What happened

MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI), the Argentina-based company that has been a growing force in the rising e-commerce market, has been on an incredible run in the last few years. After today's strong first-quarter earnings release, the company jumped another 15% as of 2 p.m. EDT today.

So what

For the quarter, the company's sales surged 74%, year over year, to $273.9 million. Net income for the quarter also grew impressively -- up more than 60% to $1.10 per share, far ahead of analyst estimates around the high $0.70s. Unique buyers climbed 20% (to 13.3 million) -- a good number, and a sign that average customer spend is also growing nicely, since revenue growth far outpaced new customer growth.

A man and woman peer happily into a cardboard package delivery.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

People often call MercadoLibre the Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) of Latin America because of its rise as an e-commerce giant, and its bets on innovation to become more than just as a simple online shopping portal. Here's a look at how much smaller MercadoLibre is than Amazon, but why it could be poised for huge growth ahead:

CompanyDate of IPOTotal Sales, Most Recent QuarterYOY Sales Growth, Most Recent QuarterShare-Price Growth, Last 5 Years
Amazon 1997 $35.7 billion 23% 309%
MercadoLibre 2007 $273.9 million 74% 256%

IPO = Initial Public Offering. YOY = year over year. Data sources: Yahoo! Finance, company earnings reports.

Another very interesting part of MercadoLibre's potential growth is its payments portal, MercadoPago, which grew transaction volume 89% year over year while being adopted by more and more users as a secure way to pay online.

Whether it's from the growth in e-commerce across Latin America, or additional revenue streams from its investments such as MercadoPago, MercadoLibre continues to look like an incredible stock that could be like buying Amazon a decade ago.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.