Brazil is already a global player in the e-commerce industry. It is the only Latin American country to crack the top ten retail e-commerce markets in the world. Despite Brazil’s recent economic slowdown, e-commerce grew by 11.5% in 2017 and is predicted to chart 10% growth in 2018. While these statistics show a significant drop from the 28% growth Brazil’s e-commerce market experienced in 2013, it is safe to say that Latin America’s e-commerce powerhouse will continue to dominate the region for the foreseeable future.
Brazil’s size has been a double-edged sword for its e-commerce industry. On the one hand, with approximately 140 million Internet users in a country of 211 million people, Brazil presents an enormous market for e-commerce. On the other hand, much like Argentina, Brazil struggles with complex land shipping logistics and high sales taxes, which slows down the growth of this industry.
Nonetheless, the mood was optimistic at the 6th annual “E-Commerce Brazil” conference in 2017, with retailers viewing Brazil as an opportunity rather than a challenge. Up to 52% of Brazilian shoppers already research products online before purchasing, and that number is growing. (more…)
Despite years of sky-high taxes on imports and challenges with online transactions, Argentina is still an important force in Latin American e-commerce. The birthplace of MercadoLibre, Latin America’s most popular e-commerce site, Argentina is the fastest-growing e-commerce market in the region, registering up to 28% yearly growth. While Argentina still comes in behind Mexico and powerhouse Brazil, its predicted market share in e-commerce is expected to grow from 8.9% to 14.6% of the region’s total sales volume by 2019. So what is driving this meteoric growth?
It’s a combination of Argentina’s young, Internet-savvy consumer base which is now being aided by President Mauricio Macri’s increased openness to cross-border commerce. Argentina is not new to the e-commerce game. Latin American e-commerce giant MercadoLibre was founded in Buenos Aires in 1999 and now operates in 16 countries, with more than 174.2 million active users in Latin America.
Federico Malek, the founder of Argentina’s second largest e-commerce provider, Avenida.com, which raised a US$30M Series C Round in 2015, also founded Wallooz, which was acquired by Groupon in 2010. Soon after leaving Groupon, Malek received funding to start Avenida.com. However, Avenida almost went under in 2016, letting off 250 staff members, until they were acquired by online marketplace Good People, which restructured the company. (more…)
Note: a version of this article was originally published in Venture Beat with the title Chinese Investors Target Latin American Startups as US Investors Shy Away. This version has more background and information about Magma Partners.
China, a country with deep roots as an industrial powerhouse, is now determined to center its economy around technological development and innovation. With government support and outward investments on the rise, China is positioning itself to have a much greater role in the global technology market.
According to Yilong Du, Managing Partner at Latham & Watkins, there are many factors stimulating the growth of the technology sector in China. Firstly, economic growth is driving the Internet market and an explosion of Internet-based companies. In China, 731 million people have access to the Internet and 95.1% of these people access the Internet via mobile devices, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. A budding, Internet-savvy middle class, coupled with a strong supply of talent, is driving China’s technology sector and increasing the demand for innovative products and services.
Shenzhen Capital Group Co Ltd, a State-owned venture capital firm, is just one example of a firm increasing its investments abroad to bring new technology to China. Through investments in innovative companies overseas, the firm hopes to strengthen China’s technology and industrial structure, said Ni Zewang, chairman of the SCGC. Zewang also stated that by connecting more Chinese startups with overseas resources, they can help local companies mature faster. While SCGC’s investments overseas account for only 6% of its current total, it plans to increase the figure to 15% by 2020. (more…)