How Colombia became a hub for global tech companies

BOGOTA, Colombia

Colombian President Ivan Duque met Chinese leader Xi Jinping in July for a three-day summit to boost economic ties between the countries.

After the visit, Duque said products such as bananas, avocados, flowers, and Colombian coffee will have new markets in the Asian country.

Colombia exports $4.5 billion and imports $10,5 billion from China.

“This is a negative trade balance that invites us to think about how to consolidate and strengthen more markets,” said Duque. “Eighty-five percent of Colombian exports to China are from energy miner sector, and traditional exports just reach $200 million.”

Aimed to create new commercial alliances, Ruta N, a high-tech and environmentally friendly building in Medellin, Colombia, hosts two of the biggest Chinese tech companies: Huawei and Tuya Smart, giving more than 100 jobs.

Tuya Smart is a global Intelligent platform that enables smart products for consumers, brands, original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and retail chains.

“Since this year, we have created an intelligence business to identify strategic companies that can bring development to Medellin. Key tech companies, Internet of Things and blockchain” Sin Kit, CTi solutions developer at Ruta N. told Anadolu Agency.

Sin is Chinese and she understands the main needs companies in her country have when they come to Latin America.

“We have a soft landing program that allows Chinese companies to learn about Medellin and Colombia. To a foreign person arriving in a new country is difficult, learn a new language, learn about national law, so we ease this process.”

Ruta N is also a networking company and has open innovation platforms to connect people, business and companies.

“What makes Ruta N unique is that this is an initiative backed up by public policies and we are working on innovation and technology for almost 10 years, because Medellin thinks that if we have a sustainable economy, this need to be based on knowledge,” said Sin.

The Latin America Silicon Valley

Besides the Chinese companies, Ruta N hosts around 320 companies from more than 30 countries, creating more than 8,000 jobs since 2012.

Andrew Ng, founder of the Google Brain project and former CEO of Coursera, chose Medellin to open a second office for his projects: the education startup, the AI Fund startup studio for building AI companies and, which helps enterprises use Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“We’re equally thrilled for our Silicon Valley team to be learning from the Medellin community. Local knowledge and innovation shared with a global community is what will catapult the technology forward,” said Ng in the opening announcement last August.
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