San Diego and Tijuana Bond Over $230 Billion Economy

Visitors walk by a Skycap Shadow Rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during Farnborough Internationa. (Sang Tan/Associated Press)
Visitors walk by a Skycap Shadow Rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during Farnborough Internationa. (Sang Tan/Associated Press)
Visitors walk by a Skycap Shadow Rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during Farnborough Internationa. (Sang Tan/Associated Press)

 

(Bloomberg) — Jordi Muñoz lives in CaliBaja, a binational metropolis that San Diego and Tijuana want to put on the map.

A Mexican native with permanent resident status in the U.S., the 28-year-old is the co-founder of North America’s largest drone manufacturer, 3D Robotics Inc. Its aerial vehicles are designed in a San Diego office building and get their wings in a Tijuana factory where Muñoz’s childhood friend, Guillermo Romero, supervises a workforce of 115. Engineers from both countries shuttle between the two locations.

“Being on the border has allowed us to fabricate everything in-house,” Munoz said. “Workers in Tijuana have a California mentality, they don’t see limits — it’s a really nice combination.”

Like many people in California’s second-largest city, Muñoz sees the border more as an inconvenience than a barrier. Businesses are taking the same view. The region has a $230 billion economy that boosters tout as a rival to the pairing of innovation and cheap labor in Asia.

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