According to AT Kearney’s 2009 Global Services Location Index, Chile has the best business environment for developing global services in Latin America, standing out among countries such as Argentina and Brazil.

Chile’s global services industry has grown more than 86% in the past three years, making it the regional leader. More than 60 world-class companies have chosen the country for their global delivery centres, centres of excellence or R&D initiatives because of the outstanding pro-business environment, talent pool and government support.

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Given the growing dynamism of this industry and the success stories of countries such as India and Ireland, in 2000 Chile began promoting foreign investment in high technology, highlighting the political and economic stability of the country, its modern tele­communications infrastructure and human resource skills.

As a result, the global services industry (offshoring) quickly developed until it became one of the world’s most competitive, attracting the attention of multinational companies such as General Electric, Evalueserve and Equifax.

Those companies which have settled in the country cite the business environment, quality of life, well-trained workforce and substantial government support as major factors that make Chile an attractive destination.

Chile is an economically strong country with relatively low inflation. In addition, it has a regulatory system that results in relatively low costs and a short time frame to start new businesses. Likewise, Chile’s infrastructure and quality of life are considered important factors, which are recognised as higher quality than in neighbouring countries. In fact, the business environment in Chile is often described as similar to the one found in the US and western Europe.

resilient economy

Regarding the cost of business, Chile has salary levels in line with the region’s average and tax rates lower than those in neighbouring countries. Due to strong fundamentals and a well-managed public surplus, Chile has shown remarkable resilience during the global financial crisis over the past year.

Regarding Chile’s workforce, the quality of its professionals and the country’s commitment to promoting specialised training are notable. The government has special training programmes focused on English language and information technologies.

The support given by the government to those companies that settle in the country, through the InvestChile programme, includes consultancy services and a range of financial incentives aimed at facilitating the investment decision and implementation. Among these incentives are financial support for the pre-investment studies, co-financing of technological assets and long-term leasing, along with contributions for personnel training.

Several industries that settled in countries such as India have now chosen Chile to open new service centres. Equifax, JPMorgan, Capgemini, Evalueserve and General Electric are among those that discovered the necessary conditions to develop their businesses in Chile.

Equifax centre

In August 2009, Equifax opened in Santiago, Chile’s capital city, its third technological development centre in the world, from where it develops research and technological solutions for risk evaluation. It collaborates with Equifax centres in the US and India, carrying out research and developing software used in financial analysis.

“From Chile, we offer international companies technological applications related to risk evaluation by means of advanced tools. These allow our clients to make wiser decisions regarding new business opportunities. With this service, we position Chile as a leader in the field,” says Mario Godoy, general manager of Equifax’s Chilean branch.

Evalueserve base

Another company that chose Chile as a platform was Evalueserve. This firm, one of the world’s biggest knowledge process outsourcing players, with branches in India and China, came to Chile in 2007, attracted by its infrastructure advantages, well-trained workforce and the government incentives.

Located in the Valparaiso region on the coast just west of Santiago, Evalueserve provides services to its clients in the US, taking advantage of the similar time zones. From here it can work in unison with its centres in India, providing 24-hour coverage.

“There were different aspects that influenced the decision of establishing an Evalueserve centre in Chile. When we were looking for a Latin American country, we had several options – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Costa Rica – and we analysed each one of them. Although we realised that there were cheaper countries than Chile, we chose to settle here for various reasons, such as its infrastructure, its low crime rate, its welcoming approach towards foreigners, the government’s excellent economic policy and the good quality of its labour pool, among others.

“On the other hand, the support given by the government and InvestChile added an important benefit influencing our decision,” says Mohit Srivastava, Evalueserve’s country manager in Chile.

Mr Srivastava emphasises the quality of Chilean professionals in this industry, who are highly qualified. In many cases, their undergraduate studies equal Masters degrees in other countries.

Evalueserve hopes to expand the services it provides from Chile to the world. “Our plan is to focus on a new service strategy, creating an integrated platform among our centres.

“Therefore, we expect to triple our operations in Chile, generating job positions for 450 people in the next five years,” says Mr Srivastava.