Global services are growing steadily in Uruguay

Based on a robust business ecosystem that offers benefits, large international companies choose the country to develop their services from Uruguay to the world.
Publication date: 28/09/2023

In the last decade, Uruguay has seen a growing increase in its exports of non-traditional services such as IT, professional and consulting, financial, audiovisual, telecommunications, trade and logistics, technical and business services. This is the result of a long history of political, social, and macroeconomic stability, added to other advantages such as its ideal strategic location to form a regional HUB for the Americas, its time zone and cultural affinity with major international markets, its easy access to decision-makers, a regulatory framework that favors investment, crowned by a population with highly skilled and multilingual workers.

In the last ten years, the country has undergone changes that have allowed it to insert itself dynamically into international trade flows, and global services have increased their share from almost 40% to 53% of total services exports.

Thus, the country’s dynamic innovation ecosystem, which offers attractive partnership and investment opportunities, is nurtured by several large operations such as the cases of Tata Consultancy Services, Sabre, Mercado Libre, Globant, Oracle- Netsuite, Verifone and Pedidos Ya, Perficient, and Sonda, or sizeable regional distribution centers such as MegaLabs, Merck, Adium Pharma, Ricoh, among others.

“Global services exports in Uruguay are estimated to reach US$ 2,882 million in 2022, reaching the highest levels since this information has been surveyed,” states the report Global Services in Uruguay by the Investment, export and Country Brand Promotion Agency, Uruguay XX.I.

This is also a result of the beneficial tax exemptions for the global services sector and the possibility of operating in an export-oriented free zone regime.

IT services have grown significantly in the last ten years.

Within global services, in Uruguay, the increase in the share of IT services stands out, from 1% in 2012 to 12% in 2022. These include operations of technology companies, either through the provision of development services or the commercialization of technology solutions. Technology companies can use the country’s advantages to set up a global operation covering the entire ICT value chain and establish commercial and logistics offices and service and testing operations for new technologies.

A recent paradigmatic case is that of Microsoft AI Co-Innovation Lab, which, at the end of June 2023, opened its operations in the Technological Laboratory of Uruguay (LATU). It is one of the four laboratories that the company has in the world. This opening raises opportunities for business innovation in the different value chains in Uruguay, as it offers cutting-edge tools and technology, which will allow companies to evaluate specific projects in a safe environment together with specialized technicians, making it possible to incorporate artificial intelligence into their processes and business.
Uruguay, a service hub

Some of the regional distribution centers operating in Uruguay are MegaLabs, Merck, Adium Pharma, Ricoh, Lexmark, Biotoscana, Roche, AstraZeneca, and GSK, which provide trade and logistics services thanks to the tax advantages that the country offers for companies with foreign trade operations and benefits as a logistics platform.

Uruguay is the only country in South America that has free ports and airports, a stable free trade zone regime that complies with international regulations, and a single foreign trade window (VUCE).

Most companies that choose Uruguay to develop global business services are in the free service zones. Some of the largest are BASF, Syngenta, Tenaris, Trafigura, and Altisource.

This category includes services related to the offshoring of business processes. In particular, Montevideo became a hub that provides support services for foreign trade, supply chain, finance and accounting, human resources, customer service, contract review, etc.

Why Uruguay for global export services?

The country offers a coordinated and accessible technological and entrepreneurial ecosystem, with investment opportunities for existing companies and developing new ventures. As a small, orderly, open, and transparent country with access to advanced technology, Uruguay is an ideal destination for providing high-quality services.

Workers can legally reside and work in the country and are assisted in expeditiously processing their visa and residency applications. Recently, a residence permit for digital nomads was approved in Uruguay, which seeks to encourage the arrival of more talent from abroad to live and work in the country.

Finally, to close a virtuous circle that shows sustained growth, it is necessary to highlight the quality of life offered by Uruguay. This safe country provides excellent conditions for family welfare, with access to health services and first-class education. According to the prestigious and worldwide recognized Mercer index, Montevideo is the city with the best quality of life in Latin America, and more and more foreigners are choosing Uruguay as their country of residence.

You can read the full report “Global Services in Uruguay” here.