Latin American e-commerce firm MercadoLibre is reportedly gearing up to invest $100 million in Mexico, saying the growing number of smartphone users will spur online sales in the years to come.
Much of this money will be used for building payment and shipping infrastructure, reported the local business daily El Economista citing company officials.
“This is an extremely large and important investment for the company, with a view to boosting our ecosystem,” said Ignacio Caride, CEO of MercadoLibre in Mexico.
For now, online sales account for just 3% of retail transactions in Mexico, but the growing number of smartphone users is signaling a potential growth in e-commerce.
The online retailer says mobile phone users account for about two-thirds of new customers registering on its platform. Expanding the operational network with new brands and retail sellers is also contributing to its growth. Last year, the company added as many as 1,300 new brands to its offerings.
Founded in 1999, MercadoLibre boasts more than 90 million users, with operations in all major Latin American countries, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Peru.
It is also called the “eBay of Latin America“; eBay is incidentally a major shareholder in MercadoLibre.
For the year 2016, MercadoLibre reported $136 million in profit, with sales in Mexico growing by 33% annually.
Today, the company is also exploring a payment option that will allow Hispanics in the United States to buy goods and ship them directly to their relatives in Latin America. “Instead of sending money, they can buy goods for their families,” an official commented to El Economista.