Foreign investment grew 66% in the first quarter of 2021

16 June 2021
Sectors such as software and IT, BPO, agribusiness, renewable energy, and manufacturing were the leaders among the numerous projects from 15 countries supported by ProColombia in the first three months of the year.

Between January and March 2021, Colombia received 33 new investment projects managed and captured by ProColombia with business estimated at US$1.595 billion, a 66% increase compared to the US $960 million reported by the agency for the same period in 2020.

Investors estimate that more than 23,400 jobs will be created as a result of these new projects.

"We see that investors' interest in doing business in Colombia remains strong. The entrepreneurs of the world are looking for locations to relocate and expand, and Colombia stands out as a strategic and highly competitive option, thanks to its strategic location, qualified workforce, multiple development hubs, tax incentives, and trade agreements to access other regional markets," stated Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia.

  Santoro noted that the projects will reach the departments of Antioquia (5), Atlántico (4), Caldas (1), Huila (1), La Guajira (1), Meta (1), Risaralda (1), Santander (1), Valle del Cauca (2), and Bogotá (16).

The aforementioned investments came from 15 markets, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, the United States, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Switzerland, and they targeted agribusiness, BPO and shared service centers, cosmetics and toiletries, renewable energy, containers and packaging, the pharmaceutical industry, chemicals and life sciences, building materials, manufacturing, audiovisual production, retail, software, and IT sectors, among others.

"Since the start of President Ivan Duque's administration through March 2021, we have supported the arrival of 515 projects with business of more than US $19.5 billion, creating 198,000 new jobs in 23 departments in Colombia," added the ProColombia president.

New projects

As a result of the national government's nearshoring strategy, Singaporean BPO company TDCX installed its first hub in the Americas in Bogotá in order to serve customers in the United States and Latin America.

This firm, which looked to ProColombia and Invest in Bogotá for support, has positions available and also has subsidiaries in cities such as Barcelona, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Yokohama.

"The possibility of being close to markets such as those of the United States and Latin America was one of the reasons to make Colombia an operations hub. Our intention is to grow the business in the country by providing services to customers in the United States, Latin America, and the local market. We are likely to further expand our operating capabilities in Bogotá in the future—before expanding to other cities in Colombia such as Medellin or Barranquilla—as we meet our business and growth goals," stated Alberto Castañeda, TDCX’s director of business development for Latin America.

Another company that has been developing investments to establish operations in Colombia is the British firm Shelton's Coffee. Motivated by expanding to America, the company moved its production plant to Bogotá in order to serve markets in Latin America, the United States, and Canada. All the products produced and marketed by Shelton's Coffee are made from 100% Colombian coffee. The company estimates that it will make investments over a three-year period to increase the size of its local factory.

"Colombia's strategic position, the country's highly skilled human capital, and Bogotá´s robust capacity for setting up companies—including digital processes and records—were decisive factors in our decision to invest," affirmed Ximena Shelton, CEO of Shelton's Coffee. 

Hailing from Argentina is Infobae, a news website that already had correspondents in Colombia and decided to establish a direct operation to strengthen its content and international positioning strategy. Infobae’s opening in Colombia came about following the firm's growth in Mexico.

The Argentine media outlet has newsrooms in Buenos Aires, where it started, as well as New York, Miami, and Mexico City. Additionally, it has 400 correspondents on five continents. Currently with 15 Bogotá-based journalists, Infobae projects that this number will grow to 25 in the medium term.

Canadian visual effects developer Folks—that works with Netflix, HBO, CBS, and Amazon Studios—identified Colombia as the launchpad for expansion in Latin America. Its Colombian studio joins those already established in Canada, the United States, and Australia.

"Colombia is a market full of excellent talent, which provides a great opportunity to develop the world of VFX (visual effects) by developing the industry and, along with it, employment, and training that will enable Colombia´s professionals to grow. In fact, one of the reasons to be located in Bogotá is so that our professionals can be trained and work on international projects from Colombia. There is enormous potential here," stated Andrea Espinal, studio director and supervisor of VFX for Folks in Colombia.

Reinvestments for the period include that of the European multinational Poligrow, which operates from Mapiripán, Meta and is continuing its investment plan to strengthen oil palm production for export while practicing economic, environmental, and social responsibility and sustainability. The company has supported the development of public services and education programs in Mapiripán, and it has also created more than 650 direct jobs in the region.