Will Amazon choose Chile or Argentina for its Latin American data center?

Amazon has been expanding its reach into Latin America. As Amazon Web Services have become available across the region, most recently in Colombia, Amazon has been searching for the site of a new data center in Latin America.

Bloomberg reports that the battle is between Chile and Argentina. Until the arrival of Mauricio Macri in 2015, pitting Argentina against Chile for foreign direct investment (FDI) would have been unthinkable. The Kirchner government had tight regulations on the economy that scared off most investors. However, both Macri, and Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, met frequently with Amazon executives in 2017.

The tide may be turning, but Chile, a country half the size of Argentina, continues to attract double the FDI of its neighbor. In 2015, Chile received US$20.5B, while Argentina received just US$11.7B.

Each country has its pros and cons. Chile has a more mature track record in technology investment, was the site of Google’s first data center in 2012, and has been investing in Patagonia’s fiber optic network to turn it into a tech hub. Argentina, on the other hand, has a much larger population, and a handful of unicorns that make it an attractive destination for tech companies.

Thus far, the decision remains a secret, though it is rumored that Amazon may end up building centers in both countries.

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