExICO’S PARTNER sin sentido filMs




own films and we’re looking for funds which are      sin sentido filMs is JUst 18                        films up to a maximum of 10% of the equivalent
increasingly available in Mexico,” says Cárdenas.    Months old and eMPloys                              income tax payable for the fiscal year in question.
                                                      200 PeoPle. howeVer, its                                In 2009, that new instrument had already
TAx INCENTIVES                                          foUnders, aleJandra                              increased Mexico’s film production. It cre-
FOR FILmmAkERS                                       cÁrdenas, rafael cUerVo                             ated 135,000 direct jobs and stimulated hun-
“The future is bright for film in Mexico –as long        and raMiro rUiz are                             dreds of projects. The Mexican film industry
as we use the incentives wisely and produce high-       Veterans in the field                            is one of the country’s top-10 income genera-
quality films,” says Alejandra Cárdenas, who              haVing worKed in                               tors and between 2006 and 2009, box office
also mentions that, compared to previous years,           filMs as well as in                            takings totaled over 100 million usd.
producers now have access to tax incentives that           coMMercials and                                    “The deal with article 226 of the Income Tax
yield resources of approximately 2.6 million usd       serials for teleVision.                           Law is that it helps to open international doors
for film making.                                                                                         for the Mexican film industry, to increase avail-
    “Before, you couldn’t count on more than            Article 226 of Mexico’s Income Tax Law sets      able funds and produce higher quality films.
85,000 usd. But now the Income Tax Incentive         out “a tax incentive for those liable to income     It’s a great incentive that we have taken advan-
226 makes it possible for companies to include       tax: a fiscal credit equivalent to the amount       tage of because there’s nothing similar in other
the resources to make a film within their annual     spent during the tax period in question on in-      countries. That shows the Mexican film indus-
taxation. You could call it free money: it’s not a   vestment projects in Mexican film productions.”     try is going for gold,” concludes Cárdenas. n
risk capital investment but support from the            That acts as an incentive for the private sec-
government,” says the filmmaker.                     tor to contribute to the production of Mexican      www.sinsentidofilms.com
36 Negocios                                                                                                          Photos courtesy of cineconcepto




  CINECONCEPTO
  3d innoVation
  and the retUrn
  of the
  “seVenth art”
  CineConcepto is the pioneering
  Latin American company in the
  application of 3D technology
  from the script to the final cut.




T
                he upcoming launch of a new          training those involved in the advertising pro-   concepts” behind the process. And in Mexico,
                product line for the multinational   cess, from the script writer to the editor, as    ideas are everywhere.
                company Procter & Gamble with        well as raising clients’ awareness.                    “Our company is all about promoting Mexi-
                a 3D commercial will enshrine            3D promises to be the panacea for the ad-     can talent. We have a constant flow of projects
                the Mexican production com-          vertising world. CineConcepto is sure that this   throughout the year and new technologies will
pany CineConcepto’s role as the pioneer in Latin     technology achieves brand awareness four          lead us to create jobs and give specialist train-
America in using this film technology to promote     times greater than 2D. And it’s flexible too.     ing to more people in producing audiovisual
a product –from the script to the final cut.         After producing a commercial using 3D imag-       advertising: script writers, art directors and
    CineConcepto –one of the most important          ery you can make versions on all 3D and 2D        photographers, among others,” explains
production companies in Mexico– intends to           platforms as used in multimedia campaigns.             “If Werner Herzog has dared to use 3D,
work closely with the new 3D technology as           You can also convert a commercial made in         then that’s a sign that everyone should be doing
it penetrates the cinema, Internet and home          2D into 3D.                                       it,” says Gerardo Tagle. “3D is a challenge for the
TV markets around the world. The company                 But the key thing is to have a big idea, as   creative industry; a wing, a muscle,” he adds.
is well placed to take the lead. No other film       the German director Werner Herzog said at              CineConcepto has the authority to make
comapany in Latin America has the infra-             the end of March during the Guadalajara In-       technological innovations. The company was
structure and skill to make 3D a daily image         ternational Film Festival, when talking about     founded in 1976 by Francisco Murguía, who
on cinema, Internet and TV screens.                  his first 3D film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams.      went into partnership with Fred Clapp almost
    In the words of one of CineConcepto’s ex-            Gerardo Tagle agrees with the director        a decade later. The founders and new in-house
ecutive producers, Gerardo Tagle, being first        of Nosferatu: 3D doesn’t just imply having        directors include Rigoberto Castañeda, Chris-
is both a source of satisfaction and a huge re-      the technical skills to handle a camera and a     tian Murguía, Lorena de Fátima and Salvi Al-
sponsibility, since it includes beating a path,      computer. There have to be people with “3D        varado and producers as Gerardo Tagle, Leda
                                                                                                   mExICO’S PARTNER cineconcePto




Barham, Camilo Falcón, Pablo Camacho, San- new office intends to showcase Mexican talent the production company. To stage this return
dra Quintero and more.                               to the world –which to some extent converges to the film sets, CineConcepto will take ad-
    Together they have made some 4,000 in the US – and to create synergies with differ- vantage of the Mexican government’s Fondo
commercials. Their clients include US Cel- ent companies in order to bring new projects Proaudiovisual –a fund created to promote
lular, Burger King USA, JC Penney, Nestle, to CineConcepto’s Mexican office.                            investment in film and audiovisual industries
Visa, Walmart, Telmex, Peugeot,                                                                                     with direct support for produc-
Campbells, BBVA Bancomer,                        3d ProMises to be the Panacea for the                              tions hiring Mexican talent and
Honda, Sony, Televisa, Kellogg’s,         adVertising world. cineconcePto is sUre that                              companies.
HSBC, Canon, Pepsi, AT&T, Coca-             this technology achieVes brand awareness                                    Francisco Murguía expands on
Cola, Chrysler, Federal Express,                        foUr tiMes greater than 2d.                                 the company’s goal. He says that
L’Oreal/Miss Clairol, McDonald’s             so far, no other ProdUction hoUse in latin                             with their wealth of experience and
USA, Mastercard USA, Pontiac,              aMerica has the infrastrUctUre and sKill to                              funds from the federal government:
and Volkswagen.                               MaKe 3d a daily iMage on cineMa, internet                             “We want to be one of the top-five
    The company has also pro-                                    and tV screens                                     film producers in Mexico. Five
duced 30 documentaries and co-                                                                                      Mexican directors who form the
produced feature-length Mexican films as Ca-             Their own projects are set to go far. In 2012, nucleus of CineConcepto have had success in
beza de Vaca (1990) and Mi Querido Tom Mix the company will take its finger off the pause various film genres. And it is time for Mexico to
(1991).                                              button on its film work, which it pressed in the heed the calling to become a developed coun-
    In March 2005, CineConcepto opened an 1990s, and is returning to the fray with Cine- try,” he states. n
office in Miami, Florida, to offer its services to Concepto Films. Gerardo Tagle eplains that the
foreign markets. Gerardo Tagle says that this new business was thought out as a branch of www.cineconcepto.com
38 Negocios                                                                   Photo ficg 26/Michel aMado




  The guadalajara
  international film festival
  mixing business with Films
  Organizers of the Guadalajara International Film Festival calculate that 500 business
  meetings took place this year between March 25 and April 1
                                                        mExICO’S PARTNER gUadalaJara international filM festiVal



   the guadalajara international
   film festival in numbers

   1,125 companies represented from                   1200 titles registered for the 9th ibero-           72 sales agents.
   the film industry, with 743 people                 american film Market: 380 feature-
   participating.                                     length films, 354 documentaries and                 122 accredited producers at the
                                                      466 shorts. 476 Mexican, 193 spanish,               guadalajara film Market & Producers
   40 countries represented.                          162 argentinean and 98 brazilian films.             network.
   13,500 square feet for the film Market.
                                                      136 buyers, distributors, lead buyers               16 stands set up by companies and
   45.26% growth, compared to 2010.                   and programmers from various                        ibero-american film promotional
                                                      countries.                                          entities.




