On July 2010 Hewlett Packard announced the location of its outsourced business services hub for the whole of Latin America. HP will be partnering with the local government and UNE-EPM (Colombia’s leading utility service provider). The location is in north Medellin near the University of Antioquia, the Botanical Gardens and Parque Explora. HP plans to hire up to 4,000 persons as the hub is fully launched. So why did Hewlett Packard choose Medellin over say Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo, Lima, Santiago, Bogota, San Jose and other leading Latin American cities?
Since I live and work in Medellin I was delighted to see that corporate America is now discovering what many of us have known for years. Medellin is the worlds best kept secret, not just for living and real estate, but for the corporate world too. For those of us who live here, we love the spring like climate every day, the lack of insects (screen porches not necessary), the cleanliness of the people and the city, the Metro line, low prices, great health care, inexpensive real estate and the tremendous positive energy here. It is truly an affordable cosmopolitan living experience!
It is reported that HP based its decision to locate in Medellin on a number of factors such as access to a cost effective highly-skilled work force, top-calibre universities, government cooperation, affordable housing, strategic training opportunities, excellent technological and transportation infrastructure and possibly the best climate in the world.
The HP hub will be part of a three phased $30,000,000 USD “Ruta N” development project which will include local government offices and a UNE-EPM Telecommunications Research Center. It is forecasted that the Ruta N construction will be completed by the end of 2011.
It is believed by many that the reason real estate prices are so reasonable in Medellin is the continued international misperceptions about Medellin and Colombia in general. Apparently the Hewlett Packard international expansion due diligence team found out otherwise.
I find this remarkable when it was not too many years ago that Pablo Escobar and the drug cartels dominated the international news about Colombia. Now the news is about the drug violence in Northern Mexico and all the violence and kidnappings on the US border and especially Arizona. Much credit must be given to former president Uribe’s leadership but, for those who have visited Medellin, credit must also be given to the locals, Paisas, who have an indomitable drive to succeed and may be some of the friendliest and nicest people in the world.
So my final question is what happens when the rest of corporate America (and international companies) note HP’s decisive move to Medellin. Don’t you believe that many will follow and that will be excellent for Medellin’s economy as well as firming local real estate prices?