3.1.2 The IT Cluster in Costa Rica
Costa Rica has fostered its economic growth attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), it has managed to change its production from the agricultural field to the high technology sector and orienting their production towards the exports. Costa Rica has recorded a steady increase in the exports from 1997 as a consequence of the increase of FDI and the installation of a production plant of microprocessors of the foreigner company Intel Co. (CEPAL, 2010). Intel is the largest producer of microprocessor chips in the industry of technology in the world. Its presence is well established with different plants around the globe, especially in some regions of Asia. Its incredible growth rate pushed Intel to constantly need to open additional production plants, which led to the construction of their production facility in Costa Rica.
Why Intel chose Costa Rica? There were some specific factors that influenced the decision of Intel. In comparison of other potential locations, this country provided: political and social stability, local resources focused to health education and which contributed to provide Intel qualified human resources for the daily activities. By the time Intel was looking for a country in Latin America in which they could operate a new plant, Costa Rica was one of the countries with less illiteracy rate in the region. In addition, the relatively close proximity of the country also played an important role during the decision process. Most of all, the national government was willing to support the installation of the high technological facility in the country, they agreed to exonerate Intel the pay of taxes for 8 consecutive years. All these support, made this Central American country an attractive destination for Intel.
As a consequence of the operations of Intel in the country, some benefits have been evident; there is a considerable increase of the GDP because of the rise of the exports of the country. In addition, there was a considerable reduction of unemployment, the local providers of the company and the company itself have provided the region significant job places. The local suppliers provide Intel software solutions in contrast with the hardware, which is mostly imported, assembled and finally exported.
The Technical University ITCR has also experienced substantial support from the company. During the selection of the new location of the Intel facility, the University worked closely with the company resulting in a future association. Because of this association the ITCR had to adequate its academic portfolio in order to provide Intel suitable human talent capable of manufacturing microprocessors, while Intel agreed to promote training of teachers, provide scholarships and donate equipment to the university to strength their electronic faculty. Not only the university has been benefited with money inflows, but also these big company participated with the public sector in the development and...