What do Pablo Escobar and Computer Geeks have in Common?

Santi Lopez | Jan 30, 2012

Have you noticed Colombia lately?  Neither had HP!

The answer to the question is Medellin, Colombia. HSBC's BUSINESS without BORDERS recently published "Medellin, Colombia's new famous resident" article describes HP's fascination with Medellin, beginning two years ago which ultimately led to the establishment of their new Andean region headquarters.  


Recent events like the rise of Chavez, the consequential fall of Venezuela’s economy, the flight of Venezuelan talent & capital into Colombia, and of course the last ten years of continuous improvements in security levels, prompted the decision.


Late President Uribe and current President Santos have to be commended for finally tightening the squeeze on the 50 plus year, civil war and narco-guerilla and paramilitary elements in the country…and, not letting go! The results speak for themselves. Random crime has also dropped significantly due to rising police salaries, improved police training and increased prosecution for crimes. The country is only 2nd to Mexico as the largest Spanish speaking nation on the planet, so it’s about time it got its s---t together and received recognition for it!


A fresh perspective

HP’s open-minded outlook is expected to pay big dividends as they enjoy the local talent pool of well-educated, high-tech engineers; lower rents and salaries; lower taxes/tariffs; and a strategic hub for overseeing the rest of the Andean Pact countries, namely: Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.


The region has a rich history beginning late in the 15th century when the Spanish Inquisition drove the Jews out of Spain. Many migrated to the central region of Colombia which is now composed of four states: Pereira is the capital of Risaralda, Manizales is the capital of Caldas, Armenia is the capital of Quindío and the infamous Medellin, the capital of Antioquia. Shortly after arriving to this strange new world, many adopted new names and new religious identities to avoid further persecution. For this reason today's “Paisas”, descendants of these very European Jews, eat significant amounts of pork and dairy products, and practice Catholicism. The “Paisas” are characterized as well-educated, family-focused and having the strongest work ethic in the country. That work ethic, combined with traditional expertise in certain fields, means they tend to dominate the region in the areas of accounting, law, politics, apparel, real-estate and precious gems.


And speaking of gems, that’s what HP has stumbled on!


Global Gems

Want to learn about more markets which aren't necessarily typical in headlines but have huge potential for the international expansion of your business?  Contact Consilium Global Business Advisors to learn about opportunities and how you can leverage them.