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MercadoLibre.com Opens in U.S.

Latin American online auction site MercadoLibre.com launched its U.S. operation, tailored to the U.S. Hispanic community.

After penetrating five key Latin American markets with country-specific sites, MercadoLibre is taking aim at the U.S. Hispanic online audience using a consumer advertising campaign, its proprietary technology and strategic alliances with companies such as StarMedia.

MercadoLibre offers a forum for U.S. Hispanic consumers to trade with each other and to purchase items from U.S. businesses and U.S.-based Latin American importers.

"With a click of a mouse, Hispanics in the U.S. can easily buy and sell typical auction items such as electronics and collectibles as well as hard-to-find items from their native countries," said Marcos Galperin, chief executive officer of MercadoLibre.

"Whether it is dulce de leche from Argentina, silver jewelry from Mexico or a signed Brazilian World Cup soccer jersey, MercadoLibre brings a virtual Latin American marketplace to the U.S."

In the past seven months, MercadoLibre has launched sites in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay and Chile, registering more than 25,000 transactions worth more than $7.5 million. The company said it expects a higher volume of online transactions in the United States due to the greater Internet penetration.

MercadoLibre lets consumers buy and sell in more than 20 product categories and includes item descriptions and photos, customer reviews and search functions.

In September of 1999 MercadoLibre closed a round of financing for $7.6 million with Chase Capital Partners, Flatiron Partners and Hicks, Muse, Tate and Furst.



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