MCALLEN, Texas – When McAllen leaders announced the arrival of Zoho, earlier this year, they predicted other companies linked to the global software developer would follow in their footsteps.

Well, now, it is about to happen. 

At a recent McAllen Economic Development Corporation board meeting, the group’s vice president, Ralph Garcia, revealed he is working on the bringing in a robotics company within the Zoho family.

“They are an investment company that is supported by Zoho, one of the companies we announced a few weeks back,” Garcia told the board. “They have a robotics division. They are working very well. We are actually working with STC (South Texas College) on an incubator-type set up with them. That is moving along very well. They will be formalizing an agreement so we are hope we can announce that soon.”

Ralph Garcia
Ralph Garcia

A supporting document showed that the unnamed manufacturing company plans to build “engineered custom equipment.” They need a projected 6,000 square feet of space and would hire 20 employees. The capital investment would be $1 million. 

Interviewed after the meeting, Garcia provided The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service more details.

“Zoho, as you know, are a tech company. They are very large in terms of their sales revenue. They have other companies that they have invested in. Some in robotics, some in EV (electric vehicles) vehicles, in California,” Garcia said.

“And, what they are doing is looking at certain businesses they have made investments in, to help them start looking at Texas and primarily to look at our region, for future development and future investment.”

This reporter pointed out that MEDC had predicted that other Zoho-connected companies would be arriving in McAllen soon after the parent company. 

“That is a big plus for us. We are starting to see those projects. We have visited with two already,” Garcia said.

“One, as I mentioned, is looking at an opportunity here in the area and is ready to establish a presence, we hope within the next three to six months. Their initial idea is to hire 15-plus people, different calibers of engineers, technical, skilled talent, and so the pay grades will be really good for those types of positions.”

Longer term, though, the plan is for more investment in the McAllen area.

“Their hope is that in two years they will be at 30 to 35 people, The opportunity for us is, as those jobs start getting created it just builds more opportunities for the folks here in the Valley,” Garcia said.

“Right now, everything they are doing is focused on moving to the McAllen area, relocating from California. Both of the (Soho-connected) companies we are talking to are manufacturing companies, very high skilled, very technical.”

Garcia added: “It is a great opportunity for us. Having folks like Zoho here, and seeing the other businesses they have invested in, word starts to spread and so we are hoping to see more activity of that type coming to the region.”

Zoho’s arrival in McAllen

Zoho started out in India. Their arrival in McAllen was celebrated in April. Click here to read about that arrival. Click here to listen to a podcast about the company’s philosophy.

At the April event, three local VIPs welcomed the company to McAllen. Here are their remarks from the event.

Keith Patridge, president of McAllen EDC

Good morning everyone. My name is Keith Patridge and I am the president and CEO of McAllen Economic Development Corporation and the McAllen Foreign Trade Zone Corporation.

I am pleased to be the master of ceremonies for today’s announcement, welcoming Zoho as the newest member of the rapidly growing McAllen international corporate family. 

We are extremely pleased to be making today’s announcement about Zoho for several reasons. First, it marks the arrival to McAllen of a global technology company that will offer our family and friends career opportunities in the rapidly growing software development sector. Second, Zoho is giving us the opportunity to validate something that we all have known for a long time. And that is the technology company does not have to be located in a major metropolitan area to be successful. And that gives us an opportunity, and other cities like us, a chance, to show that we can provide the labor skills, safety, support and welcoming quality of life we all look for in that work-life balance. And third, it has been a real pleasure to work with the entire Zoho team. They are a class act and we appreciate that very much. 

As we helped them look for a new company location, we had a chance to talk about their core operational concepts and beliefs, the vision for the future and even the design and color of the remodeled space that we are providing here in the Foreign Trade Zone for them to get started. All of these things really pointed to McAllen being the right choice for Zoho’s existing business and future growth opportunities. 