F
            ilms offer a great business opportuni-   tional buyers, distributors, lead buyers and pro-     by the Audiovisual Producers’ Rights Manage-
            ty and the Guadalajara International     grammers from the film industry, as well as 72        ment Association (EGEDA, for its acronym in
            Film Festival (FICG, for its acronym     sales agents, all went to Guadalajara in search of    Spanish), based in Madrid, Spain.
            in Spanish) has become a key event       well-told stories with happy endings.                     In its first year of operation, 310 Ibero-
for the Ibero-American film industry. It not only        Those agents –who play a vital role in en-        American titles were on offer through VEO-
brings together movie directors and famous ac-       suring that film reaches hundreds of movie            FICG. The producers of these films know who
tors on the red carpet, and consumers avid for       theaters around the world– had the oppor-             watched them and how many times.
new films in theaters, but also dozens of buy-       tunity to choose from among 1,200 titles that             With the introduction of new offers and by
ers, distributors, lead buyers and programmers       were registered in the “shop window” of the           involving specialists in the film and business
from around the world who flock there during         9th Guadalajara Film Market: 380 feature-             world, Alejandra Paulín and Andrea Staven-
the activities held every year for the past 26       length films, 354 documentaries and 466               hagen have made the Ibero-American Film
years in Guadalajara, Mexico.                                                                              Market more attractive beyond the borders of
    The organizers estimate that in the 26th              136 international                                Ibero-America. In 2011, they organized the 5th
edition of the Festival (FICG26), some 500              bUyers, distribUtors,                              Film Market & Producers Network, Marché du
business meetings were registered between                                                                  Film Festival de Cannes. The event took place
                                                           lead bUyers and
March 25 and April 1.                                                                                      with six round tables, attended by producers
    2011 was the year of consolidation in the         PrograMMers froM the                                 from around the world –120 this year – and
Festival’s Industry and Film Market depart-            filM indUstry, as well                              representatives from leading companies in the
ments that have formed a part of the event for         as 72 sales agents, all                             field, sharing experiences, corporate policies
the past nine years. The road hasn’t been easy,        went to gUadalaJara                                 and working methods.
says Alejandra Paulín, who works alongside            in search of well-told                                   Those who attended the roundtable this
Andrea Stavenhagen as directors of the FICG                                                                year included Felipe Tewes, Film Program-
                                                         stories with haPPy
industry contact department, blazing a trail                                                               ming Manager at HBO in the US; Violaine
through the business desert of the film indus-                  endings.                                   Pichon, International Sales Representative for
try in Ibero-America and the rest of the world.                                                            Celluloid Dreams, France; Delphyne Besse,
That desert has now become an oasis. Today           shorts. That number of titles registered in 2011      Sales Agent for Rezo, France; Márcia Nunes,
the forum is unique in Latin America because         represented an increase of 45% compared to            International Sales & Acquisitions Manager
it successfully combines the world of culture        2010. Alejandra Paulín says that the growth           for Goldcrest Films, UK; Anne Wiedlack, Sales
and glamour surrounding the movies with a            took place because the FICG is a window of            Manager for M-Appeal, Germany, and Eric
strong business element. Every March, Guada-         opportunity for Ibero-American producers.             Mathis, representative of Ondamax Films, US.
lajara brings together film industry represen-           To give businesses a better idea of what can          “Cannes has trusted the Film Market &
tatives from all around the world.                   be achieved with the latest technologies, FICG26      Producers Network to be held in Guadalajara”,
    What was once a desertic landscape is now        also featured a novelty: the VEOFICG platform.        says Alejandra Paulín. That is not a charitable
verdant with dollars, thanks to the new meet-        It is a protected program, similar to that of-        gesture. The reason is that Guadalajara, more
ing venue: the Expo Guadalajara Convention           fered by the most prestigious festivals around        than anywhere else in Latin America, gener-
Center. With a surface area of 13,500 square         the world. It gives producers the chance to use       ates a key exchange venue for the production
feet, the FICG26 Industry and Film Market de-        the Internet to show their films to distributors,     and circulation of films from across the conti-
partments brought together 1,125 production          agents, and marketers who can use a personal          nent. And these films bring dollars: millions of
companies and distributors from 40 countries.        password to see films on offer as many times as       dollars of business. n
    When the day was done, Paulín and Staven-        they like during the Festival and for two weeks
hagen were pleased to report that 136 interna-       after it has finished. The platform was approved      ficg.org
40 Negocios                                                                                                                                                                                         inFograPhic oldeMar




                                                                                                                                                              negocios figures
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Asia
    Mexican                                                                   Europe
                                                                          15,799.00
                                                                                                                                                                                                            10,729.45
                                                                                                                                                                                                           2,159.19
    Exports by                                                           2,913.98

    Region
    Millions of USD

       2010
       January-
       December

       2011
       January and
       February
       238,559.19




                                                                                              Africa
                                                                                              465.91
                                                                                              101.84




                                                                                                                                                                                            Oceania
                                                                                                                                                                                                718.29
                                                                                                                                                                                                103.94

                                America
                                270,468.14
                               45,052.25




                               298,361.15                                                                                                                                            50,351.04

                                                                                                              Major Trade Partners by Region
                                 10,683.66




                                                                                                                                                Total Mexican Exports in 2010 (millions of USD)
   12,000                                                                                                                                                             America          Europe                     Asia
   10,000
                                                                                                                                                              4,195.90
                                                                                   3,830.92




   8,000
                                                        3,757.02
                                             3,781.08




                                                                                                  3,571.92




   6,000
                                                                                                                                                                          1,923.24
                                                                   1,863.45




                                                                                                              1,842.10


                                                                                                                                1,733.73




                                                                                                                                                                                     1,030.51


                                                                                                                                                                                                     943.50




   4,000
                                                                                                                                                    872.72




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      657.46




   2,000

        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                    South Korea
                                                                                                                                                              China


                                                                                                                                                                         Japan


                                                                                                                                                                                     India




                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Singapore
                                                                                                             The Netherlands
               United States


                                 Canada


                                             Brazil


                                                        Colombia


                                                                   Chile



                                                                                   Spain


                                                                                                 Germany




                                                                                                                               United Kingdom


                                                                                                                                                    Belgium




                                                                                                                                                                                       Source: Banco de México.
                        The lifestyle
                                                                                  Destination:
                                                                                       Mexico
                                                                                Mexican Design
                                                                                     in MoMA
                          T h e Complete Guide of the Mexican Way of L i fe .
                                                                                          p. 44




                                                                  Mexico’s rising
                                                                   film industry
PHOTO coUrtesy of iVÁn cordero
Photo ficg 26/Michel aMado
42 Negocios i The Lifestyle                                                                                                           Photo lucy nieto




 More of Mexico
 in the iberian
 Peninsula




 Spain’s El Corte Inglés dedicated one
 month, from March 18 to April 17, to
 promote Mexican products, cuisine
 and tourism.



 E
             l Corte Inglés, Spain’s leading de-          This initiative began in 2010, after Pro-     as traditional foods such as cochinita pibil pa-
             partment store chain, dedicated a      México and El Corte Inglés signed an agree-         nuchos, chorizo and bean sopes, squash blos-
             month to promote and sell Mexi-        ment to promote Mexican exports to Spain            som quesadillas with huitlacoche and rajas
             can products, as well as publicize     and Portugal, and to identify consumer inter-       poblanas, Mexican brown crab tostadas, beef
 Mexico’s cuisine and tourism in its 75 stores      est in high quality products manufactured in        tinga chalupitas, Baja style shrimp tacos and
 throughout Spain and two stores in Portugal.       Mexico.                                             boquerones, among other dishes.
      The exhibit, called “Mexico 2011”, was              In this campaign to promote Mexico, El             Also, chefs from renowned Mexican res-
 inaugurated in Madrid by Carlos Guzmán             Corte Inglés installed travel agencies in 24 of     taurants presented their gastronomic cre-
 Bofill, CEO of ProMéxico, and Arsenio de la        its stores to push Mexico’s tourist destinations.   ations in the Castellana, Preciados and Sanchi-
 Vega, representing El Corte Inglés. 120 com-       The campaign also included talks and slide-         narro stores, in Madrid; Diagonal in Barcelona;
 panies, 94% of which are small and medium          shows at the cultural centers of Serrano (Ma-       and Málaga and Nervión in Sevilla.
 businesses, offered their products in a 34,000     drid), Diagonal (Barcelona), Bilbao and Colón            With more than 70 years of experience,
 square meter area in El Corte Inglés’ stores.      (Valencia). In another of the programmed ac-        El Corte Inglés is the number one Span-
 Articles ranged from various types of gifts, im-   tivities, Mexican food tasting was open to the      ish distribution group and one of the world
 itation and fine jewelry, kitchenware, to works    public at El Corte Inglés’ restaurants.             leaders of large department stores. It owes
 of art, furniture, earthenware and porcelain,            Cantinas were established in 19 shop-         its success to a policy of constant renewal
 glassware, decorative items, food and bever-       ping centers to offer tastings of traditional       that adapts to the tastes and needs of Span-
 ages, among others.                                Mexican tequila and other cocktails, as well        ish society. n
                                                                                            The Lifestyle briefs
Grupo Habita
Moves North




