This year the US will be lifting an over 50 year embargo on Cuba. Last March, I had the opportunity to travel across Cuba for 10 days and I found this small 11 million people island in the Caribbean to be marvelous. As the US embargo on Cuba goes, tremendous business opportunities lay ahead on the island and I believe that the last generation of American companies will capitalize on them.
In the first quarter of 2015, tourism in l'Havana increased by 15%. And this is only the beginning because as Americans are allowed in the island, tourism is set to sky rock. However, not everything looks great in a country where the average salary is $20 and only one fourth of the population has internet access. It is clear that Cuba has a long journey to go.
Surprisingly, an american, Mark Zuckerberg, could have the key to power Cuba's change. Under his initiative internet.org, he could catalyze the process of connecting the country to the internet and create the perfect conditions for the following four companies to enter the island.
1. Xiaomi, as people gain access to the internet, they will have to buy devices and Xiaomi is best positioned to be the company selling smart phones in Cuba.
2. Google, Xiaomi is powered by Android. And android is owned by Google.
3. Uber, Cuba is popular for its "maquinas"-a more archaic version of Uber Pool- and 70's taxis. And I believe Uber will be able to organize and capitalize on them. Especially, among tourist and expats.
4. Airbnb, Cuba is highly populated by "casas particulares" where people rent bedrooms of their homes to tourists. Airbnb has the opportunity and the challenge to become a leading service in the island.
Following, is a little video that Quique made during our trip to Cuba: