Harte-Hanks Launches Latin American IT Database

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LA JOLLA, CA -- Harte-Hanks added data from IT areas in eight Latin American countries -- Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela -- to its CI Technology Database this month.

The CI Database offers information on what companies plan to do and acquire in the high-tech arena. It was founded by Ziff-Davis, with Harte-Hanks acquiring the product several years ago.

To date, it has offered information on North America and Europe to 350,000 companies and expects to add data on 15,000 Latin American firms by the first half of next year.

"We started calling back in March and April," said Bob Brown, president of Harte-Hanks Market Intelligence. "We have a team of research professionals on the ground in Brazil and another one in San Diego to get the information.

"These are people who are trained in all IT areas, and they take companies through in-depth interviews of 25 to 30 minutes asking a series of detailed questions. From them, they build a technology profile for each firm interviewed.

"This is the first time data on planned IT investments in Latin America [have] been collected and offered to clients. We already have three or four charter subscribers who can scan the 2,500 companies on the site right now.

"Eventually we expect to get from 75 to 100 subscribers. In Europe we have 300. This type of database is very expensive to build, and we charge tens of thousands of dollars for the access."

Once data from 7,500 companies -- the target for this year -- are put on the database, "we'll start to slice and dice and offer subscribers pieces at more affordable cost," Brown said.

"Some may only be interested in Mexico, for example. But right now clients must buy the whole database. The data can be accessed through a browser on the Web or through CD-ROM.

"Our target audience is any supplier of IT products to companies as well as any organization in Latin America looking for a supplier."

The database, Brown added, "covers the entire IT market and includes information on systems and servers, e-business, PCs, software, LANs, networking, communications equipment and peripherals."

Harte-Hanks clearly believes that the Latin American market for IT will boom in the next few years. It cited a population growth of 8 percent between 2000 and 2005, with high-tech applications growing even more rapidly.

The number of PCs is projected to grow 17 percent by 2003, enabling 24 million Latin Americans to access the Internet. The Harte-Hanks Market Intelligence division is based in La Jolla.

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