The ‘Amazon of Latin America’ Dives Deeper into LATAM Digital Dominance


While many investors are tied up following US-based FAANG stocks, ‘The Amazon of Latin America’ has been busy establishing its digital dominance in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and beyond. MercadoLibre, translated to 'Free Market' in English, is one of the leading e-commerce platforms in the world and the top online marketplace in South America. The company’s relentless focus on innovation, coupled with its deep understanding of the regional market, has propelled MercadoLibre to the forefront of LATAM’s digital economy. With millions of active users and a presence in multiple countries, MercadoLibre continues to reshape how consumers buy, sell, and transact online.

Here’s what investors need to know about MercadoLibre, the tech powerhouse and driving force behind LATAM’s evolving digital landscape. 



Founded in 1999 by Marcos Galperin in Argentina, MercadoLibre has since evolved into a multifaceted platform offering a wide array of online services. The company went public in 2007 (NASDAQ: MELI) and hasn’t looked back since.

At its core, MercadoLibre operates an online marketplace where individuals and businesses can buy and sell a vast range of products, from electronics and fashion to household goods and vehicles. Much like eBay and Amazon, MercadoLibre facilitates transactions between buyers and sellers while providing a secure platform for payments and communication.

Despite challenges such as underdeveloped infrastructure and an underbanked population, the company's slow and steady approach has driven its growth, expanding from four people in a garage to a $14 billion revenue company. 2023 was a massive year for MELI as the company saw record revenue and net income along with a staggering $44.8 billion in gross merchandise volume through its platform, a feat largely attributed to its robust logistics network.

MercadoLibre Revenue - 2005-2024E ($MM)


Screenshot 2024-04-25 at 11-26-46 AM

Source: Bloomberg, EMQQ Global

In the third quarter of 2023 alone, MercadoLibre processed upwards of 200 million shipments, with over half arriving either the same day or the next day. Impressively, 80% of these deliveries were completed within 48 hours. While such swift service may be customary in the U.S., it marks a significant milestone for Latin America.


Founded in 1999 by Marcos Galperin in Argentina, MELI has evolved into a multifaceted platform that offers a wide array of online services to consumers and companies alike.

Over the years, MercadoLibre has expanded its offerings to include:

  • MercadoPago, a popular online payment system similar to PayPal, allows users to send and receive payments online securely. This payment solution has become instrumental in driving e-commerce growth across Latin America, where traditional banking infrastructure may be limited.
  • MercadoEnvíos, its own shipping and delivery service, ensuring timely and reliable delivery of goods to customers across the region. This vertical integration has helped streamline the e-commerce experience, fostering trust and satisfaction among users.
  • MercadoShops, an e-commerce platform for small and medium-sized businesses.
  • MercadoClics, an advertising platform.
  • MercadoCrédito, a lending platform for sellers.


The company is betting big on Mexico, announcing that it plans to invest $2.5 billion in the market to bolster its presence in the country. This investment will be allocated across various areas, ranging from increasing warehouse space to enhancing logistics networks to expanding marketing, distribution, and technology. The company earmarked another $4.6 billion in investments for Brazil. Together the two significant investments point to continued bullishness for the Latin American internet and tech sectors.


EMQQ Global team visit to MELI headquarters in Buenos Aires

Over the past two decades, MercadoLibre has evolved from an e-commerce startup into an $80 billion fintech powerhouse, showing a total return of ~9,000% since 2007. As experts in investing in emerging markets internet and e-commerce companies, we've watched with conviction for nearly a decade as the company expanded its reach and role in the digitization of Latin America. 

Unfortunately, for those looking to invest in MercadoLibre, most broad-based EM strategies are missing the mark. Thanks to database flaws and a lack of GICS classifications, emerging market internet companies like MercadoLibre often end up overlooked by investors and institutions alike. But the reality of the matter is that MercadoLibre is a tech giant deserving of its moment in the spotlight as it continues to significantly outperform the broader market.


Included in both the Emerging Markets Internet & Ecommerce Index (ticker: EMQQ) and the Next Frontier Internet & E-commerce Index (ticker: FMQQ), MercadoLibre is a staple across our strategies and one of the top 10 constituents. As the company that most inspired us to create EMQQ in the first place, we look forward to continuing to provide investors with exposure to both the well-established (MELI) and early disruptor companies across the emerging market internet economy.