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Technology boom puts China “a click away” from Chile

Photo by the Santiago Times. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

SANTIAGO, Jul 18, 2019, Xinhua. Though Chile and China are separated by the vast Pacific Ocean, they are now just a click away from each other, thanks to modern technology. Millaray Lezaeta, 28, is living proof that technological advances have brought the two countries closer together, reported the Xinhua.

Lezaeta is the local social media manager for China’s ride-hailing company DiDi Chuxing, which launched its operation in Chile in June. However, her exposure to Chinese society and goods doesn’t end there.

When she visits friends in the capital Santiago, she often rides one of the Chinese-made electric buses that form part of the city’s mass transit fleet.

At least once a month, she’s likely to make an online purchase through AliExpress, one of China’s popular e-commerce sites.

And she’s familiar with Chinese messaging apps, like WeChat, which lets users pay for purchases using their smartphones.

Her lifestyle and her daily encounter with products and services of Chinese origin reflect China’s growing presence in the South American country, and its “natural and quotidian” nature.

A journalist by training, Lezaeta said she didn’t hesitate to accept the “challenge” of working for a foreign company, since she was drawn to China’s technological development and work culture.

“For Asian companies, the number one priority is to offer their clients perfect service and a good user experience,” said Lezaeta.

The “increasingly strong” presence of Chinese brands in South America, she believes, has enriched regional economies and societies.

What’s more, she said, China’s growing cooperation in Latin America has brought the “democratization” of technology and its benefits, through electric vehicles, and smartphones and other electronic appliances made by such Chinese brands as Xiaomi and Huawei.

The more than 200 electric buses incorporated this year into Santiago’s mass transit network have been a hit with commuters, like Lezaeta, who prefers them because they are “comfortable, heated, environmentally friendly and silent.”

In the past, Chileans viewed Chinese products with some skepticism, as they were unsure of the quality, she recalled.

However, that has changed in recent years as those same Chinese companies have shifted their focus on quantity to quality and began “selling good products,” she said.

Her frequent use of AliExpress is proof of consumers’ confidence in today’s Chinese goods, she noted.

“I love it. I have used it to buy Christmas gifts, decorative items for my home, clothes, sheet covers, bedspreads, everything you can imagine,” said Lezaeta.

Given her positive work experience at DiDi Chuxing, Lezaeta is looking forward to having an opportunity to visit China.

“I would love to travel to China … I imagine I would see the world of the future, because Latin American countries still have a long way to go. If I go to China, I would see how the world is going to be in a few years: very technological and very busy,” she said.

by Valentina Bastias Atias

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