BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Technology  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 25 November, 2002, 09:23 GMT
Argentina bets on cyberspace
Argentines queuing outside a bank
Some Argentines have turned their back on banks

Buenos Aires is the capital of a country that was experiencing its own miniature Latino dot.com boom until the economy here went disastrously wrong.

But Argentines in the information technology industry are still optimistic.

They say the future opportunities in Spanish-speaking cyberspace are simply too large to ignore.

Despite the real world problems with the economy, Argentina's internet world is still growing, with 14% more people online than a year ago, according to local market researchers.

"The internet in Argentina created a need for information and, like computers, everybody has to live with it," said Gaston Cardey, a web designer and computer consultant.

"The people are so used to that they won't stop using it. I think it will continue growing."

Information technology trade missions are still coming here to swap experiences on everything from Spanish online medical portals to weblogs.

"The Latinos are a little bit more open to sharing their thoughts with the world, and basically weblogs are the next evolution frontier on the internet," said Mariano Amartino of the blog community site, Weblogs.com.ar.

Web savings


We have the opportunity to show that we have a lot of people with bright ideas and entrepreneurial spirit

Roberto Cibrian, dot.com entrepreneur
The economic crisis is causing a boom in internet banking. Online customers tripled in number after Argentina devalued its currency last December.

Many Argentines' savings were frozen in their accounts by government regulations designed to prevent a run on the local currency, the peso.

If you want to avoid angry crowds and queues, it is safer and easier to bank online.

The web is also proving to be an effective way to attract donations. Across the web anyone with a credit card can now donate money to buy groceries for Argentines in need at sites like Diezeuros, which means 10 euros in English.

Using sites like Diezeuros, people abroad can make donations and the supermarkets in Argentina will then distribute food to charities.

There are reports of Argentines abroad going online and using local supermarket websites to buy food for their impoverished relatives here in Buenos Aires.

Hopes for the future

Dot.com entrepreneur Roberto Cibrian is not surprised by the resilience of the online sector here, despite the appalling economic problems.

Protests in Argentina
Protests have been loud
"I think that right now we have a lot of opportunities to show that we were not only something unusual," he said.

"We have the opportunity to show that we have a lot of people with bright ideas and entrepreneurial spirit."

Beneath its sophisticated surface, Buenos Aires has many serious social problems.

There is a stark digital divide, with only 5% of those outside Buenos Aires connected to the net.

But Argentina also has a highly educated and motivated middle class. Entrepreneurs say they are in the middle of a massive Latino online market, much of it bound together by the Spanish language.

After English, Japanese and German, Spanish is the fourth most spoken language on the net and these are resourceful people waiting to see if their old economy can recover, so their new economy can take flight again.


Latest news

Analysis & background

Argentina in turmoil

BBC WORLD SERVICE

TALKING POINT
See also:

07 Jun 02 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Technology stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Technology stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes