To tap into Mexico's e-commerce market, you'll need more than Spanish translations and currency-converting software. The climate in Mexico requires businesses to establish a local presence via alliances, partnerships or physical offices. Without a physical presence, explains Daniel Ordaz, an e-marketing expert in Monterrey, Mexico, "an Internet business would not only be unwelcome, but might even be boycotted." Case in point: Tuzona.com, a site in San Francisco that develops Web sites for businesses and sells computer products to U.S. and Mexican Latinos. Liliana Miranda Townshend, 28-year-old co-founder and CEO, insists that opening a branch office in Guadalajara made all the difference. "There's no easy way to solve the currency conversion problem," she explains. "Our Mexico site must do business in pesos, and [to do that] we need a local Mexican bank." She and her husband and co-founder, Peter, 30, say they've seen enough success to warrant expansion into Brazil.
Given that Mexico is the United States' second-largest trading partner, with more than $170 billion dollars changing hands each year, expect e-commerce to play a vital role in business opportunities between the two countries.