MercadoLibre (MELI -0.97%) was already the e-commerce leader in Latin America, before its growth was accelerated by the pandemic. The company isn't letting up at all and has big plans for the future.
The e-commerce and digital payments powerhouse plans to double its workforce over the coming year, increasing its employee base to 32,000, up from 15,500 to close out 2020. Nearly 11,000 of the new staff will support its rapidly expanding fulfillment and delivery network, Mercado Envios, in a page taken directly out of the Amazon (AMZN -1.61%) playbook.
That's not all. Mexico was one of the company's largest growth markets last year, and MercadoLibre plans to spend heavily in the country to spur growth. The company plans to invest roughly $1.1 billion in Mexico in 2021, more than it spent there over the past four years combined, and nearly triple the $420 million it spent there in 2020.
MercadoLibre will invest heavily to increase its warehouse space, double the capacity of its inventory storage, and expand its logistics network. Combined, the moves will essentially double its fulfillment operations in the country. The company also plans to increase its fintech services and consumer credit availability in Mexico. The moves will combine to create an estimated 4,700 new jobs.
2020 was a breakout year for MercadoLibre. The company was well positioned for the lockdowns that resulted from the global pandemic, which helped spur significant growth in both digital payments and e-commerce. In the fourth quarter, revenue grew 149% year over year, but Mexico's contribution grew even faster, up 155%. At the same time, the number of items sold in Mexico surpassed MercadoLibre's home market of Argentina, as the company consistently ramped up its logistics and delivery operations in the country.