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Business success in Chile

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  1. Introduction
  2. Overview of Chile
    1. General information
    2. Economy
    3. International relations
  3. Chile and its inhabitants
    1. The first reflex
    2. Negotiations
    3. Business life in Chile
    4. Business in Chile
    5. Reviews

For many, Chile still evokes the military dictatorship of General Pinochet, the repression and violence that caused 17 years of tyranny. Yet the return to democracy has made it possible to rediscover this beautiful though often misunderstood country. This thin strip of land, nearly 4300 km long, stretching beneath a cloudless sky has many advantages to offer: the friendliness and hospitality of its people and the spectacle of its landscapes, incredible diversity and great beauty.

Go then to the conquest of this colorful country, you will probably find there is no gold, but the richness of ancient civilizations that have survived the Inca empire and the Spanish colonization.

Located on the Pacific coast of Latin America, the Republic of Chile is the longest north-south country in the world. It stretches 4300 km from Peru to Cape Horn, with an average width of 190 km. Chile is isolated from its neighbors by natural boundaries: it is separated from Argentina to the east by the Andes and Bolivia and Peru to the north by the Atacama Desert. The capital of this country is Santiago de Chile. The total area is 756,950 km², including the Juan Fernandez Islands and Easter Island in addition to the mainland.

"Chile" is a Mapudungun word meaning "where the land ends" and has no connection with the Spanish word ?chile? which means pepper. Spanish is the most widely spoken language; inhabitants also speak Native American languages , which do not enjoy the status of official languages: Rapanui (on Easter Island ), Quechua and Mapudungun are some examples of Native American languages.

Chile is located in the southern hemisphere, where seasons are reversed compared to Europe. In the Central Zone, the summer starts in late December and ends in late March while winter lasts from June to August.

Chile is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, a chain of volcanoes in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In Chile, there are over two thousand volcanoes, among which fifty-six are still active. In addition, the territory is located along the meeting point of two tectonic plates .The country is therefore at significant seismic risk. Chile is divided into thirteen regions , which are themselves subdivided into provinces.

Chile currently has over 16 million people (including 1.3% immigrants). The urban population is 87% and 40% of Chileans are established in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago. The Central Zone, located between the cities of La Serena and Concepcion, comprises 78% of the population. The average population density (20 inhabitants/km²) is therefore not representative of the actual density of the territory. Between 1992 and 2002, the average annual growth rate of the population was 1.24%.

Despite a declining birthrate, Chile's populace remains relatively young: 34% of Chileans are aged below 20, only 15% are over 55 years. The average life expectancy at birth is 76 years or 72.8 years for men and 79.6 for women. The average family has about 3.6 people. In 2002, 4.6% of the population reported belonging to an ethnic group, the vast majority (87%) to the Mapuche.

[...] Foreign exchange reserves in USD: - 31 December 2003: 15,851 ( 10.6 months of imports) - 31 December 2004: 16,016 ( 8.4 months of imports) Structure of the Economy Main products Mine production in 2004 (in tonnes) Chile is the world's largest producer of copper with 35% of world production. Agriculture and food sector (2004) The agriculture and food industry, in its broadest definition, currently employs 754,000 people or 12% of the workforce. The sector represents of GDP and is the fourth largest resource of the country with over 9.5 billion dollars which are distributed as follows: $ 5.2 billion in gross, $ 4.2 billion of processed food products. [...]


[...] Developing business in Chile will require: traveling often and spending several days during the visits; being on time, however a grace period "Chilean quarter hour" (which often turns into a half-hour) is normally observed. But for a new entrant, timeliness is strongly recommended; being pleasant: the meetings are formal at the start and friendly thereafter (Hispanic culture).Chileans are attentive listeners and like to take their time to complete negotiations, therefore negotiations can be a drawn out process; showing interest in their culture because the Chileans are proud of it. [...]


[...] With Edelnor, it holds 51% of electrical capacity in Northern Chile (SING). TOTAL holds a stake in GasAndes SA (total investment for the pipeline is 325 million USD). - In the water sector: With an investment of 1000 million USD in 1999, Ondeo (SUEZ Group) acquired 35% of Aguas Andinas (water purification and sewage treatment Greater Santiago) and is currently building the largest water treatment plant in South America. At the end of 2004, Suez sold a portion of its capital to Agbar, currently holding 18% of Aguas Andinas. [...]

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