Our Network > Uruguay
PR in Uruguay – Our Story
Before launching any new brand or idea in Uruguay, it’s important that an international company fully understands the idiosyncrasies of the country. How do locals think? What influences someone in the capital city Montevideo to invest in a certain product? Do the same trends apply in rural areas?
Regardless of what type of innovation an international company wishes to bring to this population, it’s vital to engage with an Uruguay PR agency. With a team of locals on the ground, with decades of international prize-winning experience, companies can avert some of the common mistakes made, and increase the probability of having great success with a new product launch in Uruguay.
Sherlock Communications has it covered. With our team of local experts, we Sherlock Communications are your PR agency in Uruguay. With our track record of great results for a whole host of international companies, we’ll help you to understand local trends, and develop a boutique offering that responds ideally to local needs.
Uruguay is a breath of fresh air when compared to some of its neighbours. With one of the highest literacy rates and highest internet penetration rates in the region and a mild and pleasant climate, Uruguay has consistently shown growth in recent years, largely escaping the international financial crisis. Uruguay is a local leader, and holds second place, globally, in rankings of national wind and solar energy production (only Denmark is ranked above Uruguay). A liberal nation, Uruguay was among the first to sign the 1946 UN Declaration on Human Rights.
While neighbours in Argentina and Brazil struggle with inflation, corruption, and violence, Uruguay continues unscathed with stable economic growth. It is recognised as having one of the strongest and most stable social and political systems in Latin America. In the Corruption Perceptions Index, published by Transparency International in 2018, Uruguay holds the highest position of countries in Latin America. Locals don’t consider their government to be crooked, and only Chile does better in the region on the Global Peace Index.
International companies could well consider setting up a Latin America headquarters in this nation of 3.5 million people, strategically located between Brazil and Argentina. Uruguay was a founding member of MERCOSUR, the South American trade block with a combined market of more than four hundred million people.
A range of investment-related tax exemptions, including zero tax on repatriation of profits, and non-differential treatment of local and foreign investors adds to Uruguay’s charms. One shareholder can own 100% of a company in Uruguay.
The Media Landscape
SODRE is the official Uruguayan broadcasting service and operates state TV and radio. Montevideo is the media hub of Uruguay, with 40% of radio stations and all of the country’s TV stations based in the capital city. Mainstream print press emitting from the city include Brecha, La Dairia, La Republica, El Observador, El País, Busqueda & Gaceta Comercial.
While some print media outlets are owned, or linked to, political parties, Uruguay has been commended internationally for a Broadcasting Communications Services Law (LSCA), which purports to a fairer distribution of broadcast frequencies, allowing for greater pluralism in the dissemination of mass communication. Large media groups battled bitterly against the bill, which passed in 2014, lauded as an important regional landmark of freedom of expression. Uruguay is ranked 19th out of 180 countries in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, making it one of the safest countries in Latin America for journalists.
The Online Landscape
In Uruguay, everyone has a phone, in fact most people have more than one. With a population of 3.5 million people, there are nearly 5.4 million mobile phone subscriptions in the small South American country, with 65% of these users on pre-paid connections. Most have internet access and are active daily social media users (72%), while 64% of the nation access social media using smart phones.
While 78% per cent of Uruguayans used laptops and desktop computers to access the internet in 2016, this market share had decreased by a full 12% the following year. Tablet devices also dropped in popularity as a mode for internet access in 2017 (15% of Uruguayans used tablets in 2016, while only 2% did in 2017).
Online access is prioritised by government, and in 2009 Uruguay became the first country in the world to give a laptop computer to every primary school going child. The distribution of more than half a million laptops, inspired by OLPC (One Laptop Pre Child) non-profit project, is thought to have greatly helped bridge historic divides in Uruguay. The governmental “Plan Ceibal” also guaranteed wireless internet connections for all schools. While this was difficult to roll-out, the target was met, and all primary schools in Uruguay have internet access, either wireless, or optical fibre. Uruguay is creating a digital population.
