E-commerce retailer MercadoLibre Inc. is boosting its bet on Latin America’s largest economy, with plans to invest record amounts in 2021.
The region’s most valuable company, which is investing a record 4 billion reais ($716 million) this year in Brazil, plans to beat that number in 2021, said Fernando Yunes, the firm’s country manager for Brazil. The move is part of a wider logistics push as the coronavirus pandemic drives sales and stirs competition.
“We’ve just started planning investments for 2021 and we want them to be higher than this year,” Yunes said in an interview. “There has been a structural change in the market and customers’ behavior is unlikely to go back to what it was before the pandemic.”
The Buenos Aires-based company’s market value has jumped this year, reaching a record $61 billion and beating both regional peers — like ore giant Vale SA, with a $60 billion valuation — and companies in the sector such as EBay Inc., with a $40 billion valuation.
In Brazil, which accounted for 53% of its total revenue in the second quarter, MercadoLibre’s weekly sales average jumped 74% this year compared to 2019 levels, Yunes said. Daily visits to its marketplace reached a record of as much as 41 million, above the 32.8 million mark seen during last year’s Black Friday, a sales event held in November.
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