AVG to focus on Latin American penetration while accelerating primary markets

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Czech IT security company AVG's key initiative for the short term in Latin America will be to focus on penetrating the market and continuing to acquire customers, the firm's CEO, JR Smith, told BNamericas.

"We've got millions of customers in Latin America today, but we'll just continue to grow that base, because we think there's a great opportunity there for us," Smith said. "There isn't a ton of competition, and for the most part it's an area of growth for us for the next 2-5 years. But right now it's just about penetration, getting as many customers as we can."

In 2011, AVG is focusing on accelerating its primary markets - the US and the UK - and next year will begin to focus on other markets like CALA, according to Smith. However, for now the company will still work on growing in Latin America and pushing its free security software in the region.

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Smith said that at the moment AVG is researching the region. More specifically, he said, the company has been doing a lot of research on Mexico, working with one of its investors, Intel Capital, to better understand the market.

Additionally, Mackenzie & Associates recently conducted market evaluation research for AVG, which has further driven the company's interest in the region. In the research, Latin America came up very high on the list as far as the size of available market, penetration and competition, among other factors.

According to Smith, the company needs to drive security threat awareness and education in the region. He highlighted awareness and "call to action" efforts that AVG has done with the US government and the EU commission. The company has yet to do anything on that scale in Latin America, the executive said, but it is something that will need to happen in the future.

"You have to drive education first," Smith said. "And really it's more than education. It's actually action, because you know there are threats, you know you need to be protected, so go get protected."

Currently, AVG has 10mn users in the region and has seen consistent growth rates of 6-7% a year. According to the CEO, it has been easy for AVG to enter Latin America because the company's security software is predominantly on the web.

In the region, AVG operates primarily through the web and resellers, with a partner in Brazil exclusively selling AVG products and focused on the SME market.

Smith said AVG's partner in Brazil has helped generate revenues and has contributed to technology development. The executive said he did not see future partners in Brazil, as the firm is not looking to create competition, but partnership is an option in other countries in the region such as Mexico.

Providing security protection to one out of every six companies globally, AVG has 120mn users worldwide, 100mn of whom are utilizing AVG's free security product. The company is present in 167 countries, with its product available in multiple languages including Spanish and Portuguese. Additionally, AVG has virus labs in places such as China, US, Brazil and Australia that feed distinct samples from their respective regions to tailor security services.