The recent global coronavirus pandemic caused a slowdown in the Tijuana maquiladoras, but a complete comeback is underway.
The leader of the Association of Industrialists of Otay Mesa, Luis Armando Padilla Fitch, recently pointed out that it is the aim of his organization to motivate more local companies to get involved in supplying goods and services to the newly rejuvenated Tijuana maquiladoras. Even though the industrial sector has been adversely affected due to the global health crisis of the past several years, the factories in Tijuana are poised to generate robust growth in 2022.
According to the businessman, “There have been many Tijuana maquiladoras that have been highly affected by the pandemic. However, despite this fact, thanks to the competitiveness of the city’s industrial base and its prominence in the global economy, we have managed to overcome the recent market slowdown by promoting new business models that address productive integration.”
Padilla Fitch noted that a critical component of maintaining and expanding the competitive strength of the manufacturing cluster in Tijuana is the continued improvement of the city’s public services. More specifically, a modernized infrastructure in the areas of electricity and water, in particular, is necessary to meet the increasing demands of the global marketplace.
Finally, he highlighted the future of the industry in the region is a bright one, thanks to the growth of some of the most critical sectors of the manufacturing economy of Tijuana.
Tijuana maquiladoras lead major global industries
Currently, there are approximately 270,000 maquiladora employees in production facilities in Tijuana, which is roughly equivalent to the population of Chula Vista, California. In total, the maquiladora operations occupy industrial buildings that total 70 million square feet. The four primary industries that have a significant presence in Tijuana are:
- Medical Device – According to the Tijuana Economic Development Corporation, “the Northwestern region of Mexico, particularly the city of Tijuana, has become an important part of the manufacturing industry, where the medical device industry stands out.” The medical device cluster of Baja California is mainly concentrated in the city of Tijuana and is the largest in Mexico. Medical device manufacturers in Tijuana are responsible for generating more than US $300 million every year. Tijuana leads Mexico in this type of manufacturing, and Mexico is the top exporter of medical devices in Latin America.
- Automotive and Transportation – In addition to OEM assemblers such as Toyota and Kenworth Trucks, Tijuana’s maquiladoras are Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 suppliers to the industry. These companies produce items such as automotive cables and batteries, wire harnesses, starters and alternators, exhaust systems and mufflers, and other parts and components that are integral to the manufacture of automobiles. Ninety percent of Tijuana’s automotive industry production is exported to the United States, while Mexico’s domestic market consumes the remaining ten percent.
- Aerospace – The first aerospace company located in Tijuana in the 1970s performed the assembly of airplane components. Since that time, the city has become the most experienced in the sector in the country. Today, the companies that make up the Tijuana maquiladoras that are a part of the city’s aerospace industry employ approximately 11,700 workers. Some of the products built in Tijuana plants include engine parts, cabin interiors, avionics, and insulation components. In addition to producing products for commercial aviation, aerospace manufacturing facilities in the city are also involved in manufacturing goods used in the defense industry.
- Electronics – Tijuana has the largest concentration of factories and jobs in the electronics center in Mexico and all of Latin America. For instance, companies that are a part of the Tijuana electronics industry cluster lead the world in the manufacture of television sets. Each year companies that engage in TV production are responsible for manufacturing approximately twenty million units annually. The twelve plants that make televisions in Tijuana have created 95,000 direct labor positions and 30,000 indirect jobs. In addition, Tijuana maquiladora manufacturing plants account for 64% of the electronics manufactured in the state of Baja, California.
Over the last several decades, the number of employees in Tijuana maquiladoras has risen steadily due to the Mexican industrial center’s proximity to the United States and the low cost of a large labor force that consists of both skilled and unskilled workers. In addition, due to COVID-19, the global supply chain and consumer buying habits have changed. Therefore, companies that wish to explore setting up manufacturing facilities in Tijuana are encouraged to speak with the Tecma Group of Companies professionals.