A Space for High Tech Businesses
Located on the border between California and Baja California, Silicon Border, a project for the scientific and technological industry in Mexico, will host companies with a high content of technological innovation and promises to become an attractive business model for the high technology major players in the world.
Silicon Border is one of the first Mexican industrial parks 100% focused on Science, Technology and Renewable Energy projects. It is located in Mexicali, just across the border with the US in an area supplied with water from the Colorado River and a major electrical sub-station supplied by three separate power plants.
The park aims to become an ideal location for alternative energy projects such as Solar and Wind farms. It is also a great location to establish processes for high-tech manufacturing, which are characterized by intensive use of water and electricity, “such as solar panel industry, semiconductors, biotechnology, nanotechnology, medical, plasma technology ‘display devices’, among other sectors that are the future of high technology,” says Daniel J. Hill, CEO and founder of the project.
For eight years, Hill has been an enthusiastic promoter of the creation of this park as a competitive alternative to Asia. “The vision in creating this high-tech industrial complex on the US-Mexico border is to provide Mexico with an infrastructure that enables high-tech companies anywhere in the world to move manufacturing operations to the country and exploit its competitive advantages such as geographical location, human capital, research, legal and tax benefits, intellectual property, international treaties and logistics provided by the country for manufacturing high technology products while allowing research to develop processes, design, fabrication and testing able to compete with Asian operations and costs,” says Hill.
Thus, Silicon Border has a goal of attracting investment from leading hi-tech players in the world and will generate more than 50,000 jobs, mostly engineering and technical level during the development process, estimated to take between 15 and 20 years.
Best Practices and the Mexican Model
The Silicon Border project is based on the concept of Hsinchu science park in Taiwan, operating since 1980 with great success. This will have an area of 2,000 hectares, of which the first 200 have been totally developed with an investment of over 60 million usd.
Silicon Border is designed, built and operated by executives from the semiconductor industry who have been involved in technology transfer to Asia over the past 3 decades.
Furthermore, the concept of the park is based on recent international experience. With a strategy based on the growth of ICT, Ireland surpassed a situation of relative backwardness and became the country with the second highest per capita income in the European Union. Other interesting cases are those of Korea, Scandinavia and India.
Why Baja California? According to Octavio Garza Fernández, President of Silicon Border, the Mexicali Valley and Silicon Border is ideal for these types of projects. The Park has the most advanced state-of-the-art infrastructure, a Leeds certified water purification and recycling waste treatment plant, and highly reliable energy sources. Additionally, the Valley has a very favorable geographical location, a long career in the electronics industry and manufacturing, and excellent schools for higher education. “The Autonomous University of Baja California, will be located inside the park with a 25 hectares campus for specialized engineering technologies in renewable energies semiconductors, laboratories and incubators. Also Mexicali has such excellent Universities as CETYS and the Technological Institute of Mexicali, among others. We will also like to have Conacyt (National Council for Science and Technology) in the park,” explains Garza Fernández, “so that the activity of industries of the highest level of technology can be complemented by Mexican research centers and international resources for development of new products.”
It is perhaps here where lies the novelty of the model proposed by Silicon Border. It seeks to create an “ecosystem” favorable for the insertion of the talent of Mexican scientists and research centers within the value chain of production projects and the development of regional clusters of high technology related to companies to be established in the park, allowing in addition, collaboration with research centers in other countries like Germany, Spain, Taiwan, Japan and China.
Silicon Border aims to become a “satellite city, sustainable, focused on the development and application of science and knowledge”, with a proper climate to further develop research projects and the creation of high technology in a collaborative environment which facilitates the linkage between industry and research institutes, universities and technical schools.
Silicon Border is inserted into a broader strategy. Since 2002, government and productive sectors in Baja California have prompted a clustering strategy to strengthen some of the most important sectors of the economy in the region, including: Electron ics, Information Technology, Aerospace, Biotechnology, Automotive and Energy. These are “mega clusters” which seek stronger integration noy only with the US but also with other regions of the world and within the country.
This strategy opens a great opportunity to strengthen research and development activities related to the high tech industry and Silicon Border is a clear example.
The project aims to attract world-class companies in those sectors that currently have the highest annual growth rates in the world.
Silicon Border provides first class infrastructure to meet the strict requirements of high-tech industries in a sustainable and ecological environment. The park offers a unique position to companies engaged in manufacturing operations as well as to those oriented to design and renewable energy generation.
The Park is located on the North Corridor Silicon Market that will have sustained growth for 20 years. It is estimated that at the time of its maturity the park will house more than 40 high-tech companies.