The online retail giant, Amazon, announced Tuesday it will open its first customer service center in Colombia this October. The world’s largest electronic retailer will establish its base in Bogotá and plans to hire 600 employees by the end of the year. The new service center will provide support to Amazon customers worldwide in Spanish, English and Portuguese 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Tom Weiland, Amazon’s vice president of global customer service, stated in a press release that “we are delighted to invest this year in Bogotá, and to work with such qualified people in Colombia who will bring high levels of experience and passion for their work.” He added that the company is “dedicated to supporting and responding to the needs of our customers day and night. I could not be happier to launch this site in Colombia, and therefore be part of our global network.”
The company stated that job opportunities for Colombians will range from customer service to administration. A Virtual Customer Service Center (VCS) will also offer some employees the chance of working from their homes. The new customer service center will operate in Connecta Business Center near El Dorado airport.
With a drop in sales among many traditional retailers, the announcement from the e-commerce giant comes at a time when consumer companies across the world are expanding their online presence. This August, the Chilean retail group Falabella acquired the virtual retailers Linio for US$138 million.
This isn’t the first time Amazon has invested in Colombia. Last year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was launched in the country providing cloud computing tools to help customers run everything from development and test environments to data analysis, and mobile, web and social applications. Directives of the company claim that AWS Colombia “has been an integral part of the growth in Latin America and shows the company’s commitment to helping organizations around the world accelerate access to the cloud.”
Amazon’s arrival was welcomed by Colombia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade, and Tourism José Manuel Restrepo as an example of a “high-impact investment” that will create jobs and attract more foreign companies to establish their service centers in the country. “The arrival of this type of investment represents the transfer of technology and knowledge, generating greater competition and confidence because companies like Amazon bring with them the possibility of attracting world-class companies and demand for Colombian services,” said Restrepo.
The minister also highlighted that “Colombian services are aligned with the most exhaustive needs and demands of first-class companies worldwide” and emphasized that direct foreign investment in digital services will have a “profound impact on the economy.”
Flavia Santoro, the newly-appointed president of the country’s marketing and branding entity ProColombia, believes the Amazon launch shows how Bogotá is growing as a center for IT development given a “strategic geographic location, quality workforce, and favorable business environment that allows access to diverse and growing markets.”
The company that Jeff Bezos founded in 1994 as an online bookstore is worth an estimated US$1 trillion.