You know I had the same feeling that I have had working with Zoho from day one several years ago with another company. It was just one of those things when we first met with the chairman and the president. It just felt right. It felt right to them. It felt right to us. So we just knew that this was the right location for their future growth plans. What is interesting is that they started with 17 employees and 11,500 square feet of space. Not much different than what Zoho is starting with in the Foreign Trade Zone. They also were in the Foreign Trade Zone. They started out with assembly operations of electronic products for their automotive customers, which was about two or three customers at that time in the automotive sector. Today, they have over one million square feet of space. They have over 6,000 employees producing the electronic components for global automotive customers around the world in McAllen and Reynosa, Mexico. But do you know what the best of all is? Next month we will celebrate their 30th Anniversary in McAllen. I am confident that Zoho will experience the same success in McAllen. 

And finally, to the entire Zoho team, thank you for believing in our community. You are becoming part of our corporate family. And we will do all we can to not let you down. Welcome to McAllen. 

Javier Villalobos, mayor of McAllen

If I seem excited it is because I am very excited. This is great news. When I first got elected I started getting so many emails. Like you wouldn’t believe. Messages from all over the place. I got an email from, I don’t know what it was, some Zoho kind of deal. What is it? You know what, something about business. I said, Becky, can you take a look at it. 

I thought Zoho was going to be a vendor so I am going to see what they can do for the city of McAllen. Becky comes back and say, hey, this is a company that is interested in relocating, well, not relocating but opening up in McAllen. We started looking at it and what it was. Locations throughout the world, headquartered in Austin and India. And we were thinking, and they are interested in McAllen? What can we do? Becky, thank you very much. Whatever you did, whatever you all did, thank you very much. (Applause)

One thing I learned is, make sure to always open up your emails. (Applause) Because a lot of times we don’t. 

Look, all of this would not be possible without our partners. In order to attract these type of companies, and I am talking about these types of companies, this is what we need. Thank you, A&M, STC, UTRGV, with an educated workforce, everything is possible. Thank you all very much for your partnerships, from the City of McAllen. 

Zoho, we are looking forward to a very good and long relationship. The City of McAllen welcomes you. Bienvenidos.

(Editor’s Note: The “Becky” Mayor Villalobos was referring to was Rebecca M. Olaguibel, director of retail and business development for the City of McAllen) 

Richard Cortez, Hidalgo county judge

You know, Mayor, I am going to have to talk to you about this. Your enthusiasm It is a little lacking, okay. (Applause). That is a compliment, sir. I love your enthusiasm, I love your excitement. 

Today we are here to congratulate Zoho and also the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, and, of course, the City of McAllen and all the people of Hidalgo County. You know, announcements such as this one, are not only welcome but they are necessary for the economic vitality of our community. 

I am proud to welcome Zoho here, which has been a software development leader for over 25 years. You heard that before but my teacher always told me, repetition is the mother of all learning. Okay?  Correct? Alright.

I am just proud of the efforts made by so many gathered here today. On behalf of Hidalgo County, to make this promising and viable partnership between all of us, that you have heard (about today), to make this happen (thank you). 

A Zoho official said that some of the reasons that this international company chose Hidalgo County for its third Texas office was, again, our quality of life, our cost of living (85 percent of CPI, mas o minus), our healthcare, the strength of our local educational system, which we talked about, and, most important, our culture. 

By the way, when I came here and I met this gentleman representing the company, I told him, you are family. He looked at me. Really? Yes, I have grandchildren by the name of Chandrahasan, my daughter picked a good man for a husband and gave me two beautiful grandkids. So, you are family to me. 

All of those people involved are tremendous endorsements from a company that has more than 75 million users worldwide and have 10,000 employees. Wow. That is impressive. (Applause)

One of the company’s strategies, which they call transnational localism is the belief that Zoho does not need to be in any major metropolitan area to succeed. Stated another way, our greatest local resource, the people of Hidalgo County, can succeed internationally and still stay here in our community. That is a partnership that benefits all.

So, on behalf of all of us here in Hidalgo County, welcome. Bienvenidos. 

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