Chile – A Latin American dynamo

by Dave

Last week, I had a chance to spend a few days in Santiago Chile. I came away thinking that it will be the first country in LatAm to attain first world status. It already is well on its way there currently having highest GDP per capita in the region.

Simple things – the taxi drivers at the airport are polite, the highways into the city are perfect, the hotel staff (not 5 star) are friendly. I visited ProChile – affiliated with the government’s Ministry of Foreign Relations, tasked with promoting Chile’s exports. Their offices convey an air of seriousness and professionalism – not that of a slow-moving, laid-back government office. It can go up against the very best of a private sector company in the US or Europe. Their brochures and materials are well-designed and aesthetically-pleasing, building the confidence in foreign buyers for Chilean-origin.products. I feel Indian Small to Midsize companies lack governmental support in this regard – with respect to nicely-designed product catalogs. This would be key to be successful in Latin america where quality of sales materials are scrutinized closely in the sales process.

I also visited CORFO – the Chilean investment promotion agency. They maintain a list of projects that are seeking funding and are willing to co-invest with foreign investors. Many interesting projects in the renewable energy space including wind and biomass.

Lastly, I stopped by the India Show expecting to see the Tata Nano. Many other visitors expected the same going by local newspaper coverage. Tata Motors decided to feature its Xenon pickup which they are launching in Chile this year with local partner SKBerge.

Chile offers investment possibilities for Indian companies in agroprocessing, forestry, renewable energy and IT (TCS employs 2000 people in the country!). Chile has trade agreement with 54 countries including FTA’s with the US and the EU. This makes it a great springboard to do business in the region. As a bonus, it is a country with diverse landscapes from deserts to glaciers, offering fantastic adventure tourism options. Take a look!