Mexico’s ‘Silicon Valley’ Senses Opportunity Despite Donald Trump’s Threats
Donald Trump’s obsession with tearing up NAFTA, bringing back jobs, deporting millions of undocumented immigrants and making Mexico pay for his infamous wall has inspired much fear and uncertainty south of the border, causing the peso to plummet to record lows.
Tens of thousands of Mexicans marched across the country on Sunday to show they will not be bullied, but also to castigate their own president, Enrique Peña Nieto, whose approval ratings have slipped to 12 percent partly because of his meek response to Trump’s threats.
In Mexico’s burgeoning tech sector, however, concern is offset by recognition of an opportunity to build a more self-sufficient scene and capitalize on Trump’s rejection of foreign talent.
Long famed as the birthplace of tequila and mariachi music, the western state of Jalisco is now known as “Mexico’s Silicon Valley” due to the proliferation of local and multinational tech firms clustered around the state capital Guadalajara.
Last week, Jalisco governor Aristóteles Sandoval ran a bold full-page ad in Politico magazine offering to work with any American tech firms affected by Trump’s policies, while providing opportunities for their 85,000 foreign workers “with no discrimination of origin, religion or legal status.”
“If the United States shuts the door on people with visas and skills then of course we’ll open the doors to them here in Mexico, where there’s no barriers for talent,” Sandoval said in an interview with Motherboard on Monday before flying to California for talks with local officials and dozens of major tech companies and startups…