Bogota, capital of Colombia, through its foreign investment promotion agency Invest in Bogota, started this week a tour in China and Japan with the main objective of attracting more companies interested in developing business in the Colombian capital.
"The city must be involved in global value chains and use advantages such as its geographical position in Latin America to be a bridge between the region and the Asian market," said Juan Gabriel Perez, Executive Director of Invest in Bogota, who leads the mission that includes meetings with companies from the technology, chemical industry and infrastructure sectors, as well as Asian investment funds.
This mission, organized jointly with ProColombia, the entity responsible for promoting tourism, foreign investment and exports of the country, includes visits to the cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Foshan and Beijing in China, in addition to Tokyo in Japan.
"China and Japan are two priority markets within the city's foreign investment promotion strategy," added Perez, who revealed that, in the last five years, the Colombian capital welcomed more than 60% of the country´s total investment received from China and Japan.
According to estimates from Invest in Bogota's Research and Market Intelligence area, from 2014 to 2018, more than 20 new investment or expansion projects have arrived in the city from these two destinations with an amount exceeding 400 million dollars. These investments resulted in the creation of more than 1,400 direct jobs for the city.
In the case of China, investments sum up to almost 170 million dollars, generating about 600 jobs. Among those Chinese investments we have the mobility platform DiDi, the retail store Miniso, and the medical devices company Mindray Medical.
Investments with Chinese origin that arrived in the city in the last 5 years were mailing from the automotive, telecommunications and information technologies sectors.
Japanese investments, which were mainly concentrated in the automotive industry, manufacturing and retail, totaled about 220 million dollars, with more than 900 jobs generated.
In 2016, the Japanese firm Castem, which specializes in the manufacture of parts for the automotive sector, opened a plant in the free trade zone of Intexzona in western Bogota, while the clothing and sporting goods firm Asics increased its presence in Latin America through a subsidiary in Bogota that opened in 2018.
Bogota leads Latin-American ranking on foreign investment in software and IT
Bogota has become one of the main Latin-American destinations for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in software and Information Technologies (IT). According to Invest in Bogota, the city received more than 900 million dollars in investments through 90 projects for this sector between 2013 and 2018. These projects, which generated more than 6,000 jobs, place Bogota above regional capitals such as Lima, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile and Mexico City in terms of FDI.
During 2018, the city received about 15 projects with over 300 million dollars of investment, generating more than 700 jobs for the city.
Some recent examples of international companies that have arrived to Bogota or that have expanded their operations include Globant, an Argentine software development company that has 1,500 employees in the city; Grupo Mantu, a Swiss firm that, through Amaris Consulting brand, opened its global robotic process automation center; iXerv LAC, a technology and consulting company that is opening a software development center; Zemoga, US digital services firm that employs about 100 people in the city, or Endava, a public technology company founded in 2000 that has accelerated growth in its 23 locations, seven of them in Latin America.
"Bogotá has a very good international reputation and is seen as a regional center of innovation and development. This is reflected in the growing number of technology companies that decide to be in the city and, in many cases, make it their regional hub," said the executive director of Invest in Bogota, Juan Gabriel Pérez.
Talent, a decisive factor
Human talent is the key factor that, in companies' opinion, makes Colombia and Bogota stand out from other destinations when attracting FDI in the software and IT services industry.
"When we arrived to Colombia, we were quite surprised by the high academic level, even higher than what we found in neighboring countries", says Simón Lepas, regional director of Amaris Consulting.
Between 2007 and 2017, Bogota registered more than 108.000 professionals graduated in programs related to computer science and systems, reaching an average annual growth of 6%. In addition, the city has 71% of the country's bilingual talent.
"We are a company with a 99% Colombian talent that works with very high-level companies that recognize the knowledge, quality and experience of the human talent in Bogota," says Carlos Pardo, executive VP of Zemoga.
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