Prior to becoming President of Chile in 2010, Sebastian Piñera was a businessman with major holdings in such companies as the Chilevision TV station, Colo-Colo (one of the top soccer teams in Chile) and LAN Airlines. Recently he was featured in articles in The Economist and CNN looking to the future of Latin America.
“We, the bicentennials” refers to Chile and other Latin American countries that have recently celebrated 200 years of independence. While much of the news that the world sees coming out of Latin America may be negative- from Venezuela’s chaos to violence in Mexico and Central America, it is refreshing to see a positive viewpoint of the region.
While citing issues of poverty among others, there are some decidedly positive comments that describe a strong base for the region.
- “a vast and fertile territory, abundant natural resources, two sister languages and a shared culture, increasingly strong democracies”
- “have not had to endure wars such as those that devastated Europe, nor racial conflicts like those that still divide the African continent, nor religious strife such as that afflicting the Middle East.”
Having not only lived in Chile, but worked with businesses throughout Latin America, I have to agree that there is an increasingly positive business climate both inside and outside the region. I can also say that our company, Alcance Media Group is not alone in its increasing focus on marketing to Latin America and are seeing increasing competition from both national and international companies.
It is possible to cite studies by the likes of Goldman Sachs forecasting that by 2050 Brazil and Mexico will be permanent fixtures within the world’s six largest economies, as well as some recent examples such as:
- Carlos Slim Helu from Mexico: The richest man alive
- Chile’s LAN Airline merger with TAM to create the second largest global airline.
- Grupo Bimbo, a Mexican company, started purchasing U.S. based companies in 1994 and today incorporates many historic American brands into Bimbo Bakeries USA.
While most would agree with the sentiment that much of the risk facing Latin America is political, overall, companies outside the region are investing in it, and there is increasing investment globally coming from the region. Investors and marketers alike should definitely be open to these opportunities.