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Expansion into Latin America

In recent years, China and India have both received their fair share of acclaim as 'the next big thing'. But while there is undoubted potential in both markets, cultural and legislative issues have hindered immediate progress.

Mention of another major developing market, Latin America, traditionally seems to provoke a cautious intake of breath from North Americans and Europeans. A history of economic and political volatility has given the region a label, so to speak, of instability.

But, in terms of our industry at least, is this perception is out of date? Despite a few current governments that some would say lend themselves to this political reputation (Castro in Cuba, Chavez in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia, for example), many of the region's key economies are enjoying increasing levels of political and economical stability. Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia are Latin America's biggest label markets and all are presided over by center-left or center-right governments which maintain healthy relations with the US.

There is much talk about the potential of developing markets. But in Latin America you will find industry, a massive local market, top brands, increased political stability in the key economies, fewer cultural barriers than in the Far East, strong existing trade relationships with the US and Europe - and you will find these things now.

Latin America is sensitive to its perception by the rest of the world, and companies there are waiting for the so-called developed world to update that perception, to allow them to consolidate themselves in the global market.

In the next issue of L&L, we will feature a series of articles about companies in Brazil, Chile and Argentina. Through this blog we would like to hear your views.

What are your experiences in Latin America? What is your perception of the region? What are its advantages and disadvantages? If you are Latin American, what do you feel has to happen for the US and Europe to bestow the respect that the region increasingly deserves?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Quirk is group managing editor of Labels & Labeling.

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