President Obama’s visit to Cuba last week was one that opened many doors, not only politically but business-wise. While the country still seems to be stuck in a state of suspended animation and it is slowly opening up to capitalist ideas that will mean great changes.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Xavier? Dude, how is this important? Well let me tell you how. The fact that Cuba is a developed country that is still, to us capitalist pigs, undeveloped makes it a fertile ground for the businesses.
On March 20th, the treasury department gave AirBnB the OK to expand its Cuba listings. This is one of the many moves that show just how much and how fast Cuba is becoming more open to businesses. On the same day, PayPal announced that Xoom, a new global money transfer service, would be coming to Cuba by the end of this year.
PayPal is a giant when it comes to the tech world, as well as the world in general. These moves by big companies in Cuba signal an impending tech boom, one that seems inevitable at the moment. This rise of Cuba to a tech giant mirrors the rise that Japan had after World War II, when after decades of
isolation, they opened trading with America and started making products that were considered western; Cars, TVs, etc. Not only did they start producing these things at a faster rate, but they also did them better and for cheaper.
Now, am I saying that Cuba will become the next Japan? Perhaps, Cuba is still a country that can be seen as lacking in a lot of things… but so was Japan. Necessity is the mother of invention, and Cuba for sure still needs a lot. That being said, only 5% of Cuba’s population has internet access, while a majority of them are still stealing it from the blackmarket, according to Uncubed. Not only that, but advertising is still a big issue; it is almost unheard of to advertise there. If you were to describe the American way of watching television where every 10 minutes or so you are interrupted for commercials, most Cubans would probably laugh at you. But I agree with them, commercials suck.
Cuba is still an undecipherable puzzle, but something tells me it won’t be like that for long, so for all of you techies out there that are experiencing the hostile American market, consider Cuba, a country that has been untainted by capitalism. Until now!