RealTime IT News

Latin American Auction Firm Opens in Europe

Latin American online auctioneer Mercadolibre.com announced Tuesday its first European service in Spain, supported by an office in Madrid.

At the same time, Mercadolibre.com also announced services for Colombia, supported by an office in Bogota.

Marcos Galperin, chief executive officer of Mercadolibre.com, said his company's goal was to become the leading auction site for the Spanish and Portuguese speaking world.

"We made the decision to enter the European market after an impressive track record of success in Latin America and the U.S.," said Galperin.

Mercadolibre.com is entering a highly competitive online auction market in Europe where both home-grown and overseas companies are battling for market share. However, Spain has seen an increase in the number of Internet users from 1.8 million in 1998 to 2.75 million in 1999, and is clearly a market with big potential for Latin American entrepreneurs.

Sonia Fernandez, general manager of Mercadolibre.com's Spanish operation, said that proprietary technology allows the company to provide specific solutions for businesses and charitable organizations, giving it a distinct edge over the competition.

In an eight-month period, Mercadolibre.com has launched sites in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Spain and the United States., and claims to have processed over 25,000 transactions valued more than $7.5 million.

Among the many categories it covers are automobiles, sports gear, pets, collectibles, books, stamps, computing and tourism.