As the only South American country fully situated in the temperate zone, Uruguay has similar mild weather conditions all year round. Although one of the smallest countries in South America, high soil fertility rates in the largely flat country, crisscrossed with rivers and streams means agriculture and associated industries are of great importance to the local economy. Around 95% of this high yield territory is used for agricultural means. Environmental protection is enshrined in the Uruguayan Constitution, and tax breaks are available to companies, local or international, that use “clean technologies”.
Banking in Uruguay is seen as strong, competent, and many international banks have a Montevideo base. Human capital is highly developed due to consistent investment in free secular public education (with mandatory attendance).
While agriculture is noted as one of Uruguay’s strongest export-based sectors, significant growth can be noted in recent years in other areas, such as Finance, Information Technology, and Logistics. GDP in Uruguay has nearly doubled since 2009, and despite a slowdown between 2013 and 2016, growth was witnessed again in 2017 (USD$56.16 bn). The Uruguayan gross domestic product represents 0.09% of the global economy.
Foreign direct investment is free from restriction and there are no limits regarding the transfer of profits or repatriation of capital. No distinction is made between local and foreign investment, and an international company can avail of exactly the same incentives and tax breaks as a local company can. Uruguay is very definitely open for business.
Uruguayans are happy folk, welcoming to foreigners, and trustful of their government, in general. While locals are seen to be warm, friendly and open, doing business is Uruguay is a fully formal affair. They believe in doing things the right way, and will not appreciate any suggestion to cut corners. While many will have studied English at school, and are happy to practice it in social settings, Spanish is the language of business. Any documents must be available in flawless Spanish.
There are lots of perks to doing business in Uruguay, but it’s important to start off on the right foot. There are lots of tax incentives available, but companies must have a full and comprehensive understanding of the legal and tax system, and regulatory requirements when starting out. While the future looks bright in Uruguay, many international companies become overwhelmed by the intricacies of the tax system (more than 30 corporate tax payments must be made annually).
Want to construct in Uruguay? Even a seemingly straight forward planning permission will take at least seven months to clear, as the proposal must pass dozens of compliance procedures, and inspections. Registering a property is a dizzyingly complex bureaucratic process.
Planning to export? Do your homework first, as the litany of paperwork needed can often result in goods stuck for weeks being entering or leaving the country.
The Capital – Montevideo
Nearly half of Uruguay’s population lives in the capital city Montevideo. Unlike other South American capitals, Uruguay does not have striking wealth inequality, and slums are non-existent. With an education system that provides the highest literacy levels in the region, Uruguayans are culture vultures, and the country is host to a wide diversity of food, arts, sport and dance.
Uruguay does not have native indigenous communities, and locals generally are from European extraction. A wide range of immigrant influences are visible in the choice of cuisine available in this small village-like capital city, with its pedestrianised thoroughfare that leads down to the sea (a perfect spot for watching the sunset in the evenings).
In the Mercer report on the quality of life in 2017, Montevideo was rated number one in Latin America (it has remained number one in the region since 2005). Since 2015, the city is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the area of Literature. In other words, creativity is recognised as a major factor in the sustainable urban development trajectory of the city.
The capital city, located on the mouth of the river Rio de la Plata, is the economic and political capital of Uruguay, and most big businesses have their headquarters in the colonial style city. The Porto of Montevideo is one of the most important in South America and has shown rapid growth in recent years.
Tourism accounts for a large part of Uruguay’s economic activity, with amazing beaches dotted along the coastline. In Montevideo, tourism tends to focus on the beautiful old town region. Nearby Punta del Este is a favourite for high-end holidaymakers, while those wishing to escape the modern trappings of daily life head to idyllic Cabo Polonio.
If you would like to learn more about PR in Uruguay, find out how Sherlock Communications can help you meet your business objectives in Uruguay or simply have an informal chat do call or drop us a line:
+55 11 3817 5852
Rua Mourato Coelho Nº 923, Pinheiros, São Paulo – SP – Brasil, 05417-011