April 26, 2018 / 9:49 PM / a year ago

E-commerce firm MercadoLibre pledges $175 mln Mexico investment

MEXICO CITY, April 26 (Reuters) - Online marketplace MercadoLibre said on Thursday that it will invest $275 million in logistics, shipping and marketing in Mexico, aiming for a stronger toehold in Latin America’s second-largest economy as its rivalry with Amazon.com Inc intensifies.

Argentina’s MercadoLibre said the investment includes its February opening of two Mexico distribution centers employing 3,000 people, worth $100 million.

Online and brick-and-mortar businesses alike have been ratcheting up their investments in e-commerce in Mexico, pressuring retailers to stay ahead with efficient logistics, broad inventories and fast, hassle-free shipping.

“Mexico is one of the countries with the biggest e-commerce industry growth of the region,” Marcos Galperin, MercadoLibre’s chief executive and founder, said in a statement. “We want to accelerate the pace of this advance.”

MercadoLibre is locked in tight race with Amazon to win Mexican e-commerce.

The Argentine firm had twice as much website traffic in Mexico as Amazon last year, according to digital measurement company comScore. But market research firm Euromonitor found that Amazon last year outstripped MercadoLibre in business-to-consumer sales by $13 million.

Amazon has invested heavily in Mexico since its official 2015 launch in the country.

On Thursday, Mexican retailer and bottler Fomento Economico Mexicano said it will expand a pilot program that uses its ubiquitous Oxxo convenience stores as Amazon package pick-up points. (Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Julia Love Editing by Alistair Bell)

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