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April 19, 2019

LATAM Business Weekly - Issue #14

Brazil’s advancement in mobile payment innovation

According to  “The state of innovation in Latin America" report published by the Visa Innovation Center, Brazil is the most advanced country mobile payments innovation.

The report also stated that,

“the number of smartphone users in Brazil will increase by 30 percent, leading to a 7.2 percent increase in mobile transactions” (ZDNet)

Half of all e-commerce transactions in Latin America come from Brazilian consumers.

In addition, Brazil is the fourth largest consumer of apps in the world. As reported by Qualibest, 81% of internet users in Brazil have ordered or contracted a product or service via app.

"In comparison to other markets in the region, Brazilian firms are leaders in high-tech innovation. Their businesses have incorporated advanced technologies like machine learning, AI and big data into their DNA at a much faster rate than in neighboring countries”

Argentina’s wine industry riding out the country’s recession

Argentina’s cheaper currency has put world-class products at cheaper prices, creating a rise in both tourism and Argentinean exports.

Tourism in Mendoza, the country’s wine hub, has jumped 58% in a year: surpassing the rest of the nation’s 19% increase in tourism.

Meanwhile, wine exports have increased by 8% this year: an important shift from the overall decline in Argentinean exports during previous years.


“The number of Brazilians tourists nearly doubled in the fourth quarter last year, while Americans arrived in larger numbers and doubled their daily spending.” (Bloomberg)
Photo courtesy of Bloomberg

Growing presence of Venezuelans fleeing into Colombia

As the Venezuealan crisis continues with its citizens near starvation, Bogotá, Colombia has become a “proxy battleground” for the conflict building on the nation’s eastern border.

The Trump administration has claimed the departure of Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, is non negotiable. Over 50 countries have expressed support opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president.

Meanwhile, refugees are rushing into Colombia. For some Venezuelans, Bogotá is just a pitstop on their journey to other Latin American countries like Brazil, Chile, Peru. But for many others, Bogotá is the site of new opportunity as a comfortable place to make a new life.

According to Bloomberg,

“The Colombian authorities despise Maduro and are eager to see him driven from power. But the presence of armed agents makes them nervous. They don’t mean to be inhospitable, but they worry about Bogotá’s growing reputation as the center of anti-Venezuelan plotting.”
Photo courtesy of Bloomberg

Global kidtech platform SuperAwesome invests in Latin American Kids Corp

UK-based global kidtech platform SuperAwesome acquired stake in Latin American digital kids company Kids Corp in an effort to expand the company’s global footprint.

SuperAwesome is a key player in the rapidly growing privacy-based kids digital media ecosystem. Hundreds of companies use their technology to power over a billion kid-safe digital engagements each month. SuperAwesome’s technology ensures privacy and compliance across monetization, advertising, video and social.

Kids Corp,with offices in Mexico, Buenos Aires and Colombia, offers safe digital solutions for over 200 content creators and advertisers.

Max Bleyleben, SuperAwesome managing director, said in a statement that

“Our mission is to make the internet safe for kids globally so we are delighted to have found the perfect partner to expand into Latin America. With the Kids Corp team, we’ll be able to bring our kid-safe technologies to brands, agencies and content creators across the region, making SuperAwesome’s footprint truly global.”

SuperAwesome’s investment will finance Kid Corp’s operational expansion into Brazil, Chile, Peru and Central America.

Brazilian fintech company Weel raises $30M from Franklin Templeton

Brazilian cash flow management platform Weel has raised US$30m from American asset manager Franklin Templeton.

Weel lends money to small-business clients by anticipating their receivables, using AI and data analysis to offer online loans at lower interest rates than traditional banks. (LAVCA)

Franklin Templeton’s investment is part of the firm’s strategy to increase its footprint in Brazil and the rest of Latin America.

Moving forward, Franklin Templeton plans to help Weel create additional products for small companies. With this new investment round, Weel intends to expand business in Brazil and begin operations in Mexico and Chile by December.

Uruguay launches Latin America’s first 5G network

Uruguay’s state-run telecommunications company ANTEL deployed the first 5G commercial network in partnership with Nokia last week.

According to José Otero, VP of 5G Americas for Latin America, cooperation between public and private sectors to obtain and implement this new technology is vital.

ANTEL has installed 5G commercial networks in Maldonado and Colonia, with plans to add more networks in other municipalities in the coming weeks. Uruguay’s citizens can expect to equip devices with this new 5G technology within the next month.

Jeff Weisbein, CEO digital media company BestTechie said that

“The application of 5G technology will result in massive changes for both consumers and enterprises” (Contxto)

Venezuela skirts U.S. sanctions by funneling oil sales through Russia

President Nicolas Maduro is funneling cashflow from Venezuelan oil sales through Russian state energy giant Rosneft in efforts to evade U.S. sanctions designed to remove him from power.

Under this scheme, Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has started passing invoices from its oil sales to Rosneft.

According to Reuters,

“The Russian energy giant pays PDVSA immediately at a discount to the sale price – avoiding the usual 30-to-90 day timeframe for completing oil transactions – and collects the full amount later from the buyer, according to the documents and sources”

Since 2006, Russia has loaned Venezuela nearly $16 billion, which is being repaid in oil shipments. Russia has also taken significant stakes in petroleum projects, meaning it already controls a large share of Venezuelan production.

Video: Venezuelans fight for survival as US sanctions worsen inflation

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