                                                                                Hotel Americano, the new
                                                                                  development by grupo
                                                                                 Habita, will be located in
                                                                                Chelsea, in new york City,
                                                                                     along side the famed




                                                                                                                                                    Photo archiVe
                                                                                           High Line Park




G
                 rupo Habita, the company that         It will be the 11th hotel in 11 years from    combined with midcentury design classics,
                 first introduced the boutique     Grupo Habita and the company’s first ven-         custom amenities and advanced technology
                 hotel concept in Mexico a de-     ture stateside. Hotel Americano will reflect      provide guests with a serene space in which
                 cade ago with Hotel Habita,       the spirit of Latin culture while encompassing    to retreat from the bustle of city life outside.
                 is taking a big step across the   a variety of international influences. The 56-         Guest rooms feature Kengo Kuma-style,
border, introducing Hotel Americano, its first     room property in a 10-story building, designed    low-to-the-ground platform beds and black vi-
property on US soil.                               by award-winning Mexican architect Enrique        nyl Zanotta bean bag chairs alongside less ag-
     Located in the heart of Manhattan’s Chel-     Norten, is a glass structure encased in a metal   gressively slick accouterments like touch-tone
sea neighborhood, arguably the most “New           mesh façade that captures the industrial spirit   phones, denim bathrobes by Loden Dager
York” of all Manhattan’s neighborhoods, along-     of the surrounding neighborhood. Along the        (which also outfitted the staff) and harmoni-
side the world’s best art galleries and New        exterior, a glass-enclosed elevator shuttles      cas for sale in the minibar. In-room iPads
York’s famed High Line Park, Hotel Americano       guests between the street-level restaurant and    are loaded with music as well as the Hotel
is Grupo Habita’s first property in the US and     rooftop terrace.                                  Americano version of a city guide, with reg-
part of an expanding collection that includes          The rooms, designed by French designer        ularly updated listings of things to do, both
ten celebrated hotels throughout Mexico: Azú-      Arnaud Montigny, known for his work at Pari-      in the ZIP code and beyond. n
car, Básico, Boca Chica, CONDESAdf, Deseo,         sianboutique Colette, suggest an urban ryokan
Distrito Capital, Habita Hotel, Habita MTY, La     with wooden platform beds, warm lighting          www.hotel-americano.com

Purificadora, and Maison Couturier.                and natural materials. Quality craftsmanship      www.grupohabita.mx
44 Negocios i The Lifestyle                                                                                       Photos courtesy of héctor esrawe




Destination:
Mexico
Mexican design will be available in the stores of New York’s
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), from April to June 2012.
Destination: Mexico will include 100 design objects created by
Mexican artists selected by MoMA.




T
                he launch of Destination: Mex-      artists —of items from furniture and lighting,     2010. After a visit by MoMA’s marketing ex-
                ico in the retail area of New       home accessories to printed material, statio-      ecutives, the Mexican Embassy and MoMA’s
                York’s Museum of Modern Art         nery, jewelry and watches, personal accesso-       team agreed to dedicate the tenth edition of
                (MoMA) is the result of a joint     ries, games and children’s items— to present       Destination: Design to Mexico.
                initiative between the Mexican      and market their products in the Museum’s               In a first stage, ProMéxico, together with
Embassy in the United States and ProMéxico          prestigious stores. In previous editions, MoMA     the Universidad Centro of design, film and
to promote Mexican creative industries. Also        has invited various countries and cities includ-   television, launched a comprehensive invita-
supported by the Universidad Centro, Destina-       ing Portugal, South Korea, Berlin, Japan and       tion to design talent from all around the coun-
tion: Mexico, which will take place from April to   Turkey.                                            try. The Universidad Centro identified and
June 2012, will provide an important platform            This unique opportunity for Mexican de-       proposed more than 500 products by close to
for the promotion and marketing of products by      sign arises from the success of the Rethinking     300 designers from which MoMA’s selection
Mexican designers in MoMA’s three New York          Tradition: Contemporary Design from Mexico         will be made in the coming months. Interviews
stores as well as online.                           exhibition curated by Ana Elena Mallet and         between Mexican suppliers and MoMA store
     MoMA started the Destination: Design           shown in the Mexican Cultural Institute in         executives were held with an eye on participat-
program in 2005, inviting object designers and      Washington, D.C., from June to November            ing in Destination: Mexico. n
Photo courtesy of ana elena Mallet   Photo courtesy of eMiliano godoy           Photo courtesy of ana elena Mallet
                                                                                                                     THE LIFESTyLE REPORT destination: Mexico, Mexican design in new yorK’s MoMa




Photo courtesy of eMiliano godoy                       Photo courtesy of héctor esrawe
46 Negocios i The Lifestyle                                                                                                               Photo archiVe




Mexico’s rising
creative
talents
Mexico City is undergoing a transformation at the hands of a generation of perceptive,
intelligent and socially aware creative talents with global connections.
by aleJandro basÁñez beltrÁn y PUga*




I
       have noticed a huge difference between       the Covadonga cantina; the new Soumaya mu-              But progress is being made on other levels
       the Mexico I left four years ago and the     seum; the ZonaMACO contemporary art fair,           too. For instance, there is a cultural change that
       Mexico of today. When I returned to          and the list goes on…                               is driving two phenomena: the participation of
       Mexico City because of the tsunami that                                                          society in urban development and the growth
hit Japan on March 11, I was greeted by a cul-          there is a cUltUral                             of independent creative industries, something
tural explosion. The atmosphere is different          change that is driVing                            which hasn’t happened in Mexico since the
too: more easygoing, oozing more confidence.             two PhenoMena:                                 seventies.
    A string of new restaurants and stores in                                                               Let me give you a couple of examples: in
                                                         the ParticiPation
the trendy Condesa district have propitiated                                                            the Doctores district, which is notorious for
an open-air lifestyle; the streets are cleaner,
                                                       of society in Urban                              being “dangerous”, the Antique Toy Museum
residents are reclaiming public spaces and               deVeloPMent and                                has experienced a revival. Its founder, Roberto
there is restiveness in the air.                          the growth of                                 Shimizu, calls his one-million-plus collection
    On Saturdays, Parque México bustles with          indePendent creatiVe                              the “secret treasures of Mexico”. He has been
dancers, musicians, circus performers, skate-         indUstries, soMething                             made several offers by buyers who want to re-
boarders and people selling candy, balloons                                                             locate the museum, but is adamant that “what
                                                      which hasn’t haPPened
and everything else under the sun. The sheer                                                            is born in the neighborhood should stay in the
choice of entertainment makes it the envy of            in Mexico since the                             neighborhood,” illustrating that even without
Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park.                                         seVenties.                                 government backing, ordinary people can play
    If you wanted me to be more specific, I could                                                       an important role in the transformation of
mention the Arquine architecture congress at           The first time my friend and gallery owner,      their city.
the end of March, which featured talents like       Takashi Ishii, participated in ZonaMACO, he             The self-exclusion of certain sectors of so-
Norway’s Kjetil Thorsen from Snøhetta and           said he found it to be a professional event –and    ciety from art venues like galleries and muse-
Sergio Fajardo, former mayor of Medellín; art       from what I have heard, sales were also good,       ums is a trend Mexico’s more creatively mind-
exhibits like Raphael Montañez Ortiz’s at La-       thanks mainly to the Brazilian collectors.          ed entrepreneurs are attempting to revert,
bor, the one staged by Gabriel de la Mora at           These are just a few reasons why I believe       providing culture with a tool for social change
OMR and the one by Damián Ortega at Kuri-           Mexico has the potential to project itself inter-   in the process.
manzutto; the concert by Toy Selectah at the        nationally as a cultural capital on a par with          As for the creative industries, Angélica
Festival de México; afternoons whiled away at       Tokyo, London, Milan and Paris.                     Atristain, who manages art and creative proj-
                                                       THE LIFESTyLE OPINION Mexico’s creatiVe talents




