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Digital revolution connects continents

Updated: 2013-02-04 07:54
(China Daily)

Digital revolution connects continents

Digital revolution connects continents

As a competitve and business-friendly ICT hub, Uruguay is the natural gateway to Latin America

The Uruguayan and Chinese economies complement each other perfectly, with the former a leading producer of food and provider of world-class services required by the latter's giant industrial and commercial base and fast-growing consumer society. Uruguay also offers duty-free access to the massive Brazilian and Argentinian markets and benefits from a free trade agreement with Mexico, while its modern transport and port infrastructures, free trade air- and seaport zones (Montevideo is the only free port on South America's Atlantic coast) and next-generation ICT systems make it a highly competitive services platform.

Uruguay XXI, the country's investment and export promotion agency, is spearheading efforts to internationalize the economy by strengthening Uruguay's image abroad and promoting its many enviable assets to investors.

Formed in 1996, the agency attends many leading international trade shows and events around the world and its teams of representatives will participate in four major trade fairs in China this year to promote the "Uruguay Natural" brand that highlights its wonderful natural resources and quality of life.

"Uruguay is a great gateway to Latin America and can be a very interesting logistics hub for Chinese companies that want to operate locally and sell their goods here and elsewhere on the continent," said Uruguay XXI Executive Director Roberto Villamil.

"The country leads the way in many regional rankings. It offers legal certainty, institutional security, low levels of corruption, a well-trained workforce and good quality of life, as well as a strategic logistics location with economic transparency and tax benefits for investors.

"It is the perfect base for Chinese companies wanting to do business in Latin America."

Uruguay's modern transport infrastructure is supported by efficient state-of-the-art ICT networks that provide businesses with fast and reliable fixed line, mobile and Internet access that is the backbone of commerce in the 21st century.

The forward-thinking and publicly owned telecommunications provider, Antel offers fast, efficient, reliable and competitively priced telecommunications services. The leading promoter of social and economic development through the provision of ICT networks that use Chinese-made fiber-optic technology, Antel expects its turnover to surge at least 10 percent year-on-year in 2012.

Uruguay's ICT systems are the most advanced in Latin America. It has the highest rate of Internet users - nearly 60 percent - on the continent and high rates of mobile phone ownership and computer penetration in homes.

Central Bank of Uruguay President Mario Bergara believes heavy investment in modern ICT systems is one of the key factors for the continued success of the banking and financial services industry and has given the national financial system a platform on which to flourish.

"Our telecommunications infrastructure is very good, with digital communications networks and good competition," he said.

Central Bank data shows the export of services, including business, computer and information services, jumped six-fold between 2003 and 2011 to $4.2 billion and the country is now a leading regional exporter of computer software, with its programs in smartphone and tablet technology used by consumers in China and other countries.

Antel has invested huge sums in the latest fiber-optic technology and connected more than 240,000 homes to that network since October 2010.

Antel's popular "Move Forward Together" slogan emphasizes its commitment to bring the best technology to as many individuals, schools and businesses as possible. As Uruguay looks to become the region's ICT hub, the company is eager to team up with Chinese businesses to share market and technological know-how.

"Uruguay is in a cutting-edge position in the field of telecommunications in Latin America," said Antel President Carolina Cosse.

"We have a Tier III data center - an internationally recognized standard - which we are currently expanding."

(China Daily 02/04/2013 page5)

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