Tijuana aims to reshape its image
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A forum to introduce Tijuana
to the world
Sunday, September 19, 2010 at midnight
No fewer than eight out of 10 news items in the U.S.
media regarding Tijuana
are bad news reports. Everyone reads that there are drug cartel gangs in Tijuana but, as one of many examples, how many know that Los Angeles is the gang capital of the United States?
That’s because it’s not media daily fodder as is the Tijuana
So it’s not surprising that San Diegans find it difficult to accept that Tijuana is an international powerhouse and Mexico’s fourth
most populated city. Much of San Diego’s international business community is
aware of Tijuana’s significance, but the public is not and has a mindset
running contrary to the reality of the size and scope of Tijuana’s achievements
and impact, not just on San Diego, but throughout the United States, Canada and
numerous other countries.
This may take readers to the heart of the issue: All heart valves inserted
during surgery, keeping thousands of Americans alive, are made in Tijuana. As for outer
hosted the First International Aerospace Suppliers Forum in 2010 and will host
the second in 2011. The first forum generated $200 million in contracts. Its
success prompted the British Government’s Trade & Investment Body, the United Kingdom’s
defense associations and ILA, the world’s oldest aerospace show, to agree to
collaborate on the next event. Among 34 aerospace firms located in Baja California are
Honeywell, Gulfstream, Rockwell Collin, Lockheed Martin and Crissair.
Many have heard that Tijuana was the
television assembly capital of the world, though it has since lost that
position to China.
Not many know that China is
planning major investments in Baja California
with Tijuana as
a principal location to bring back television production and assembly there. Tijuana has automobile
manufacturing as well. A coming Chinese-brand automobile manufacturing and
assembly plant will join Toyota, which assembles
part of the Tacoma line of pickups in Tijuana.
More than 60 medical product manufacturers in Tijuana make it a major player in that
sector. Global consumer electronic product companies such as JVC, Panasonic, Sony,
Tyco, Sanyo, GE, Samsung and Hyundai have major plants in Tijuana. So do almost 600 companies making
furniture, toys, truck bodies and other products.
Consumers wanting quality but affordable dental work often turn to Tijuana. So do people
seeking generic medicines or Lasik eye surgery. But not many know about heart
surgery that can cost $20,000 at an excellent hospital with highly qualified
surgeons – a savings of $75,000 to $80,000 from comparable care in the United States.
Sadly, the American press tends to report only those few cases in which a
surgery went wrong or the doctor was not qualified.
Not many know about the Tijuana
restaurant row where gourmet Argentinian, Brazilian, Chinese, French, Japanese
and exquisite Mexican dishes are offered in fine restaurants. Nor is it common
knowledge that various chic shopping malls dot neighborhoods close to the
border with a variety of stores offering domestic and foreign goods.
It is small wonder that finally a group of Tijuana business leaders, community activists
and philanthropists led by Jose Galicot have decided that enough is enough. It
is time to show the world what Tijuana
is really all about.
Galicot’s idea will materialize in a two-week forum, Oct. 7-21, called
Innovating Tijuana, or Tijuana Innovadora. Sponsors say they have invited
former Vice President Al Gore ; economist Robert Aumann , a Nobel Prize winner;
Jimmy Wales , co-founder of Wikipedia and Wikia; Biz Stone , the co-founder of
Twitter; entrepreneur Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man; Paul Jacobs, head
of San Diego’s Qualcomm;
television personality Larry King and others.
In addition to the conference events, Tijuana
will display its tremendous advances in every field – science, medicine,
aerospace, the arts and even cuisine (remember, it was in Tijuana where Caesar’s salad was created).