ects at the British Council, believes the indus-
try has no need to go talent scouting beyond its
borders. “It’s all happening here in Mexico,” she
says. The foundation she represents awarded
the “International Young Music Entrepreneur
2011” prize to Camilo Lara, creator of Instituto
Mexicano del Sonido, and in 2008 the “Inter-
national Young Fashion Entrepreneur Award”
went to Carla Fernández from Taller Flora.
    Last year saw the founding of the Cool
Japan initiative at the Japanese Ministry of
Economy, Trade and Industry. This office was         it’s tiMe we Mexicans tooK
set up to promote the creative industries and
an appreciation of Japanese culture around
                                                          a siMilar initiatiVe and
the world, particularly manga and animé. It’s          showed the world what
time we Mexicans took a similar initiative and
showed the world what is really happening           is really haPPening on the
on the streets of Mexico City, which Mexican-
American writer Daniel Hernández described
                                                          streets of Mexico city.
as “one of the most feared and least under-
stood in the world… chaotic on the one hand
and addictive on the other; underdeveloped
and ultramodern” in his book Down and De-
lirious in Mexico City. n



*The author served as cultural attaché to the
Mexican Embassy in Japan from 2007 to 2010.
48 Negocios i The Lifestyle                                                                                            Photos courtesy of pura Vida




    Anna roth:
    when Movies are
    Life and not work
    Anna Roth shares her vision for the film industry in Mexico,
    which she considers a hotbed of talent.




F
            or Anna Roth, working in mov-          have only lasted a summer vacation– movies         ects. But that does not hurt a woman who
            ies has not been a job but her life.   became her calling and she has dedicated two       describes herself as a workaholic, driven
            That is why she measures her           decades of her life participating in film man-     mainly by passion.
            contribution through her lengthy       agement and production.                                “I’m not mass production, I choose the
            trajectory in Mexico’s film indus-        “Film is a painful and addictive habit but I    projects I work in very carefully. I’m not very
try, not only for the considerable economic        cannot quit,” Roth shares. “I love to see what I   business oriented,” she laughs.
income generated by the foreign productions        do on a big screen and watch people leaving            Despite the recent difficulties the global
in which she has participated but also for the     the theater with a smile on their faces.”          film industry has experienced, particularly
distribution of the Mexican image through-            Foreign productions made in Mexico on           in Mexico, Roth is optimistic about the
out the world.                                     the scale of Apocalypto (2006), Traffic (2000)     national scene.
    Born in Poland “by accident”, she has al-      and Titanic (1997) confirm the curriculum              “In Mexico we have top professionals.
ways considered herself from Mexico City           of Roth, who had to bid farewell to the idea       People who make movies here are people
where she studied philosophy. After ventur-        of a home or a social life for periods up to       with lots of experience that can compare with
ing to work in a production –which should          two years while she worked on these proj-          the best of any other country,” she says.
                                                                                                                   INTERVIEw anna roth

    In Roth’s own words “talent, dedication               Pura Vida offers development services,       that foster the internationalization of Mexi-
and professionalism” define the Mexican               creative writing and logistical coordination,    can industry and the export of services. The
film industry, which in the last few years has        as well as directing, producing, editing and     support granted to eligible producers can
improved professionally, as witnessed by the          post production coordination of audiovisual      be up to 7.5% of total expenses incurred and
increase in income and story lines that are           projects. Although their main goal is to make    billed in Mexico, with a minimum of 70 mil-
comprehensible and clear and which have               cinema, they have not ruled out the chance to    lion dollars per production project to 20 mil-
won the approval of the Mexican audience.             produce short institutional, commercial and      lion pesos for the process of post audiovisual
That is demonstrated in productions like              television programs.                             works and/or interactive audiovisual.
El Infierno (Hell) and Salvando al Soldado                “The most attractive aspect of our               The Fund, approved in March 2010, joins
Pérez (Saving Private Perez), which have re-          business is ourselves,” says Roth. “We are       other incentives to promote the visual arts in
cently competed with box office blockbust-            very professional in our fields, we have a lot   Mexico, such as Eficine 226, a tax incentive
ers from the US.                                      of experience and an unblemished reputation      for taxpayers under Article 226 of the Law
    “The film business in Mexico is emerging          for accountability, efficiency and honesty...    on Income Tax and supports the production
and could become profitable as long as                The rest is talent and we have access to the     or postproduction of feature films, animation
support is constant,” says the producer.              best of this country,” she continues.            and documentary.
    However, the biggest and most immediate                                                                Through Eficine, taxpayers who invest in
benefits of investing in film production are                   “we are Very                            film projects in Mexico can obtain a tax credit
different. “Investing in film helps spread                 Professional in oUr                         equal to the amount of their investment
recognition of the country and thus aids                                                               against income tax in the year in which the
                                                             fields, we haVe a
tourism and helps build renewed international                                                          credit is determined.
confidence in Mexico,” says Roth. “It is a
                                                            lot of exPerience                              Houba! Le Marsupilami Chicxulub et
wonderful opportunity to do something                      and an UnbleMished                          L’Orchidee (The Marsupilami and The
interesting with the possibility of positioning               rePUtation for                           Orchids from Chicxulub, 2012), is the third
a brand, promoting a positive view of the                     accoUntability,                          project approved by the Proaudiovisual
country and creating a cultural heritage.”             efficiency and honesty                          Fund. It is a French film, adapted from
    As an independent producer, her future                                                             the popular comic Gallo, directed by and
                                                       ... the rest is talent and
plans include a couple of projects with brothers                                                       starring Alain Chabat. The film mixes
Antonio and Victor Zavala (director and pro-
                                                         we haVe access to the                         animation with live action and involves
ducer, respectively) who are currently writing,          best of this coUntry.”                        actors like Gerard Depardieu and Julie
adapting and seeking financing. She also has                                                           Delpy.
offers from foreign filmmakers and two mov-              Pura Vida was one of the top three Mexican        Pura Vida produced Houba! Le Marsu-
ies that have yet to premiere. The first, Deseo       companies to benefit from ProAudiovisual         pilami et L’Orquidee de Chicxulub for Chez
(Desire) –with a Mexican cast that includes           Fund created by IMCINE and ProMéxico.            Wham, Chabat’s company. The shooting
Edith Gonzalez, Christian Bach and Paola Nu-             The Proaudiovisual Fund aims to promote       stage of the project took eight weeks within
ñez– is in its final stages of post production. The   investment in general in the film and audio-     the state of Veracruz, generating an income
second, Las Paredes Hablan (The Walls Talk), is       visual industry through the provision of sup-    close to 8.5 million usd, creating 229 special-
in the process of final editing and will premiere     port to national and international projects      ized jobs and employing 770 extras. n
at the end of this year. It stars Kuno Becker,
Paulina Gaitan and Gerardo Taracena and is
directed by Antonio Zavala.

