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June 28, 2019

Mexican Walmart launches grocery orders via WhatsApp, Newly Launched Latin American Capacity to Combat Corruption (CCC) Index, Ride-hailing billion dollar LatAm business, and more from the region...

Walmart de Mexico launches grocery orders via WhatsApp

Walmart’s Mexico unit has begun offering grocery delivery from its Superama stores via messaging service WhatsApp. 

WhatsApp, the free text-messaging service owned by Facebook, is ubiquitous throughout Mexico. Superama shoppers can now text an order to a WhatsApp number run by Walmart.

Photo Courtesy of Reuters


Superama represents about 92 of Walmart’s 2,459 stores in Mexico, which is the retailer’s largest international market by store count. Superama already takes orders via its website, the Superama app, and through Cornershop: a third-party delivery app that sells goods for a variety of other stores.

Earlier this month, Walmart’s plan to buy Cornershop- which operates in Mexico and Chile, for $225 million- was blocked by Mexico’s competition regulator, which said that Walmart could not guarantee an even playing field for rivals also using the app.

Superama charges 49 pesos ($2.55) for delivery within 90 minutes, or 39 pesos ($2.03) for a later delivery time, and accepts payment in cash or by card upon delivery (Reuters).

Latin American Capacity to Combat Corruption (CCC) Index

AS/COA and risk consulting firm Control Risks have launched the Capacity to Combat Corruption (CCC) Index, a new tool that evaluates and ranks countries based on how effectively they are able to combat corruption.

Countries with a higher score are deemed more likely to see corrupt actors prosecuted and punished. 

The country with the highest overall score in the 2019 CCC Index is Chile (6.66), followed by Brazil (6.14), preceded by a virtual tie between Colombia (5.36) and Argentina (5.33). Peru ranked fourth (5.17), then Mexico (4.65), Guatemala (4.55) and, in the last place, Venezuela (1.71).

According to Geert Aalbers, Senior Partner at Control Risks, the CCC Index offers businesses a comprehensive understanding of the nuanced compliance challenges in Latin America.

“Companies are interested in how well-equipped countries are to combat corruption, and how effectively they are doing so. Over time, greater levels of enforcement in the region will lead companies to investigate wrongdoing and invest more heavily in compliance measures, which will ultimately reinforce the creation of a more transparent business environment” (Americas Quarterly). 

The CCC Index looks at 14 key variables, including the independence of judicial institutions, the strength of investigative journalism, and the level of resources available for combating white-collar crime.

Photo Courtesy of Americas Quarterly

Ride-hailing: Latin America’s billion dollar business

 Ride-hailing revenue in Latin America is expected to top US$1 billion by 2023, nearly four times the US$518mn seen in 2018, according to Statista.

The projected growth has been accredited to the rapidly growing urban population in the 36-country region, home to roughly 625 million people. 

In the last 50 years, people living in cities has increased by six times and today, 30% of them live in cities with one million people or more (Global Fleet). 

Another growth driver is the growing number of cell phone users in the region. In 2018, Latin America had just over 200 million smartphone users, accounting for 30% of the region’s population. According to TechCrunch,access should double to more than 60% by 2020.

Colombian agtech Frubana raised US$12m over two rounds

Colombian agrotech platform Frubana eliminates intermediaries in the food industry between producers and buyers, connecting restaurants directly with producers.

Founded in 2018, Frubana has created 100 jobs, has a monthly growth rate of 50%, and provides services to over 1000 active clients in less than one year of operations

Frubana currently operates in Colombia with an estimated $6M in sales per year, and is preparing to expand into Mexico and Brazil.

Fabián Gomez, CEO and founder at Frubana and former Expansion Leader at Rappi, stated

“Technology allows us to scale, and scaling brings efficiency. Specifically, we have built predictive technology that facilitates routing, operations, and purchasing” (LAVCA). 

HSBC, bullish on Brazil’s future, continues growth projections for the nation

Brazil’s growth might be continuing to disappoint but HSBC continuous to press ahead with ambitious plans for its comeback in the country.

According to Euro Money, HSBC wants to triple both onshore and offshore revenues, profits and EBITDA in Brazil within five years.

HSBC sold its corporate and wholesale banking operations as part of the sale of its full Brazil business to Bradesco in 2016. The bank then opened a new office in São Paulo to support the international business for Brazilian clients; while a non-compete clause prevented HSBC from doing any Brazilian-based business until December of last year, coinciding with the election of Jair Bolsonaro. 

President Bolsonaro’s appointment of BTG Pactual co-founder Paulo Guedes as Brazil’s Economy Minister: bolstering bankers’ hopes for greater economic growth and financial markets activity.

Alexandre Guião, President of HSBC Brazil, remains optimistic towards the bank’s growth and expansion in Brazil, stating that

“Our aim is to build in 2019 and 2020 – the people and the products – and we have a plan to triple both onshore and offshore revenues, profits and ebitda within five years” (Euro Money). 

The bank revised its expectations for GDP growth to 2% from 2.9%, yet still remains at the high end of the range compared to a 2020 forecast of 2.6%. 

Despite the Brazilian economy’s sluggish recovery – shrinking by 0.2% in the first quarter of 2019– the pipeline of equity deals has been continually  building.

Guião expressed his views that Bolsonaro ́s administration should begin delivering the much-needed reforms to address the nation's economic weakness and – coupled with the challenges of other large Latin Americans markets, like Argentina and Mexico – Brazil should be favoured by international investors.

“You have a lot of international investors looking to Brazil with interest and there will be a lot of money flowing to Brazil”. 

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