3 critical factors that will help tech companies be successful in Mexico

Office life in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City.
Office life in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City.
Image: Adam Wiseman/Corbis
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By Rodolfo Piedra, General Manager, Xerox Mexico

To technology vendors, Mexico offers a tremendous opportunity. It’s the biggest Latin American economy outside of Brazil and the 14th biggest economy in the world.

Information technology (IT) spending is still a drop in the bucket–less than one-half of one percent of GDP. For every $100 that Mexico’s economy produces, only about 40 cents represents money spent on technology. In the past, investment priorities have been elsewhere, including on social and educational reforms.

But the government of new president Enrique Peña Nieto, who is completing his first year in office, has a plan that includes aggressive spending on communications and on automating processes, and bringing more services to Mexican cities. If you’re working in technology, like me, it’s hard not to be optimistic about what all this means. There’s a lot of latent demand waiting to erupt.

Originally from Peru, I have worked for Xerox all over Latin America–including in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Argentina and now in Mexico.

There are cross-country similarities–in language and culture especially–but there are also major differences among Latin American economies. Someone doing business in Peru or Chile would probably work with a lot of mining-industry customers. In Mexico, the economy is built more around manufacturing and financial services.

For foreign technology companies that want to come into Mexico, I believe there are three critical success factors:

In depth research. There are a lot of resources to help you learn more about Mexico’s economic opportunities. This includes various industry associations and ProMexico, the government agency that’s focused on attracting foreign direct investment to the country.

Good legal advice. Make sure you understand Mexico’s legal and tax systems. These are non-trivial aspects of doing business in Mexico; failing to understand them could really set you back.

Networking. Work proactively with associations, like the American Chamber of Commerce, and connect with your industry peers. Work with local media to promote your brand and company, and find good partners. We know we can’t do it all by ourselves.

For Xerox, this is a particularly exciting time to be in Mexico. We’ve had a Mexican affiliate for 51 years, longer than in any other Latin American country. Celebrating this year  the 75th anniversary of xerography, I am proud to look back and to see what we have accomplished as a company all over the world–and in Latin America in particular.

Anticipating the increase in investment dollars in our industry in the nearest future, we are focused on the market. We’re strengthening relationships and building a strong and sustainable business to capture the growth to come; these are the keys to success for a multinational company in Latin America.

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This article was produced by Xerox and not by the Quartz editorial staff.