A JOyFUL LIFE                                            Some of the films Anna Roth has worked on:
In 2008, Roth created the production company
Pura Vida –which could translate as “great               AS PROdUCTION mANAgER:                        AS A PROdUCER:
life”– in conjunction with director Juan                 Apocalypto (2006)                             Las Paredes Hablan (The Walls Talk,
Carlos de Llaca and businessman Eduardo                  The Legend of Zorro (2005)                    in post production)
de la Barcena, with the aim of channeling it             Man on Fire (2004)                            Deseo (Desire, 2010)
through the grueling task of getting resources           High Crimes (2002)                            Che: Part One (2008)
to produce a feature film, Glory, which in the           Collateral Damage (2002)                      Innocent Voices (2004)
end did not materialize.                                 Original Sin (2001)
    Located in what Roth describes as a                  Traffic (2000)
“very small office,” the company changes its             Deep Blue Sea (1999)
headquarters for each project and has several            Titanic (1997)
major offices, warehouses and temporary                  Clear and Present Danger (1994)
workshops on filming locations, to accommodate
equipment and crew that can range from 30 to
450 people.
50 Negocios i The Lifestyle                                         Photos courtesy of icon distribution, inc.




adrian grunberg
and sTacy perskie:
a sUccessfUl dUo




                                                              G
With the creation of the production company Redrum, Adrian                     runberg’s path as assistant di-
Grunberg and Stacy Perskie have formalized a working                           rector includes collaborations
                                                                               with directors such as Jim Jar-
relationship that drives the film industry in Mexico.                          musch, Alex de la Iglesia and
They have worked together on many projects, so the next                        Oliver Stone, while Perskie has
step was logical. Adrian Grunberg and Stacy Perskie are       served as a production assistant and second
                                                              assistant director on films like The Legend of
names that have appeared in countless film productions made   Zorro ( 2005) and Jarhead (2005).
in Mexico and, following a new project with Mel Gibson,          It was when they both worked with Mel
they decided to create a company together. Thus was born      Gibson in Apocalypto (2006) that they laid the
                                                              groundwork for the project. “We met Mel on
Redrum, a production company that combines the talents and
                                                              Apocalypto. After that project we had a work-
efforts of both.                                              ing relationship with him and kept in touch,”
                                                              recalls Perskie.
                                                                                 FILm & ARTS adrian grUnberg & stacy PersKie




                                                                                                              after worKing
                                                                                                            with Mel gibson in
                                                                                                            APocAlyPTo (2006)
                                                                                                            and how i sPeNT My
                                                                                                         suMMer vAcATioN (2011),
                                                                                                          adrian grUnberg and
                                                                                                            stacy PersKie laid
                                                                                                             the groUndworK
                                                                                                           for the creation of
                                                                                                         redrUM, their own filM
                                                                                                           ProdUcing coMPany.

    In early 2009, the duo produced a series of         How I Spent My Summer Vacation is the
music videos that the Australian actor and direc-   third film written by Gibson after Apocalypto
tor filmed in Mexico and later returned to work     and The Passion of the Christ. Grunberg di-
with him on the movie Edge of Darkness (2010).      rected the film and co-produced it with Perskie.
    Grunberg, Perskie and Gibson wrote the              The movie was filmed in the state of Vera-
screenplay for How I Spent My Summer Vaca-          cruz, creating 2,800 jobs, with the participation
tion (2011), a film for which Icon, Gibson’s com-   of 263 Mexican technicians and a spill of about
pany, got the finances and in which the actor       12 million usd. It was one of the first three pro-
plays the lead role.                                ductions to be accepted for the ProAudiovisual
    The film tells the story of a criminal who,     Fund, which allows filmmakers to recover up
after being caught by Mexican police and sent       to 17.5% VAT on costs incurred in Mexico.
to a prison dominated by violence and drugs,            Following the successful experience, the Mex-
learns how to survive from the hand of a nine       icans decided to formally create Redrum. “Basi-
year-old child.                                     cally we do movies and commercials, anything
52 Negocios i The Lifestyle                                                                           Photos courtesy of icon distribution, inc.




that has to do with the audiovisual industry,”     says Adrian Grunberg. “The added benefits
says Perskie. “We will continue to develop our     and costs of producing in the country are
own projects and we intend to partner produc-      definitely lower and incentives such as the
ers in other parts of the world and make co-pro-   Proaudiovisual Fund and Eficine 226 make
ductions and offer production services for com-    it even more affordable to work in Mexico,”
panies that want to film in Mexico,” he adds.      he explains.
    Among Redrum’s plans for this year, many           “We feel privileged to do what we like and
of which cannot be mentioned due to confi-         that gives us the opportunity to reach many
dentiality agreements, are a film co-produc-       more people. We grew up in it and hope to con-
tion with Canada, production services for a        tinue this until the end,” concludes Grunberg. n
US movie being filmed in Mexico and the de-
velopment of a personal project film that will
probably take place with the cooperation of
several US firms. All that, coupled with pro-
duction and business management.
    The presence of these projects in Mexico,
along with many creative people and re-
nowned actors, seems to be assured for the
next few years. For the time being, this link,
which claims to be “only one more” of the large
group of talented producers in Mexico, is look-
ing to attract and convince the world to come
to Mexico, with deeds and professionalism.
    “In matters of talent and professional-
ism, it is hard to match what is in Mexico,”




       “basically we
       do MoVies and
  coMMercials, anything
    that has to do with
      the aUdioVisUal
  indUstry,” says PersKie,
     who co-ProdUced
  how i sPeNT My suMMer
         vAcATioN.
                                                                                                           FILm & ARTS oPen window filMs


Open Window:
A Small Production House
with Big Ideas




                                                                                                                                                            Photo courtesy of open window
   Director Paul Schrader chose to film his most recent project,
   The Jesuit, with Open Window Films, a small Mexican
   production company that has earned huge prestige in the short
   time it’s been around. Movie buffs are anxiously awaiting its
   upcoming release.
                                        John Morrissey, Ángeles Morales and santiago garcÍa, , foUnding Partners of oPen window filMs


Ángeles Morales and Santiago García, a couple of       Willen Dafoe, Michelle Rodriguez, Manolo Car-       lus Fund (Fidecine), which put up risk capital
30-year-olds with wide experience in the indus-        dona and Paz Vega to the project.                   and extend credit for the production, post-
try despite their tender age, are producing the            The screenplay was penned by Schrader           production, distribution and screening of fic-
feature, which was also written by Paul Schrader.      himself, who has written cult films like Taxi       tion and animation features, as well as article
    It was after working on Under The Same             Driver and Raging Bull.                             226 of the Income Tax Law, which grants tax
Moon by Mexican Patricia Riggen between 2006               Open Window Films’ formula has been to          incentives to companies that help finance the
and 2008 that the pair decided to set up their         focus on projects with universal appeal that        making of films in Mexico.”
own production company. That is how, along             combine Mexican talent and international                García says the industry is currently explor-
with American History X (1998) producer, John          prestige. That enables Mexican-made films to        ing the fields of artistic and commercial film-
Morrissey, they founded Open Window.                   “travel with greater profitability”, since they     making and predicts we will have a strong, profit-
    In the space of just a few years, they have been   are screened at both Mexican movie theaters         able business on our hands in a few years’ time.
involved in the production of the feature Tequila      and abroad. And according to García, it also            According to him, “the most important ele-
(2008) and Havana York (2009), a documentary           promotes cultural and professional exchanges        ment is the creative and artistic talent of Mexi-
on the hip-hop culture of Havana and New York.         between actors of different nationalities.          cans who know how to make their own stories
    In the case of The Jesuit, “it was his passion         One of the advantages of making films in        and those of others interesting to audiences.”
for Mexico that drew Schrader to Open Win-             Mexico, he says, is that “the industry enjoys the       “Mexican culture is very rich. We have a gift
dow,” says García. And it was the thought of           backing of the federal government via institu-      for telling stories, we have acting talent, dream-
being directed by Schrader (Blue Collar, Ameri-        tions like the Mexican Film Institute (Imcine)      like locations, commodities and highly skilled
can Gigolo and Affliction) that drew the actors        and trusts like the Film Investment and Stimu-      technicians,” concludes García. n
54 Negocios i The Lifestyle                                                                                          Photos courtesy of lo coloco filMs




