In an interview with Global Platform, Omar Fayad, Governor of Hidalgo, discusses how establishing education and language programmes at the university level has fostered meaningful partnerships with Asian markets. Hidalgo’s role as a key logistical centre is a foundational element to Mexico’s strategy as it seeks to develop its market beyond current free trade agreements.
Mauricio Leyva, Executive Vice-President and CEO of Grupo Modelo (AB InBev), speaks about the potential of Mexico as part of AB InBev’s international multimodal infrastructure network, and in particular, the expansion of Hidalgo’s plant and production capacity in the coming year that will solidify Mexico’s place as a leading beer-producing country on the world stage.
Asia: A key target market
FAYAD: When things get harder up north, we’re looking to the east, we’re turning towards the 75% of the planet that isn’t in the free trade agreement with the United States. We have a great opportunity and we believe that it’s important to seek it out. That they know us is important.
We’re very interested in doing business with Asia. To Mexico, Asian countries represent a very important niche, which we’re very interested in. We want them to get to know us, we want them to come, we want them to see us. If we want to interact with Asia, we have to strive to have a lot of our young people start to learn the language, principally so that they can be a part of the process we are currently in.
We have universities that are sending our young people to Asia. Right now we have a programme with China. We’re very interested in that our young people go great distances so that they can learn the language. Bilingualism will be very important, and we don’t just want it to be English. The last government had a total yearly investment of $170m and we’ve passed $1.6bn.
Investment & Connectivity
We are only 30 minutes away from the biggest market in Mexico – one of the biggest markets in the world – and 30 minutes away not only from the biggest market, but from the most modern international airport in the world. We have communication with the north, the south; we have communication with the east, we have the connection between the Gulf and the Pacific. I think that Hidalgo is located at a strategic point so that people are thinking about new investments in this country. We have all the communication possibilities to establish us as a logistical point for many companies. Hidalgo can be your centre of operations and your logistical centre for all of America. We have everything to establish a multipolar platform.
We’re interested in the automotive industry. We think that today we’re the niche for high-technology electric car makers. We’re trying to get involved in new energy reform movements, because Hidalgo can also be a new energy centre in this country. We’re betting on renewable energy. We want to participate in the big solar energy projects, wind power, geothermal energy – we think that today we’re ready.
Unique investment opportunities
We’ve been able to bring in investments of over $800m to bring in one of the most important companies of the beer-brewing world. With this, Mexico will surely become one of the world’s great beer exporters. With this, Hidalgo will be strengthened as an important piece of this beer-exporting process.
LEYVA: Mexico is a very important country for AB InBev Global, given that today they are the fourth-largest beer-producing country in the world, after China, the United States and Brazil. Now Mexico is even in front of countries that are traditionally beer-producing such as Germany, Belgium and Holland. It’s an important project, incrementally increasing the production capacity by 17% in a plant that will be built in Hidalgo during 2018.
Multimodel infrastructure connections
It is a strategic localization on the part of Grupo Modelo due to various factors. The first is because it has a freeway network, the infrastructure, which is very important to connect with the rest of the country. In this way, we can stock the centre of the country at a competitive cost. Additionally, the rail line that connects Hidalgo with the principal ports also makes it a strategic location for exporting. It’s being built in an area of 100 hectares. 198 hectares were bought from the state of Hidalgo. This is to say that the total capacity of the plant can be duplicated depending on the needs and growth of the market, both domestic and export. I see a promising future; I’m not overstating the uncertainties that there are in other parts of the world, but definitely the geographic location, the strength and attitude of the people to move forward, day-to-day, to look for opportunities is much bigger than what we see in other places today.