Google opening Colombia, Panama, Miami offices

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) plans to open offices in Colombia, Panama and Miami this year, Alberto Arebalos, Google's communications and public affairs director for Latin America, told BNamericas.

The company opened an office in Peru last year, adding to existing offices in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile.

The internet giant is also in the process of expanding its presence in Chile, opening up for the first time in that country a position of country manager with the appointment of Eduardo Pooley. For the last four years, Jim Ballentine has worked as a "scout" in Chile developing relationships with business partners, the government and the media. Ballentine will now take on a role heading up regional business development.

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"Chile has reached a point of maturity in the market and of online advertising, which is our core business, to require a bigger structure and a country manager," Arebalos said.

Latin America is Google's fastest growing region, showing a "hockey stick" trend, he said.

The office in Colombia is already up and running, but waiting for Google to contract a country manager in March or April. Panama will follow shortly after. The Miami office will focus on the US Hispanic market.

Google has two principal types of clients: SMEs that have an account with the company's main advertising product, AdWords, and then large companies that advertise for their websites with AdSense. Argentina has operated as a hub for much of the business in South America to date, but the idea is that each country has a more specific local focus.

The Colombian market is going to be developed as a second hub in the region with a large team.