Ana
 AN INTERNATIONAL 3D STAR


L
               o Coloco Films is a newly created       teractive Techniques) the annual conference        Production companies like Ánima Estudios,
               Mexican production company              on computer graphics convened by the ACM           Los Hijos de Su Madre and Batallón 52 are
               that has already earned great re-       SIGGRAPH organization in Los Angeles, Cali-        working with producers, directors and sketch
               pute. Its first project, a 3D animat-   fornia, the film was chosen as the image of Au-    artists who haven’t yet turned 40.
               ed feature called Ana, is touted to     todesk, the world’s leading software brand that        Ana is in the hands of an even younger
be among the best in its genre. Set in the fifties,    specializes in visual effects.                     bunch, under the watchful eye of Carlos Car-
the film, which is named after its protagonist,            According to an article published in the       rera. Daniel Emil’s story was brought to life by
Ana, holds great promise and can be seen at            Mexican daily El Financiero, Dell computers is     40 fledgling talents, most of whom are Mexican
movie theaters in 2013.                                also interested in promoting Ana as an example     and many of whom are graduates of the online
    Ana first stirred to life in 2008 and has been     of the creative uses technology can be put to.     school Animation Mentor, whose professors
well-received by audiences worldwide due to                The quality of the film reflects the qual-     are professional animators at studios of the
its exceptional quality. It was produced by Pa-        ity of the Mexican artists and animators who       stature of Pixar and Dreamworks.
blo Baksht and directed by Carlos Carrera,             worked on it, says Santiago García, financial          The average age of 3D animators is 26,
who won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1994 for           consultant to Lo Coloco Films. García be-          “which is wonderful because it means the
his short animated film El Héroe (The Hero).           lieves Mexico has clear-cut advantages over        industry has enormous growth potential,”
    The making of the film was possible thanks         other countries in this area. “We have talent,     says García.
to Grado Cinco, which acted as co-producer,            plus it’s much cheaper to do animation in              In this case, youth meets experience in
with funding put up by the Liverpool depart-           Mexico than in other countries in America          the form of Martín Hernández (who worked
ment store chain and Santander under article           and Europe,” he says.                              in Amores Perros –Love’s a Bitch– and Pan’s
226 of the Income Tax Law, which grants tax                But how much cheaper? As of 2010, Ana          Labyrinth), who did the soundtrack for this film
incentives to companies that help finance the          had cost some 100 million Mexican pesos (ap-       about a little girl who fights to unite her family
production of Mexican films.                           proximately 8 million usd), making it one of the   and save her mother from a great danger.
    The March 2010 edition of the Guadalajara          most expensive features in the history of Mexi-        At the end of the day, you could say Ana has
International Film Festival opened with a scene        can cinema and even then it cost just 10% of       a lot in common with the industry that brought
from Ana and just two months later, three min-         what it would take to make an animated film        her to the big screen: childlike, but adventurous,
utes and 44 seconds of her life were screened          of the same standard abroad.                       with incredible stories to tell and an uncanny
at the 63rd International Cannes Film Festival.            And according to García, Ana is not alone.     way of winning over the hearts of audiences. n
Then in July 2010, at SIGGRAPH (short for              Recently, Mexico City, Guadalajara and Puebla
Special Interest Group on Graphics and In-             have proven to be fertile ground for new talent.   www.locolocofilms.com
FILm & ARTS ana, an international 3d star




           ANA’S STORy

           The film is about an eight-year-old
           girl called Ana, who arrives with her
           mother to an isolated place by the
           sea with the intention of resting and
           seeing the ocean for the first time.
           Once there, Ana meets and befriends
           a number of strange and amusing
           fantastical beings. She soon discovers
           that a terrible danger hangs over their
           heads and is forced to escape and go
           searching for her father. Accompanied
           by her new friends, Ana faces many
           obstacles along the way while experi-
           encing a series of exciting and enter-
           taining adventures.
56 Negocios i The Lifestyle




arMando alanis:
love on the wall
If you ever visit the city of Monterrey, Nuevo León, you may notice that its walls are
covered in poetry. A movement that goes by the name of Acción Poética (Poetic Action)
takes the credit for this declaration of urban love, but few know it is the work of one man:
Armando Alanis. For the last 14 years, Armando has been on a mission to bring some
romanticism to the capital of the state of Nuevo León and stir the latent sensibilities of
unsuspecting residents, albeit for a fleeting moment.
by cristina ÁVila-zesatti




                                                    t
                                                                 hey say –and it sure as heck sometimes feels like it– that love in
                                                                 the modern age is in serious trouble, that our lives lack poetry,
                                                                 that the hustle and bustle of our big cities has killed romanti-
                                                                 cism. If, however, you happen to live in the capital of the state
                                                    of Nuevo León in northern Mexico, this isn’t entirely true, because the
                                                    people of Monterrey are exposed to poetry on a daily basis.
                                                        I’m not talking metaphorically; nor am I referring to the landscape
                                                    dominated by Monterrey’s famous Saddleback Mountain. No. I’m talking
                                                    literally. Some 14 years ago, a poetry movement invaded the streets of the
                                                    Sultan of the North, sweeping it up on the wings of love.
                                                        The movement I’m talking about goes by the name of Acción Poética
                                                    (Poetic Action). Since 1996, its founder and sole active member, Armando
                                                    Alanis, has been covering every nook and cranny of Monterrey with odes
                                                    to love, verses that anticipate its arrival or mourn its departure.
                                                        Wherever you go in Monterrey, sooner or later you’ll come across a
                                                    fence or a wall emblazoned with a line of poetry. The city is positively cov-
                                              01
                                                    ered in them; short, poignant verses written in black letters against a white
                                                    background to mimic the pages of a book.
                                                        For the last decade and a half, Armando Alanis has been painting his
                                                    verses on neglected walls, transforming them into sparkling poetic gems
                                                    that the passerby can admire on his way to work or school, or perhaps as
                                                    he goes to meet the one he loves. Fleeting moments of inspiration that seep
                                                    into the subconscious, making the most ordinary of days magical.

                                                    Poetry: a life Essential
                                                    “I’m convinced that if we read more poetry, we would be better people,
                                                    nicer, more human [...] which is why I decided to invade the streets, forcibly
                                                    expose people to it on a daily basis, bring poetry into their lives […] they are
                                                    short verses you can read as you walk or even if you’re traveling in a car at
                                                    100 kilometers an hour. It takes no time at all to read them, but they put a
                                                    spring in your step.”

                                              02
                                                                                         INTERVIEw arMando alanis

    Every Sunday since the age of 26, Armando Alanis has resolutely hit
the streets of Monterrey to “hunt down unused walls”; he fights for a place
for poetry amid the billboards that overrun the city and embellishes it
with a phrase that markets nothing, but that forces the reader to contem-
plate what he possesses –or what he is lacking– not in material terms, but
on the inside, in his heart and soul:
    I need you and everything else is superfluous / It all begins on your lips/
I know I exist if you say my name / And if goodbye were the start of an end-
less beginning? / Tell that cab to follow your thoughts/ In the morning, in the
afternoon, at night: the day is ours / I sleep little, dream a lot / The heart is
the place and the path / I am your gaze looking at me / Love has won again...
    This is just one example of the poems Alanis has adorned the streets of
Monterrey with and I say just one because in the 15 years Acción Poética
has existed, he has painted more than 5,000 walls with his own words and
those of others. His strategy, he says, follows the same principles and em-
ploys the same ruses as those used by publicists: to “create needs” by force
of repetition. In other words, he is trying to get people to crave poetry in
their everyday lives. And he may just have pulled it off!
                                                                                    03
    Armando graduated from the Metropolitan University of Monterrey
with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, but he has always
been a poet. He has published 15 books, some of which have been trans-
lated into other languages, and went on to study a Master of Arts when his
alma-mater presented him with an award –– not for his academic achieve-
ment, but for the accomplishments of Acción Poética, which can be read
about any day on any street in Monterrey and that an entire generation
has grown up with.
    “A friend once told me his fifteen-year-old son has been reading the
poems I paint on walls his whole life, that he’s grown up reading them. I
hadn’t thought about it before, but it’s true, although I’m not sure what ef-
fect my words have on people […] What I want is to share, encourage every-
one to embark on a love affair with the city. It’s like a dialog where I make
the poetry ask the question, but the answer comes from within each of us.”
                                                                                    04
    But while the internal transformative effects of his poetic labor of love
are not easy to gauge, some external changes are self-evident: during cam-
paign season, local politicians now ask him for permission or let him know
when they’re going to paint over one of his walls and people send him their
own poems or tip him off when a wall is freed up.
    Best of all, perhaps, is when someone smiles or heaves an imperceptible
sigh on reading a phrase like “I exist when I think of you.”

