NEW YORK, USA -- Proexport Colombia on Wednesday announced the launch of “Colombia Bring IT On,” a major campaign initiative aimed at promoting the growth of the country’s technology sector in the international market and raising awareness of Colombia’s competitive advantages in the industry.
This announcement took place at a two-day business matching forum that Proexport Colombia, the Colombian government agency charged with promoting trade, investment and tourism, and Colombia’s ministry of information technologies and communications (MinTIC) hosted in New York City on July 23 and July 24. The event brought technology buyers in the software, IT and digital sectors from the US, Canada and Caribbean markets to meet with Colombian exporters of goods and services.
“With the rapid growth of Latin America’s technology industry, Colombia has successfully established itself as a major player, particularly in the IT services, software and digital content sectors,” said Maria Claudia Lacouture, president of Proexport Colombia. “With competitive advantages including our highly skilled, flexible workforce and government support in the form of state policies that strengthen the sector, there are significant opportunities for those interested in partnering with and investing in Colombia’s IT industry.”
"Colombia's information technology industry is growing at a rapid pace. With the government momentum to increase Colombia's visibility in international markets, we expect the figures presented in 2013 to triple by 2018. For perspective, in 2013 we had 1,800 registered software development and IT service companies, and their sales totaled nearly US$3.2 billion," said information technology and communications minister Diego Molano Vega.
According to International Data Corporation (IDC), total sales in 2013 for the software and IT sector in Colombia exceeded US$3 billion and it is expected that this figure will double by 2018. With this sustained industry growth, IDC also reports that Colombia represents the third largest IT services market in Latin America, behind only Brazil and Mexico.
Within the country, demand for services such as business risk management and supply chain management solutions from the telecommunications, banking and financial services, government and manufacturing industries has contributed to the maturity of Colombia’s IT industry, now in a prime position for foreign investment.
According to the Doing Business Report of 2014, Colombia is the leader in investor protection in the region, followed by Peru, Chile, Mexico and Brazil. In 2013, Colombia reached a new record of foreign direct investment (FDI), with a 24 percent increase from 2012. IT investment has grown 60 percent in the last four years.
Industry growth can be attributed to the numerous benefits of doing business in Colombia, such as cost effectiveness, creativity and innovation. The strategic location of the country further provides international companies with flexibility in terms of their business operations. In addition, with robust government programs aimed at promoting widespread technology adoption in the country, human resources training and the development of the offshoring services industry, companies are increasingly equipped and certified to compete internationally.
Major foreign companies that have chosen Colombia as a partner in the IT sector include IBM, HP and Sykes Enterprises.
With 13 free trade agreements in place, including with the US and Canada, Colombia has become an important player in the global economy. Tax incentives provided to free trade zones engaging with Colombia in the IT sector include the elimination of import duties and VAT exemption for goods sold from Colombia.