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Alibaba Chooses Medellin, Colombia as an Entry Point into Latin America

Earlier this month, Javier Darío Fernández, executive director of Ruta N, a tech incubator and joint venture with the Colombian city of Medellin, announced that the Chinese ecommerce giant, Alibaba, would be signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to officialize its entry into the country. Although not binding, the MoU will be signed on March 24, 2021 to create two enterprises in Colombia, subsequently formally initiating operations. The news were confirmed by the Colombian Ambassador in China, Luis Diego Monsalve.

Home to numerous start-ups—including delivery app, Rappi—Medellin has not only become the tech center of Colombia, but also one for the region. The entry of Alibaba into the city is not the first, as other similar companies have been making parallel plans. On March 4, 2021, Argentinian ecommerce platform Mercado Libre, announced that their second Center for Technology, Innovation and Product (IT Center), will also be in Medellin, where products with a regional impact will be developed.

It is yet unclear what sort of facilities Alibaba will establish in Colombia. Given the business ecosystem that has been developed over the past few decades, it is likely the Chinese giant will take advantage of the skilled, young population to build a research and development center, like Mercado Libre plans to. Regardless, these are great news for the region, as a spillover effect will result in better know-how, innovation and opportunities; all highly desired in an area of the world where technological advances are on the rise.

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