I was delighted to be invited by top Latin American business publication, América Economía, to attend the 7th Multilatinas Conference in Lima earlier this month. There were some brilliant speakers at this conference, which focuses on the most global companies born in Latin America (if you don’t know what a multilatina is and why it should matter to you, check our post here), and some very good networking opportunities.

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I jotted down some notes at the conference that I’d like to share with you, as UK exporter, so here we go:

-          There were some references to the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico), particularly around the integration of their financial markets. This is something we’re closely monitoring for our clients since it can impact their entry strategies into the region.

-          It was mentioned that most Multilatinas start by expanding into Latin America, then the US and then Europe, then Asia and then Africa. Could your US branch work with Latin America and speed up the process, instead of waiting for these companies to eventually reach Europe?

-          Latin American Millennials were mentioned: they are interested in running their own business, not in being part of a multinational or multilatina. A lot of them travel overseas and work overseas, and there was a mention of the importance of travelling to China and the rest of Asia, particularly for young people from the Pacific side of Latin America.

-          One of the speakers evaluated the different stages of multilatinas: first they become “multidomésticas” (each branch is still isolated), then multinationals and then truly global. Only 12% of multilatinas are global companies, we learnt.

-          The same speaker explained that multilatinas are maturing, working on their supply chains and acquiring strategic assets, also looking for niches and unique products, not just exporting the standard products or services they produce. So if multilatinas are your competitors, it’s a good idea to monitor what they’re offering where, and what strategies they are employing for different markets. The same applies if you want them as clients or strategic partners in the region.

-          The cultural and behavioural challenges of multilatinas were mentioned. I think this is useful for UK exporters, too, to realise that every country in the region is unique and that one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work, even for companies that are born in the region!

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Finally, one interesting stat from one of the speakers: of the 10m Latam Airlines tickets bought in Peru in the last year, 70% were bought on a smartphone. Wow. Think of the implications for your business…

Next time, we’ll bring you a blog post about the Panamerican Games that will take place in Lima in 2019 – so do sign up to our newsletter not to miss that post!

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