Earlier this year in March I went on a trip in South America and visited Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. In terms of business it was quite an eye opener for me and I'm convinced that there are huge growth opportunities in Latin America's Internet sector.
It started with the travel preparations. Booking flights or trains in countries like Bolivia or Peru is a pain. To book a flight from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to La Paz, Bolivia, I not only had to call to make the booking, but I also had to fax in scanned copies of my passport and credit cards.
In general tourism is not well developed except in the most common touristic areas such as Machu Picchu. When we took a boat tour across Lake Titicaca, we (two persons) were alone aboard a huge ship - dedicated tour guide included! For the price we paid (I think something like $200 for the day) this could only be a loss for the tour operator.
Obviously Internet penetration is low at around 25% but even compared to countries like Ukraine with similar penetration rates I was surprised that even for example companies in Lima do not advertise their websites much on their shop signs, flyers etc.
Of course, once you take a jeep and go for a few hours into the campo, you discover places like San Antonio: no Internet, no cell, no phone, and they got power last November.
While we have a sizeable business directory of Bolivia's Santa Cruz in our porfolio, San Antonio, or the next larger city of Concepcion (10,000 population) don't even register on the map.
The AdSense numbers reflect this general impression: CPM of South America is half of Ukraine, Ukraine is half of Europe. Still the growth of our Latin sites (we have, for example, a business directory of South America) is impressive.