Chile - Country Commercial Guide
Selling Factors and Techniques

Identifies common practices to be aware of when selling in this market, e.g., whether all sales material need to be in the local language.

Last published date: 2022-01-26

Trade Promotion and Advertising

Chile enjoys a free press and has a highly developed media market, though concentration is a problem. The 2021 World Press Freedom Index ranks Chile at 54 and notes that two companies, El Mercurio SAP and Grupo Copesa own about 95 percent of the print media, while Spanish company Prisa owns about 60 percent of radio stations. Broadcast media includes free-to-air broadcast television networks, cable and satellite TV, radios, newspapers, and magazines. Most advertising is handled by private agencies, the majority of which belong to the Chilean Association of Advertisement Agencies (ACHAP).   

Broadcast Media   

Chile has six broadcast television networks that include top rated TV station Mega, owned by local Bethia Group (72.5 percent) and by U.S. company Discovery Communications (27.5 percent). Chilevision, the second most popular TV station, is owned by ViacomCBS. WarnerMedia Latin owns CNN Chile. Canal 13, formerly Catholic University of Chile TV network, is now owned by businessman Andronico Luksic and airs T13, an increasingly popular network of news radio stations. The largest TV broadcaster TVN (Television Nacional de Chile) is state-owned but not publicly funded network and also operates 24Horas, a 24/7 cable news network.  Locally produced news, variety shows, and soap operas draw large prime time audiences on all networks.  

Paid television (cable and satellite) reach 57.3 percent of households nationwide, according to the Chile’s Under Secretary for Telecommunications regulatory agency (SUBTEL). The four major cable and satellite providers are VTR, Movistar, DirecTV, and Claro.  Combined, these operate in approximately 95 percent of the country’s territory.  All rebroadcast to local stations and carry a host of international channels.  Free-to-air broadcast TV stations such as TVN and Channel 13 each have a cable (paid) TV news channel.   

Radio  

Radio is the country’s most extensive and trusted news medium, especially in rural areas.  There are approximately 2,500 radio stations nationwide.  Ownership is concentrated in primarily three holdings: Grupo Bethia, Grupo Dial, and Iberoamericana Radio Chile (Spanish-owned Prisa), which holds the largest market share.   The leading radio stations in Chile are Radio Bio Bio, Radio Corazón, Carolina, and Pudahuel.

Print Media  

Chile has approximately fifty newspapers ranging from nationally distributed dailies to small-town tabloids. Santiago has nine major dailies.  Most dailies follow a conservative editorial line, with El Mercurio and La Tercera considered the leading newspapers. Publimetro is Chile’s leading free morning daily, boasting one of the highest readerships in the country. Emol, the internet affiliate of El Mercurio, and BioBioChile are two of the most popular online sources for news. Financial daily Diario Financiero is the only independent business newspaper after its main competitor, Pulso, was absorbed by La Tercera in May 2018. Chile’s consistently best investigative reporting is undertaken by the non-profit organization CIPER – the Centro de Investigación Periodistica, which only publishes online.  Grupo Copesa  partially subsidizes CIPER.    

Pricing

Pricing in Chile starts with a fairly straightforward formula based on CIF value: costs plus generally constant ship-to-warehouse expenses. Gross margins for consumer goods are generally 30 to 50 percent or more for direct sales to consumers, or 20 to 30 percent each for the importer/distributor and the retailer when a distribution chain is in place. The final price for mass-market items should be competitive with imports from Asia and/or Brazil. Higher-priced items must identify niche market segments in order to prosper. More specialized products are sold by stocking distributors or by commissioned agents who generally earn margins of 5 to 10 percent on their sales.

Under the U.S.-Chile FTA, tariffs were eliminated on most goods imported from the United States. However, all goods, both foreign and domestic, are subject to Chile’s value added tax (called “IVA” in Spanish), which has been 19 percent since October 1, 2003. Any tariff and value added tax is usually paid by the importer and not by the supplier. There are some exceptions:  government entities do not pay these taxes, and some luxury goods have higher tariffs.

Sales Service/Customer Support

Customer service and support are fundamental to successfully penetrating and retaining market segments for most products and services. Any product that requires operator training or needs after sales technical service must have, in effect, a qualified local company ready and able to assist the customer. Due to Chile’s relatively close-knit society, company reputations can be made or lost in a fairly short period of time.

Local Professional Services

Chile’s business environment and infrastructure are well-developed. There are many local companies that can provide professional services to U.S. firms.

The U.S. Commercial Service maintains a list of service providers that offer legal, financial, administrative/HR, transportation, hotel, consulting, and market research services. These firms provide support to companies initiating or expanding business in Chile. Please contact the U.S. Commercial for more information.

Principal Business Associations

An additional method vital to the success of conducting business in Chile is to contact the multitude of principle business associations. With information and expertise in the various business sectors, their insight can provide key assistance in launching an expansion into the Chilean market. Although their keen knowledge is an easily accessible resource, their ability to provide contacts in Chile can be equally as rewarding. Below, several principal business associations are listed along with their website addresses. Some of them are as follows:

· SOFOFA - Chilean Manufacturer’s Association

· Camara de Comercio Santiago – Santiago Chamber of Commerce

· Asexma - Chilean Exporters Association

· Sonami - National Mining Association

· ACTI - Chilean Association of Information Technology Companies

· Cif Chile - Chilean Chamber of Pharmaceutical Innovation

· Asilfa - Industrial Association of Pharmaceutical Labs

· Clinicas de Chile - Association of Private Clinics

· Anac - Chilean Automotive Association

· Carep - Chilean Chamber of Auto Parts

· CChC - Chilean Construction Chamber of Commerce

· Achiga - Chilean Association of Gastronomy

· Asipla - Association of Chilean Plastic Industry

· SNA - National Society of Agriculture

· CDT - Technological Development Corporation

· Asoex - Fruit Exporters Association

· Asimpres - Graphic Industry Association

· Camara Cosmetica - Chilean Chamber of Cosmetics Industry

· Chile Telecos – Association of Chilean Telecommunications Companies

Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services

There are no major limitations for U.S. products or services. However, when bidding through the government procurement agency, Chilecompra, U.S. companies must have a RUT (Chilean tax identification number) in order to get a RUT companies must contact the Chilean IRS equivalent, Servicio de Impuestos Internos (SII). In other words, U.S. companies must have a direct presence or a local representative in Chile in order to sell to the government.