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During the fourth quarter of 2010, Chile topped the rankings of the ICT index Information Society Indicator (ISI) compiled by Spanish consultancy everis and Spain's IESE business school.
The ISI index measures IT adoption on a quarterly basis in major Latin American markets, including Chile, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia. Leading the indicator with 6.15 points, Chile saw 4.5% year-on-year growth. It was followed by Argentina with 5.03 points, Peru with 4.82, Mexico with 4.68, Brazil with 4.66 and Colombia with 4.55.
This was the fifth consecutive quarter that Chile has seen ISI growth, and the study predicts that although expansion in 2011 will be less accelerated, the country will still lead the ISI in the region.
According to the findings, Chile's growth was driven mainly by the country's good economic prospects, general stability projected for the year and the information society environment (ESI) factor, the performance of which was aided by the Chilean middle-class's increased consumption, social mobility and purchasing power.
In specific areas considered by the index, Chile saw its highest annual increase in online retail sales, reaching US$152 annually per person - up 45.8% and three times that of the regional average. Chile also maintained regional leadership in computers and servers, posting 421 computers for every 1,000 people in the country and 6.6 servers for every 1,000.
Behind Argentina, Chile continued to have the second highest mobile telephony penetration in Latin America with 1,065 devices for every 1,000 people, up 13.3% from last year. By December 2011, Chile will have 1,159 cell phones per 1,000 people, according to the index.
Although social networking use grew less in Chile than other countries, it still led in terms of penetration, with 464 people for every 1,000 using this technology.
During Q4, the study found that Chile registered a per capita ICT expenditure of US$516, above the US$378 regional average, but still leaving room to grow compared with the US$3,242 figure in the US.
According to everis general manager Patricia García, the increase in the ISI has not occurred only in Chile, but rather in all of Latin America, as the index has reached historic highs during the last five quarters. Showing recovery from the economic crisis, Latin America saw its ISI reach 4.73 points in 4Q10, posting 3% year-on-year growth.
García said the region's main area for improvement is reducing the ICT access gap that persists in Latin America.