Bogota – a blend of dynamism and contradictions
My first stop is Bogota, the capital of Colombia. It is a city with roughly 7 million inhabitants, located in the central range of the Andes, 2600 meters above sea level. Bogota is dynamic and contradictory. The north has plenty of luxurious international brands at the exclusive Andean Shopping Center. The south is exactly the opposite. Just another example of the inequality of societies!
An interesting expectation
I met a Colombian businessman who explained that what he expects from the current President and his government: social improvements and less inequality, so that the economy can progress!
Venezuela has traditionally been a major importer of Colombian products. However, since 2008 due to political problems between the two countries, exports fell as much as 30% – and even up to 70% for some products. Thus, the country has had to diversify and find other markets. While the free trade agreement with the United States is still pending, UNASUL – the Union of South American Nations – is an important avenue for Colombian businessman looking to increase exports.
Corporate communications agencies
It is estimated that there are about 350 corporate communications agencies in Colombia. This is a surprisingly high number. However, only around 20 of these agencies are better structured and offer a more rigorous administrative and technical approach.
Increasing Facebook Usage
Colombia is, next to Argentina, the country with the largest number of Facebook users in South America: about 7 million at the end of 2009. The figure represents a penetration rate of 15.56% amongst the Colombian population. On the other hand, Brazil has the lowest penetration in South America at 1.18% (2.2 million users). Interestingly, the deepest penetration of Facebook in the region is in Chile – more than 34% of Chileans uses Facebook!
The phenomenon of blogs and social networks has affected the traditional print media in Colombia, causing the closure of several titles and the downsizing of newsrooms. For Ernesto Cortes of Casa Editorial El Tiempo, the largest media group in Colombia, the current challenge of the media is to retain the audience. He says he has never seen a crisis like this in his career of 15 years. Paradoxically, the Twitter account of the daily newspaper El Tiempo has the second-highest number of followers in Colombia! Who’s in the top spot? The former president, Alvaro Uribe.
More on the Latin American tour next week!