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eBay of Latin America: Mercado Libre CEO Marcos Galperin (Part 7)

Posted on Friday, Dec 14th 2007

SM: Does PayPal operate in South America?

MG: You can withdraw money but you cannot fund a PayPal account. They do not have a Spanish speaking site either.

SM: What is your dynamic with eBay today? Competitive or collaborative?

MG: They own 18.5% of Mercado Libre. They are a very big shareholder. We have a very good working relationship with them. We have had very good best practices sharing in the past. Our non-compete agreement expired in September of last year, but we continue to do best practice sharing. They are focused right now in regaining momentum in the US and Germany, their two biggest markets where growth has slowed a lot. As we were saying earlier, the markets we compete in are different, and the formulas work differently. I think they are happy to be minority shareholders and have a local team that drives business at this stage. That is also what they ended up doing in China. They were a minority shareholder, and then they bought everything, then they went back to being a minority shareholder.

SM: In India they bought the largest provider,

MG: I think the group in India was much smaller than we are though.

SM: They were. Am I reading this right that you are the type of team that is more interested in building the company as opposed to flipping it?

MG: We have been building it for 8 years now, so we better be into building!

SM: Are you tired?

MG: No, I am not tired at all. We just had our end of year party, and I gave a message there. We have opportunities now like we have never had before. Unlike other periods when we were losing money, or as we were saying before, just focusing on the platform, but the business was not there, now the business is there and we are growing and we are profitable. Everyday we have more cash in the bank than we did the day before, which is a good feeling for us because for many years that was not the case. Now we have the cash, we have the team, we have a very strong platform, and we have a very strong brand. Add to that all the opportunities there are in this space, and it is just an exciting time.

This segment is part 7 in the series : eBay of Latin America: Mercado Libre CEO Marcos Galperin
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