3 Surprising Facts About The Internet In Mexico

By Jorge Valencia
October 31, 2016
Jorge Valencia
Steve Zylstra, president of the Arizona Technology Council, writes "Phoenix" using the Tilt Brush application during a recent visit to the Google offices in Mexico City.

Mike Nealy, like most people, has never visited Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. So the irony wasn’t lost on Nealy, who directs the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix, when he was recently taking a tour of a Google office -- in Mexico City.

“That did not get by me,” he said.

Nealy and about a dozen Phoenix business leaders visited Google’s offices as part of a visit to Mexico organized by city officials, who are encouraging Mexican businesses to invest in Arizona -- and Arizona businesses to expand to Mexico. Google is one of the most visible examples of American enterprises succeeding south of the border.

During the visit, Nealy and other executives saw many employees in Halloween costumes like zombies or Pacman ghosts. Nealy joked that he didn’t see a single person older than 30.

“They must shove them in the basement or have them move on to the banking system or something,” he said with a laugh.

But the biggest surprise for the guests from Phoenix is the potential they discovered. They got a tour and a presentation. Among what they learned:

  • The number of Internet users in Mexico nearly doubled in the last four years, jumping from 41 million in 2012 to 71 million in 2016.
  • Mexico is the largest market in the Spanish-speaking world for Google. Google estimates that, on average, people spend 360 minutes a day using the Internet, compared to an average of 93 daily minutes watching TV.
  • And people in Mexico are avid YouTube watches. Mexico ranks third in watch time across the world, after the U.S. and Brazil.

Nealy said that before the business visit to Mexico, he was considering organizing a soccer game for Mexican teams in Arizona. But after the visit, he was thinking about ways to take American college football teams to play in Mexico. He said the visit changed his perspective about the business opportunities.

“It’s pretty inspiring,” he said.