Aerial view of business and finance district with new office building surrounded by parking and road.
  • Technology 4.0 exports exceeded $11.4 million in 2021. 
  • Nearly 8 out of 10 of these companies are exporters. 


Companies linked to the Fourth Industrial Revolution made up at least 22% of the total ICT business park in Costa Rica in 2021 (estimated at 450 companies), according to findings from the study Profile of the Costa Rican supply specialized in 4.0 technologies (II Edition, 2021), prepared by the Foreign Trade Promoter of Costa Rica (PROCOMER).

This is the second edition of the study conducted by the Promoter, the first of which was conducted in 2019.

Marta Esquivel, director of business planning and intelligence at PROCOMER, explained that the services offered by these companies are mainly: cloud computing (20% of the companies), industry 4.0 integration (19%), the internet of things (13%), robotic process automation (10%) and big data(9%), among a total of 10 technological categories.

“By the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we mean the interaction between digital technologies, cyber-physical systems, and cloud networks, for example. The world is undergoing a dizzying transformation that is radically changing the way we produce, consume, market, and work. A process of change to which numerous companies have been added at the national level,” stated Esquivel.

She added that, among the main technologies offered by this group of companies, it is industry 4.0 integration that recorded the greatest expansion between 2019 and 2021, going from 2% to 19% in the total number of companies in the sector that specialize in it.

In 2021, the sector was characterized by a greater number of small companies (54%) and micro companies (32%), that is, between 1 and 30 employees. Among the companies surveyed for this study, the sector registered 1,090 direct jobs, an increase of 120 positions compared to 2019, with companies specialized in cloud computing reporting the largest number of jobs.

Erick Apuy, economic analyst in charge of the study, explained that “these sized companies, measured in terms of employees, allow the sector to have some flexibility to develop their operations, not to mention that some of their services may have an experimental or exploratory aspect to them with high added value,” said Apuy.


Export experience 

78% of these companies recorded exports, and in 2021, an estimated at least $11.4 million in international sales: Colombia (43% of exporters), Mexico (42%), the United States (40%), Panama (38%), and Guatemala (36%) the main destinations for the commercialization of 4.0 technologies.

In addition, Apuy stated that the local market is still the main consumer of 4.0 technologies for this sector, representing 63% of total sales in 2021 (close to $19.5 million), and this participation increased compared to 2019 when it recorded participation of 56%.

“This may show a greater openness on the part of local demand for digital transformation integration processes. Additionally, as demonstrated, there is still room to develop more local chains, more sales, and a closer relationship between the two parties,” the analyst concluded.


Technology, health care, and the pandemic

The PROCOMER study shows that, between 2019 and 2021, a majority of the sector (78%) developed or prepared technological solutions in response to the needs raised by the pandemic, for example, solutions such as remote working, product traceability, digital payment systems, and others, such as applications for the health care sector.

Regarding this last area, Apuy points out that, in 2021, the sector showed customer growth in health care, medical devices, and the pharmaceutical industry, which reflects signs of the sector’s ability to adapt and explore new value-added opportunities derived from the market post-pandemic.