Santiago Gutierrez Fernandez
IN REGARDS TO THE ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY, WHAT IS THE PRESENT SITUATION IN EXPORTS, WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS?
The electronics industry had a little bit over US$60 Billion of exports from Mexico to the world in 2011. This is a considerable volume of exports as you can tell by this fi gure. The exports have been growing very rapidly specially since 2005. Most electronics, approximately 80% of the total, are consumer electronics such as fl at screen TVs, computers in all of its business lines: desktops, laptops, and notebooks.
Now for the near future, I mean, for the next 2 or 3 years, we are expecting growth in exports, consumer electronic exports, at a rate of approximately 5% or 6% per year, this will bring us to over US$70 Billion by the year 2015. If you take into consideration that total exports from Mexico are about US$400billion, electronics is a very important component of our international trade.
The perspective that we are trying to build for the electronics sector is to diversify between more advanced electronics manufacturing and from consumer electronics to other kinds of goods.
We need to gravitate to engineering and design of electronics.
This already exists in Mexico but we need to grow that value added function in the supply chain.
In addition, we see diversifi cation in the increasing role of electronics in other industries. The automotive, appliances and other industries are increasing their use of electronics.
ONE OF THE INTERESTING THINGS IS THE ROLE OF THE ELECTRONICS MANUFACTURING SERVICE COMPANIES OR THE CONTRACT MANUFACTURERS SUCH AS FOXCONN, WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN IN THEIR DEVELOPMENT HERE IN MEXICO?
The most important contract manufacturers from all over the world are already established in Mexico, all of them. There is no single contract manufacturer, global important contract manufacturer that does not have a facility in Mexico. And their operations are growing all over the country, not only at the border but all over the country. This is precisely one of the reasons why the Mexican electronics sector is exporting considerable amounts of value.
So we expect for that trend to continue in accordance obviously to globally economic growth. If global growth is affected or is impacted in any way obviously electronics manufacturing in Mexico, contract manufacturers will also be impacted.
WHEN WE STARTED MEXICO NOW 10 YEARS AGO WE WERE VERY WORRIED BECAUSE AT THAT TIME LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF COMPANIES WERE CLOSING DOWN HERE IN MEXICO AND MANY OF THEM WERE GOING TO CHINA, NOW 10 YEARS LATER IS THAT TREND FINISHED AND MAYBE EVEN REVERSED?
Yes, it has been reversed absolutely, thanks to a combination of very important factors such as the support from the Federal Government to attract investment and build employment with the right kind of policies.
One very clear example of that is the IT (Information Technology) sector. Mexico is now the fourth largest exporter in the world of IT services with approximately US$ 5 Billion. IT services include software design and engineering all the way down to Business Process Operations (BPO), Call and Service Centers. Ten years back as you mention, this sector’s exports hardly reached US$200 Million.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO FURTHER INCREASE THE COMPETITIVENESS AND THE VOLUME OF IT EXPORTS?
Basically there are 3 elements very directly related to competitiveness.
One and the most important one is innovation, the other one is training and certifi cation of human resources and the 3rd is the fi eld application of an eco-system of collaboration between the private industry, government and academia in order to promote growth in this sector.
This triple alliance is one of the very basic reasons why Mexico has done important progress in IT.
SOME BPO OPERATIONS AND SERVICE CENTERS SAY THEIR MAIN CONSTRAINT IS TO FIND ENOUGH PEOPLE WHICH ARE BILINGUAL, WITH GOOD ENGLISH SKILLS. ARE THERE ANY INITIATIVES FROM CANIETI TO IMPROVE THE ENGLISH LEVEL OF OUR STUDENTS?
CANIETI leads a program by the name of Mexico First.
Within this program there are certifi cations in IT, that includes high level certifi cations in JAVA, ORACLE, MICROSOFT and others at an international level. All that basic certifi cation includes administrative skills and one of those is English for example. We have been working very hard in order to bring to the market professionals that are profi cient in English in order to be competitive and meet the requirements of the sector.
LET’S TALK ABOUT THE LAST SECTOR THAT YOU COVER, TELECOMMUNICATIONS. WHAT ARE THE CANIETI INITIATIVES TO ORGANIZE THIS SECTOR WHICH OFTENTIMES SEEMS TO BE TROUBLESOME?
The main thing about this sector is that it is in a gridlock that involves legal interconnection rights between carriers. CANIETI in that regards is working very closely with COFETEL the commission of federal telecommunications in order to strengthen the telecoms regulations and increase the competitiveness of the sector.
The other initiative in order to promote a greater development of this sector of telecommunications is our work with the federal government to activate additional spectrum of frequencies for cable, TV and radio providers and wider bands. The idea is of course to have additional capacity to the existing and future telecom players to provide more services and to increase coverage to benefi t the general public.
But the one initiative that puts together the three sectors is the Digital National Agenda. This initiative converges the three sectors, electronics, telecommunications and IT at the national level. In order to design n instrument a digital agenda at a national level you need the technology and the expertise and human talent and the resources from those three sectors, and that is one of the key initiative in which CANIETI is working today and in the near future.
The National Digital Agenda is designed with specifi c programs with a single objective which is to bring the benefi ts of digital technology to all the sectors of the population including obviously the productive sectors.
The building of broad band penetration requires coverage programs, connectivity programs that are related to telecom networks. It also requires IT platforms and that are related to electronics from the perspective of all of the devices that you need in order to make that connectivity productive and benefi cial for all the users.
Mexico is around 25% of the average digital penetration compared to the leading countries. Our growth of penetration is still low, we are a little bit above the average for Latin America but we need to compare ourselves with the leading economies in broad band capacity. Mexico can no longer be a country of “averages”; we need to be above average.