Google announced on Thursday June 9 that it would invest $1.2 billion in Latin America to promote the region’s digital transformation and economic development.
As Bloomberg News reported, the funding will be used to support three major projects in the region: the submarine cable, hiring engineers, and digital wallets.
In a blog post, Google has pledged to launch an undersea cable – dubbed Firmina after Brazilian abolitionist Maria Firmina dos Reis – in 2023 to connect North and South America across the Atlantic Ocean. The company said it would improve internet in the region, with the cable – the longest in the world – running from the United States to Argentina, with stops in Brazil and Uruguay.
Additionally, Google said it would increase its engineering team in Brazil with a focus on security and privacy. The company opened its Latin American Engineering Center in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in 2005.
Finally, Google will launch Google Wallet — a digital wallet designed to compete with Apple Pay — in Brazil and Chile in the coming months. The company said it also plans to expand payment functionality on Android smartphones to other countries.
Additionally, $300 million of the funding will go to Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, which supports sustainability NGOs and economic opportunity for women, Bloomberg said.
Read more: Kushki CEO: Explosion of digital payments in Latin America requires new infrastructure
The investment comes at a time when Latin America is undergoing a digital transformation, as PYMNTS noted this week in our interview with Kushki’s CEO. Aron Schwarzkopf.
The value of digital transactions in the region exceeds $100 billion and will reach $175 billion by 2025 alone.
Latin America is facing double-digit inflation, which might suggest spending — in terms of transaction volume — would be reduced, but that’s not the case, Schwarzkopf said.
“Regardless of how inflation moves, demand for digital payments is growing at an all-time high because it was so behind the times,” he told Karen Webster of PYMNTS.