MercadoLibre to increase investments in Brazil to $4.6 billion in 2024

By Thomson Reuters Mar 26, 2024 | 6:12 AM

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Latin American e-commerce giant MercadoLibre said on Tuesday it plans to invest a record 23 billion reais ($4.6 billion) in 2024 in Brazil, its main market, a 21.1% increase from 2023.

The amount, which includes investments and also some expenses seen by the company as strategic, represents an acceleration on the pace of the company’s annual investments in Brazil after a 11.5% rise in 2023.

Fernando Yunes, a senior vice-president at MercadoLibre and the leader of its marketplace operations in Brazil, told Reuters this acceleration could be attributed to the firm’s intention to keep gaining share in the country in 2024 and to expectations of a slightly better market when compared to last year.

However he noted the investments are focused in the long-term.

The Uruguay-based company, which generates more than half of its revenue in Brazil, has been raising its investments in the South American nation over the past few years, partially boosted by a pandemic-related boom in the e-commerce segment.

As a comparison, MercadoLibre invested 2 billion reais in the country in 2019.

Yunes said the company intends to concentrate its investments in the country this year in four areas, with the main one being logistics.

Apart from opening a new distribution center in the state of Pernambuco in July or August, which had been already announced, the company is assessing whether to launch another two distribution centers in the country, as it wants to expand its presence across Brazilian regions where it has lower presence, Yunes said, without specifying exactly where they would be located.

MercadoLibre also wants to allocate investments in technology, especially by hiring fresh staff, and in its fintech unit Mercado Pago, by launching new products in the credit, insurance and investments segments, according to Yunes.

Another focus will be in its advertising business Mercado Ads, with the company aiming to create new tools that could attract bigger audiences to advertisers, the executive said.

($1 = 4.9733 reais)

(Reporting by Andre Romani; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)