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Chile has several areas of business that are attractive to foreigners.
I have had more than 25 years of experience assisting foreigners coming to do business in Chile.
My experience among small business owners is:
1. They have a learning curve of about two years. This is longer if they have difficulties on learning Spanish.
2. Not all the business ideas working in USA functions in Chile.
3. The culture, the non written practices, the way of doing things is different in Chile compared to developed nations. At the start, this bothersome foreigners. As this is the country they choose to live and they can not change it, life changes for them, when they decide to adapt their mind to the Chilean way. Then they start blending with locals, and life flows well and they enjoy the experience.
4. The most difficult part for a foreigner and it is very costly for them, it is their sincere belief, that their way of thinking is superior than Chileans way of doing things, because they are coming from a developed nation. Our mental hard disk is much harder to modify than we expect. Bureaucracy is dense in Chile. So, I have seen they neglect advice, fire people often, they insist and insist on the same methods, loosing a lot of money, suffering the experience and having a lot of headaches.
5. If a foreigner can diminish some of these frequent situations, they can really live very well in Chile. Having on mind, that every country has also its proper weakness.
6. There are some remedies, help, assistances, advice, etc, that Business Consultants can offer you, to diminish some of the normal hazards and "tramps" that a foreigner will normally find on their way, saving a lot of money.
7. One suggestion that I offer to foreigners is to engage with a local on a local business, either functioning or a start up. On this manner, the foreigner learn by doing, being guided professionally. On this way, he can start rapidly to generate revenues, he can gain a commercial history, and he can save a lot of money on his learning curve. Later once he learned, he can start on how own.
8. Have on mind, that Chile is an stable economy, the most stable in Latin America during more than 30 years. Our average income per person is near US$ 20.000, the highest on the region. Even more, the last 30 years ending in 2014 had been probably the longest and the most successful 3 decades in our economic history. So, for the same reasons Chile is not a cheap nation. Prices are higher than in all neighboring countries. Keeping stability for more than 3 decades is almost a luxury in Latin America. It has a cost and prices are higher. So be ready to increase your investment budget.
9. Chile is totally open to foreign trade and we have Foreign Trade Agreements with many large nations. So, competition is fierce in all markets and products. Duties are zero for many products and the average duty for imported products must be around 3% . There are exceptions. You need to study these regulations. The bottom line is that there is no protection from the government.
10. Finally to avoid bothering you more, our financial institutions are extremely conservative. So, as person, you will not be able to open a bank checking account for several years. Your company may get one, but the general manager and the legal representative having the signing authority must be Chileans. The same for the Chilean IRS, Central Bank, etc, because these institutions want to have a local signing, because if anything goes wrong, they will sue such person. Their history has also proven that when things fail, foreigners leave the country, so, they protect their interest, asking for Chileans as the signing person. It takes a time to have a proper VISA and the full capacity to act independently on your name. For these reason I advise foreigners to get in a partnership with a Chilean or be a passive investor for a time in a local business, until you gain a commercial and financial history locally, that definitely will entitle you to act fully just on your name.
Hope these suggestions may be of help.