the Subversive Side of Poetry
Armando Alanis, who is now 40 and has two small children, began his
“poetic adventure” printing poems on fliers, which he would hand out on
Monterrey’s main avenues. He called this project “flying poetry.” Then he
started putting up posters in ATMs, a practice he christened “automatic
poetry for users.” Finally, he decided to take on the city’s public spaces and
                                                                                    05
emblazoned its walls with poetry, marking the birth of Acción Poética.
    “Acción Poética is actually the name of a movement. It is the name given
                                                                                         01 yoU MUst fall in loVe iMMediately.
to any performance that breaks daily routine […] I firmly believe in what                            (Photo Mircea tUrcan)
Octavio Paz said about how ‘poetry should enter into action’. After all, ac-                         02 dreaMing is Knowing.
                                                                                                           (Photo e. Perales)
tions provoke reactions and this is what I’m aiming for: to get people to                       03 arMando alanis, foUnder
react to poetry, to their own sensibilities, which are often hidden or lying             and only MeMber of acción Poética.
                                                                                                              (Photo archiVe)
dormant beneath the surface.”                                                                       04 arMando alanis in the
    At first, Armando Alanis wrote his own poems, but they were too long                        Poetry festiVal of MedellÍn.
                                                                                                         (Photo coUrtesy of
to read on the move. In time, he has perfected the message of Acción Poé-                     festiVal de PoesÍa de MedellÍn)
tica: phrases no more than eight words long, divided into two lines and                                   05 hUrry UP slowly
                                                                                                           (Photo e. Perales)
written in black letters against a white background.
58 Negocios i The Lifestyle




                                                                                                     01




    He has also branched out and begun spreading the word of other                Perhaps this explains why Alanis has never stopped to consider the
poets, authors, popular singers, great philosophers and even the peo-         monetary cost. Up until now, he has financed Acción Poética himself,
ple who write to him. There is only one golden rule of thumb: their           juggling jobs as a writer, professor and manager of cultural projects.
message must be moving.                                                           He has no idea how much he’s spent on paint and materials, not to
    Alanis isn’t well known outside his native Monterrey, but his name        mention the hours spent in the extreme weather of Monterrey, where
is familiar to the local press.                                               temperatures can reach as high as 40oC or dip below zero depending
    The first articles written about him featured dramatic headlines          on the time of year.
like “Graffiti Gets Arty”. Alanis isn’t “famous” as such, but his work            But none of this seems to bother Alanis. All he knows is that po-
is and today Acción Poética is part and parcel of Monterrey’s urban           etry is his calling and Acción Poética one of his life projects. When
landscape.                                                                    all’s said and done, he knows “he isn’t alone” in his undertaking or at
    And although graffitiing is against the law in Nuevo León, instead        least not anymore.
of arresting him, police officers who have caught Armando red-hand-               Today, the seeds of his poetic urban rebellion planted 15 years ago
ed congratulate him and let him get on with it, chuffed to have met the       are beginning to bear fruit:
“author of this inoffensive street art.”                                          “Last year, a businessman approached me. He said he was an ad-
    “I devote every Sunday morning from seven to eleven to Acción             mirer of my work and wanted to back me. I can’t put a price on what
Poética. I’ve always done it in broad daylight, without hiding, without       I do, so I had the idea of asking him for paint. He gave me ten buckets.
asking permission. It’s my personal assault on the city’s routine. In         Thanks to him, I was able to keep painting walls without dipping into
that sense, I’m like a graffiti artist, but that’s really the only thing we   my own pockets,” he recalls.
have in common, which is not to detract from their work,” Armando                 And that businessman isn’t the only one who has taken note of
says.                                                                         the potential of Armando’s mission to change the face of Monterrey.
    He continues: “Poetry has always been subversive and I mean that          A chain of local restaurants has already asked permission to use his
in the best possible way. You can wage war or make peace with words.          work as its image and a paint brand wants to do a campaign in con-
They have immense power and I believe in that power. I believe that           junction with Acción Poética.
when you say or write or read something beautiful, you create beauti-             But it doesn’t end here. Over the years, Internet users have upload-
ful actions and reactions.”                                                   ed hundreds of photos and phrases by this lone poet. The movement
                                                                              even has a group of fans on Facebook and 2,000 users are signed up
the Power of Words                                                            to a special application that allows you to download a “daily phrase
They say words have power in and of themselves; that they are the magi-       by Acción Poética.”
cal property of the mind that dreams them up. Yet for Armando Alanis,             The short text format Alanis uses adapts perfectly to social net-
their real power lies not with their maker, but with their reader.            works like Facebook and Twitter, so if this Mexican bard ever decides
    And there may be some truth to it. Today, scientists, doctors, psy-       to “imbue virtual reality with a little poetry”, his movement could well
chologists and even economists would agree that, to a large extent,           escalate into a stirring literary uprising of global proportions. Because
our lives are governed by our emotions and that you can’t put a price         at the end of the day, in the poet’s own words, “we are the words that
on emotional health – something poets have always known.                      say what we are.” n
                                                                   INTERVIEw arMando alanis




                                                                    11




                                    02                                                                 03



                                                                            01 each one is its own scriPt.
                                                                                         (Photo archiVe)
                                                                         02 i aM the one who exists only
                                                                    when i loVe yoU as no one loVes.
                                                                                        (Photo archiVe)
                                                                      03 i forgot My eyes soMewhere
                                                                                      in the landscaPe.
                                                                     (Photo carlos garcÍa caMPillo)
                                                                           04 loVe and hesitation haVe
                                                                                 neVer gotten along.
                                                                                     (Photo e. Perales)




wORdS TRAVEL FROm mOUTH TO mOUTH.
they choose neither their user nor
their Destination.

According to Armando Alanis, the reason Acción Poética
hasn’t become a “global movement” is because we lack
the inner commitment; the will to own a dream as a life
project.
    Yet other cities, some in Mexico, others abroad, have
attempted to replicate this “inspirational street art.”
    Poetry walls have appeared in countries like Colombia,
Spain, Argentina and Uruguay, and while the Mexican
cities of Chihuahua (Chihuahua), Hermosillo (Sonora) and
Monclova (Coahuila) have taken it on board, none of these
efforts has been sufficient to transform the urban land-
scape due to a lack of perseverance.
    “In Monterrey, I have anonymous followers who go out
and paint poems. Best of all, they sign them Poetic Action.
In fact, two blocks from where I live, there are walls with
poems I didn’t paint. It brings me great joy. It makes me
think ‘something’ is finally moving,” says Armando.
                                                              04
60 Negocios i The Lifestyle   illustration archiVe




 coMMunicaTing
 science To The public:
 a strategic Matter
 by ericK de la barrera*
                                                                               SCIENCE & TECHNOLOgy science coMMUnication




        science communication to the general Public can be vieweD as a Form oF
        accountability by which researchers –most oF whom also work at Public
        universities– inForm how taxPayer money is being utilizeD.




