Tech Industry

Mercantil.com launches Latin America site

The Latin American business portal launches a site to tap the growing and lucrative industry for business-to-business transactions.

Latin America is getting hip to the business-to-business craze.

Mercantil.com, an online marketplace for companies operating in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico, launched a site today to tap the growing and lucrative industry for business-to-business transactions. Through the site, companies can find a directory of Latin American businesses in technology, transportation, mining, construction, health and retail, among other industries.

The site launch follows a similar effort earlier this year by Commerce One and Banacci, a financial group based in Mexico. The joint venture will link buyers and sellers throughout Latin America and companies around the world.

Earlier this month, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said that Latin America is one of the world's most promising markets, second only to Asia in e-commerce spending. Gates predicted that spending on Web commerce would reach nearly $11 billion annually by 2003, driven by Latin America's almost 30 million users by the same year.

Backed by BancBoston Capital, which owns 22 percent of the company, Mercantil.com said it has more than 1 million companies in its database and plans to expand to eight additional Latin markets by the end of 2000.

"Mercantil.com is leveling the playing field for players worldwide by providing them with easy entry to Latin American markets--just a click away," said James Brierly, founder of Mercantil.com.

Mercantil.com also connects buyers and sellers with such information as Latin America's customs regulations, banking practices and financial news. The company was co-founded in 1999 by James Brierly, creator of Chile's first online database and Jaime Vargas, founder of Chilean investment group Incorp.