HP Bullish About 'E-Services' in LatAm

MIAMI (03/31/2000) - Businesses in Latin America are embracing the Internet to improve the way they do business, a Hewlett-Packard Co. executive said in a recent interview.

"There is a lot of activity in Latin America in the e-services space, and this is making a big difference for business in the region," said Duane Zitzner, president of HP's computing systems division and a company vice president.

HP has coined the term "e-services" to mean services that companies can provide over the Internet to accomplish goals like increasing their revenue, improving customer support and becoming more efficient.

The U.S. company gets between six and eight requests from firms in Latin America interested in launching a project that falls within HP's e-services concept, said Nicolo Alaimo, the company's marketing director for Latin America.

Some of the companies HP has worked with in Latin America to implement these types of services include Brazilian airline TAM, Mexican financial institution Grupo Financiero Banorte SA de CV, Argentinean paint manufacturer Colorín and Mexican steel distributor Ryerson de México SA de CV, HP's Zitzner said.

"Latin America is an extremely important region for us. It has many upstart companies with unique ideas" willing to transform their business using the Internet, he said.

When considering a project of this type, companies must first determine what benefits they will derive from it, what the return on investment will be and how they can do it methodically, instead of in a "big bang" fashion, Zitzner said. He added that a lot of hype surrounding the use of the Internet for business purposes and misinformation abounds.

HP's revenues in Latin America were US$500 million in the first quarter, ended Jan. 31, 2000, a 14 percent increase over the same quarter last year. [See "UPDATE: HP Sees Q1 Revenue Jump 14 Percent," Feb. 16.]The company's Latin America operations are headquartered in Miami. HP has subsidiaries in México, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and Perú, and over 2,300 employees in Latin America and the Caribbean.

HP, in Palo Alto, California, can be reached at http://www.hp.com/.

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