F
           or scientific research the drill is    formal training for professional researchers       consider that science in Mexico is primar-
           pretty standard: plan an experi-       considers science communication to peers           ily funded by the state via CONACYT, the
           ment, execute it, write up the re-     only. Enter the communication profession-          National Council for Science and Technol-
           sults, submit to a specialized jour-   als, who either work as a team with scien-         ogy. Besides from being the main source of
nal, repeat. In this case, only a small number    tists or train themselves to read the scientific   money for research projects, CONACYT
of peers will have access to the results and      journals and to identify potentially interest-     awards fellowships for pursuing graduate
even smaller number of colleagues will actu-      ing findings that would make a good story for      studies in the country and abroad, and it
ally read the report and eventually use part of   relaying to the general public.                    has a program that recognizes the labor of
your findings to advance their own research.          One of the most visible projects of science    professional researchers with salary sup-
    That has been the way professional sci-       communication to the general public in Mexi-       plements. With this in mind, science com-
ence has worked for many decades. A re-           co is ¿Cómo ves? a magazine published by the       munication to the general public can be
markable exception, enabled by the Internet,      National Autonomous University of Mexico           viewed as a form of accountability by which
are colleagues from the physical and math-        (UNAM). ¿Cómo ves? is edited by a group            researchers –most of whom also work at
ematical sciences for whom it is acceptable to    of communication experts that write about          public universities–inform how taxpayer
post copies of their manuscripts on the web,      scientific issues or work along scientists to      money is being utilized.
before publication in the form of “pre-prints.”   produce carefully crafted articles designed to         A second line of argument justifying the
This allows for a broader access to their         be a first approximation to science by readers     need to communicate science to the public
work and elicits a more vigorous peer review.     of all ages. While the magazine is available in    considers the numerous and complex envi-
However, despite such a worldwide access to       newsstands and stores throughout the coun-         ronmental and social issues facing Mexico.
freshly brewed science, the contents of these     try and by subscription, an abstracted version     In this respect, the meager 1.5 scientists per
manuscripts still make sense or are of interest   is distributed by the Ministry of Education to     10,000 Mexicans are clearly insufficient
to a very reduced number of specialists.          be used by K-12 teachers.                          and an effective science communication
    So how do we make science more accessi-           At a smaller scale, the Internet is being      might encourage young students to pursue
ble to the general public? Or, even, why would    used by individuals to leverage their efforts of   careers in science. In addition, attaining a
we want to make it more accessible?               science communication. Such is the case of the     higher scientific literacy will definitively
    Regarding how to conduct a better sci-        Héctor Arita, an ecologist who, in addition to     help citizens in their daily lives, from cal-
ence communication, there has been an             conducting research, is a science communica-       culating the change when visiting a con-
ample debate on whether this enterprise           tion enthusiast. By utilizing Twitter and Face-    venience store, to understanding the im-
should be pursued by scientists themselves        book to socialize posts on his blog Mitología      minent impacts of climate change or iden-
or by professionals trained in communica-         Natural (Natural Mithology, hectorarita.           tifying the empty claims of many so-called
tion. Either group has clear advantages over      wordpress.com), he is able to reach a wide au-     miracle products. n
the other. For instance, scientists are the       dience with topics that range from arsenic
ones advancing knowledge, have access to          poisoning of the renaissance Italian nobility to
recent research findings of their peers, and      recent advances in earthquake science.             * Research Professor in the Center for Ecosys-
have a clear understanding of complex is-             Returning to the question of why science       tem Research, National Autonomous Univer-
sues in their areas of expertise. However,        communication is important, we should              sity of Mexico (UNAM).
62 Negocios i The Lifestyle




        Real de Catorce
        THe gLow THAT
        CAPTivATeD HoLLywooD
        by antonio VÁzQUez




                                                                   R
Secluded in a valley, flanked by mountains and surrounded                          eal de Catorce shines just like
by the desert, Real de Catorce is undoubtedly Mexico’s most                        the gold and silver that made
                                                                                   it one of the most important
famous ghost town –a misnomer since it not only shows signs
                                                                                   Mexican mining towns of the
of life, but of renaissance.                                                       early 20th century.
Real de Catorce has become an important tourist destination            Today, the splendor of this city nestled in
on the international level. It is frequently visited by national   the heart of the Catorce mountain range in
                                                                   the state of San Luis Potosí, located on the
and foreign tourists, who are attracted by its history and         north of Mexico, has captured the heart of
mystery, as well as the many miracles that have been endorsed      Hollywood. Brad Pitt, Salma Hayek, Penélope
to the patron saint of the region, Saint Francis of Assisi.        Cruz, Julia Roberts and other film actors have
                                                                   lived, filmed and contemplated this mystical
                                                                   town of no more than 200,000 inhabitants
                                                                   accesible only after crossing the Ogarrio tun-
                                                                   nel, a 2.3 kilometer gravel-burrowed tunnel
                                                                                                             dESTINATION real de catorce




through solid mountain that was opened on            huala, located in the eastern plains where it         mines, like San Agustín, remains with its mix of
April 2, 1901.                                       was refined.                                          Spanish and Arabic styles.
    The Ogarrio Tunnel is an experience in itself.       Until 1925, when the last golden era of Real          In Real de Catorce the legacy of mestizaje
The claustrophobic passage is linked at oppo-        de Catorce ended, tons of gold and silver were        and that of the indigenous cultures of the region
site ends by phone operators who inform each         transported through that tunnel. Nowadays,            are still alive. Wirikuta, a Wixarika (Huichol)
other when a vehicle is about to cross it. There’s   walking across it, no matter if it is during day or   ceremonial center, is located to the southwest of
only room for one vehicle in the Ogarrio.            nighttime, is a magical experience that connects      the village. Every year, the Wixaritari (Huichol)
    Paradoxically, when the Ogarrio Tunnel           with another, similar experience: Real de Ca-         go there to talk to their gods. According to their
was inaugurated, it considerably shortened           torce has hardly changed in over 330 years pre-       beliefs, that is where life began.
the distance between the Real and the east           serving almost the same buildings and houses              Every year, Huicholes from the states of
side of the mountain where many mine shafts          since it was founded in 1779.                         Durango, Nayarit, Jalisco and San Luis Potosí
can be found, as Santa Ana, El Refugio, Bo-              At that time, the Spanish began their explo-      recreate the journey that their ancestors made
queiro and Ave María.                                ration and exploitation of metals in the region,      in search of light. Once in Wirikuta, they dance,
    It facilitated the transportation of miner-      causing the population growth of Real de Ca-          sing and eat hikuri (peyote) to start a dialogue
als to the estates of Potrero, Cedral and Mate-      torce. The architecture of some of the Spanish        with their deities. Then they climb the Cerro
64 Negocios i The Lifestyle




del Quemado and once they reach an altitude           a Pirate of the Caribbean in the Sierra
of 2,000 meters above sea level, they begin the       Humberto Fernández is one of the best-
final ritual of their celebration.                    known Mexicans in Hollywood. His talent
    Wirikuta and the Cerro del Quemado are            as an actor was discovered by director Gore
two of the most attractive tourist spots sur-         Verbinski.
rounding Real de Catorce. The trip to Wiri-              In 2001, when Verbinski was filming The
kuta, a large desert area of 140 hectares, takes      Mexican –starring Brad Pitt and Julia Rob-
about four hours on-board old Jeeps and costs         erts– in Real de Catorce, he met Fernández
between 20 and 50 usd.                                whose “almost hippie” look –he is a thin dark
    Access to the Cerro del Quemado and the           man with long white hair and beard– attract-
Cerro Grande is only possible on horseback.           ed the director to such an extent that he hired
The ride will cost up to 70 usd. The tour in-         the hotelier to play a character in the film: a
cludes an extraordinary mountain landscape            mixture of a cowboy and a Mexican mariachi,
where, if you are lucky, you may see golden           riding a white horse.
eagles, an endemic species, soaring high above.          Beyond a 60,000 usd payment for his per-
A panoramic view of Wirikuta can be enjoyed           formance, Fernández struck up a friendship
from the hilltops. Also, in the Cerro del Que-        with Verbinski, who promised him a role in
mado there is a small temple where the Hu-            another of his films: Pirates of the Caribbean,
ichol leave offerings during their rituals.           with Johnny Depp.
    A few minutes from Real de Catorce, the              Due to the events of 9/11, Fernández could
“ghost town” has subtle touches of mysticism          not take part in the first film of the series. But
in the remains of the old mine works, including       Verbinski fulfilled his promise: Humberto
mills and warehouses.                                 Fernández played one of the buccaneers in Pi-
    Today, Real de Catorce’s gold mine is tourism,    rates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)
says Humberto Fernández, a hotelier. Accord-          –the third film of the series– along with John-
ing to him, nearly 95% of the locals are involved     ny Depp and Keith Richards, founding mem-
in tourism. The truth is that between Septem-         ber of the rock band The Rolling Stones.
ber and October every year, 25,000 people visit          The evidence of Fernández’s Hollywood
the town during the festivities of Saint Francis of   debut hangs from the walls of his hotel –Hotel
Assisi, the patron saint of the region.               El Real– in Real de Catorce. n

				
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