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Nearshoring is the outsourcing of business processes, especially information technology processes, to companies in a nearby country, often sharing a border with the target country.[1] Both parties expect to benefit from one or more of the following dimensions of proximity: geographic, temporal (time zone), cultural, social, linguistic, economic, political, or historical linkages.[2] The service work that is being sourced may be a business process or software development.

Nearshoring is a type of outsourcing where a given company seeks a development partner in a different country or region. However, what distinguishes nearshoring from other types of outsourcing is the fact that the development partner is still in close proximity. Since companies are usually in the same time zone, this facilitates communication and allows for frequent visits.[3]


Nearshoring is a derivative of the business term offshoring.

Offshoring involves shifting work to a foreign, distant organization in order to reduce production costs. Offshoring is subject to several different constraints, however, such as time lag between the parties, differences in local employment laws and practices, and oversight.[4] A Western European IT company, say, might outsource software writing to a company in India, which specialises in such work,[5] to take advantage of low cost, and skilled labour with a common language, but the distance between the two means reduced face contact, therefore less control of the project, and greater vulnerability to threats such as intellectual property theft and fraud.[4]

In contrast, nearshoring means that the business has shifted work to a lower cost organization, but within its own region, broadly defined.

In Europe, nearshoring relationships are between clients in larger European economies and various providers in smaller European nations. Major centers are in Spain[citation needed], Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Belarus and the Baltic. There are also nearshore centers in larger markets, such as Russia and Ukraine. These destinations are attractive because they are low-cost, have skilled labor forces, and a less stringent regulatory environment, but crucially they allow for more day to day physical oversight. They also have strong cultural ties to the major economic centers in Europe.[6] For example, Bulgaria is now considered to be a viable outsourcing destination for such companies as German software company SAP, where labor costs are low, and the skills available, but which is also closer to home.[5] In 2009, the Central-Eastern European Outsourcing Association (CEEOA) published research estimating that the Eastern European region has over 95,000 IT specialists involved in the industry, working for close to 5000 companies. [7]

In the USA, American clients nearshore to Canada[1] and Mexico,[4][8] or both,[9] as well as to many other nations in Central and South America, like Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica or El Salvador, and the Caribbean, to the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A popular type of nearshoring is in software development, with the main benefit being many skilled developers available at low cost.[10] Call centers, shared services centers, and BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) are also common choices for nearshoring, as the value of offshore outsourcing hotbeds like Philippines lowers.[11]

The complexity of offshoring stems from different languages and cultures, long distances and different time zones, spending more time and effort on establishing trust and long-term relationships, overriding communication barriers and activities of that kind. Many nearshore providers attempted to circumvent communication and project management barriers by developing new ways to align organizations. As a result, concepts such as remote insourcing were created to give clients more control in managing their own projects. Despite recent developments, nearshoring does not necessarily overcome all of the barriers, but the proximity allows more flexibility to align organizations.[4]

Nearshoring has become a differentiator for those nations and providers who wish to set themselves apart from sourcing centers in Asia, especially the dominant India, which itself is seeing a sharp decline in BPO job growth.[12]

The English language is the cornerstone of any Nearshore BPO or IT services operation, and has become a sought-after skill as companies strive to capture a larger chunk of the US market. With the triple helix of university, industry, and government all collaborating to develop the language further, the hunt for skilled, English-speaking talent is slowly becoming easier.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dictionary definition
  2. ^ Erran Carmel and Pamela Abbott (October 2007). "Why 'nearshore' means that distance matters". Communications of the ACM.
  3. ^ "When IT challenges overwhelm your company - Start Nearshoring". Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  4. ^ a b c d Cinquegrani, Sam. "Nearshoring: A Smart Alternative to Offshore". IT Today. Auerbach Publications. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
  5. ^ a b Reinhardt, Andy (2004-03-01). "Forget India, Let's Go To Bulgaria". Business Week. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
  6. ^ Thomas, Meyer (2006-08-14). "Offshoring to new shores: Nearshoring to Central and Eastern Europe" (PDF). Deutsche Bank. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  7. ^ Cerntral and Eastern European Outsourcing Review 2010 (PDF) (Report). 2010. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
  8. ^ Kanellos, Michael (2009-05-18). "Mexico sells itself as 'nearshore' outsourcing hub for US: Venga! Venga!". Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  9. ^ Marsh, Rae Anne (2014-01-01). "Trade across the border. Arizona is building strong ties with Mexico and Canada". Retrieved 2014-11-03.
  10. ^ "Custom Software Development Company". Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  11. ^ "As Philippines Value Prop Sinks, Nearshore Steps Up, Says Atento Exec - Nearshore Americas". Nearshore Americas. 2017-08-23. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  12. ^ "India BPO Reports Sharp Decline in Job Growth - Nearshore Americas". Nearshore Americas. 2018-04-10. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  13. ^ "The Nearshore English Evolution - Nearshore Americas". Nearshore Americas. Retrieved 2018-09-14.