Guadalajara is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Jalisco, and the seat of the municipality of Guadalajara. The Guadalajara Metropolitan Area has a reported population of over 5,000,000 inhabitants, making it the second most populous metropolitan area in Mexico, behind Mexico City. The city's economy is based on services and industry, especially information technology, with a large number of international firms having regional offices and manufacturing facilities in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, and several domestic IT companies headquartered in the city. Other, more traditional industries, such as shoes, textiles and food processing are also important contributing factors.
Guadalajara has the third largest economy and industrial infrastructure in Mexico. Its economic
base is strong and well diversified, mainly based on commerce and services, although the manufacturing sector plays a defining role. It is ranked in the top ten in Latin America in gross domestic product and the third highest ranking in Mexico. In its 2007 survey entitled "Cities of the Future", FDi magazine ranked Guadalajara highest among major Mexican cities and designated Guadalajara as having the second strongest economic potential of any major North American city behind Chicago. FDI ranked it as the most business-friendly Latin American city in 2007.
The strong electronics and information technology sectors have nicknamed the city the "Silicon Valley of Mexico." Guadalajara is the main producer of software, electronic and digital components in Mexico. Telecom and computer equipment from Guadalajara accounts for about a quarter of Mexico's electronics exports. Companies such as General Electric, IBM, Intel Corporation, Freescale Semiconductor, Hitachi Ltd., Hewlett-Packard, Siemens, Flextronics, Oracle, TCS, Cognizant Technology Solutions and Jabil Circuit have facilities in the city or its suburbs.
Guadalajara is a cultural center of Mexico, considered by most to be the home of mariachi music and host to a number of large-scale cultural events such as the Guadalajara International Film Festival, the Guadalajara International Book Fair, and globally renowned cultural events which draw international crowds.
Guadalajara is the cultural center of western Mexico and the second most important cultural center in the country. It is nicknamed the "Pearl of the West." While it is a modern city, it has kept many of the rural traditions of Jalisco, such as mariachi and a strong sense of Catholicism. Cultural tourism is one of the most important economic activities, especially in the historic center. Guadalajara is a center of learning with six universities, two culinary institutes and a thriving art scene. Guadalajara has twenty two museums, which include the Regional Museum of Jalisco, the Wax Museum, the
Trompo Mágico children's museum and the Museum of Anthropology. The Hospicio Cabañas in the historic center is a World Heritage Site. For these attributes and others, the city was named an American Capital of Culture in 2005