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Geography

Chile is a tricontinental country, the farthest south in the world. It is a narrow strip of land wedged between the Andean mountain range and the Pacific Ocean.
Deserts, mountains, lakes and glaciers are all part of Chile's fabulous geography - an elongated, tapered strip of land with towering Andean peaks and oceanic depths, extending from the Antarctic in the extreme south to the Atacama Desert, the most arid in world.Chile is the southernmost country in the world, in the extreme southwest of Latin America. Perhaps its most striking feature is that it is one of the longest and narrowest countries on the planet. It borders Peru in the north, Bolivia and Argentina in the east, the Antarctic in the south, and the Pacific Ocean in the west, along 4,300 kilometer-long coastline (2,700 mi). Its terrain is mountainous - no more than a fifth of the country's surface is flat. It is a tricontinental country because aside from the fact that its territory is on the American continent, it has sovereignty over the area between meridians 53° W and 90° W of the Antarctic; Rapa Nui or Easter Island in Polynesia, which has been Chilean territory since 1888; the Juan Fernandez Archipelago, which includes Robinson Crusoe, San Félix, San Ambrosio and Salas y Gómez Islands; and over its territorial seas or Exclusive Economic Zone, equivalent to 200 nautical miles.

Location on the Map

Chilean territory sprawls across the American continent from 17º30' latitude south, at its northernmost limit, until Diego Ramírez Islands, 56º30' latitude south on the southern portion of Latin America.The Chilean Antarctic territory includes the area framed by the meridians 53º and 90º longitude west up to the South Pole, 90º south. Its westernmost part is Easter Island, situated approximately at 27º latitude south and 109º longitude west.

Surface and Extension

The total surface of Chile is 756,950 square kilometers (292,183 sq mi), which grows by 1,250,000 square kilometers (480,000 sq mi) when one adds the Antarctic territory. Its total surface is 2,006,096 square kilometers (1,246,530 sq mi).

Relief and Diversity

Nature in all of its diversity seems to manifest in Chile. Millenary glaciers, salt gleaming white like snow, the most arid desert on the planet, forests, lakes, jungles and volcanoes shooting fumaroles up into the heavens. The country's continental territory from west to east is formed by the coastline which borders the Pacific Ocean, a coastal mountain range called the Cordillera de la Costa Coastal Range, the intermediate plains and valleys, and the majestic Cordillera de Los Andes the Andes Mountain Range.The coastline stretches almost 4,300 kilometers (2,700 mi). Several cities line it, such as Arica, Antofagasta and Valparaíso. Because of the Humboldt Current that originates in the Antarctic, the waters of the Pacific Ocean tend to be cooler farther to the south and center of the country, while towards the north their temperature rises as a result of the tropical currents. In the midst of the sea we find the Polynesian island of Easter Island or Rapa Nui, of volcanic origin that date back to the times of our planet's most remote antiquity. The gigantic Moais greet the visitor from their mysterious originary culture. The Juan Fernandez Archipelago guards its own secrets as well, and the story of Alexander Selkirk, the celebrated Scottish shipwreck who inspired Daniel Defoe's novel, Robinson Crusoe. One of the archipelago's islands is called, precisely, Robinson Crusoe Island. The Coastal Range rises in the vicinity of Arica and extends to the Taitao Peninsula in Patagonia. It is broken up in its longitudinal extension by rivers that disgorge in the sea It reaches its maximum 3,000 meter (9,842 feet) altitude to the south of Antofagasta, in the Sierra Vicuña Mackenna (Vicuña Mackenna Range). Between the Coastal Range and the Andes lies the intermediate depression, formed by transversal valleys and plains. The landscape and climate in this depression is extremely diverse. The north is characterized by desert zones, and the south by forests and lakes, the largest of the latter being Lago Llanquihue. The main cities are found in the so-called intermediate depression, flat areas favorable for urban growth.

The Andes

The imposing Cordillera de Los Andes is a kind of backbone of Chile's territory. It is the continuation of a mountain range that emerges in Colombia and that, between the north of Chile and Santiago, attains an average height of 5,000 meters (16,404 feet) above sea level. South of Santiago it begins to descend until it vanishes in the continent's extreme south. It rises up again in the Antarctic, where it is called the Antartandes or the Antarctic Andes. Its most outstanding peaks are located in the north and center of Chile. These are the volcanoes called Llullaillaco, 6,739 meters high (22,109 feet); Ojos del Salado, the highest volcano in the planet at 6,893 meters (22,614 feet); Tres Cruces, 6,749 meters (22,142 feet); and Cerro Tupungato 6,635 meters (21,678 feet). In the extreme south the Patagonian Andes emerge, whose most outstanding peaks are the renowned and beautiful horns of Torres del Paine and Mount Fitz Roy.

The people of Chile

The people of Chile are very diverse. The culture and identity are fruits of the relationship between the aboriginal people of Chile and its immigrants.

The native communities of Chile began intermarrying with the Spanish colonizers in the early 16th century, and later with those who arrived from other nations of Europe and Asia. Together they formed a hybrid racial diversity that today numbers over 16 million Chileans.

Language

Spanish is Chile's official language of Chile, though Mapudungun (Mapuche Indians), Rapa Nui (Easter Islanders), Aymara, Quechua (Inca) and Alacalufe (Kaweshkar Indians) are also spoken.

Population

In 2002, when the most recent Census was taken, Chile's total population was 15,116,435. The estimate for 2009 is 16.9 million, with 86.6% of the inhabitants living in urban areas. Of these, 6.8 million live in the Santiago Metropolitan Region, the country's capital.

Religion

The Chilean State is secular and tolerant and religious freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution. Official 2002 Census data show that almost 90% of Chileans older than 15 years profess a religious faith; the remainder respond that they have no religion, are atheists or agnostics. Of those who have a religion, 70% are Roman Catholic, 15.1 % Evangelists, and the remaining 4.4% are divided among various other faiths.

Ethnic Groups

Close to 4.6 % of Chile's inhabitants or about 700,000 people consider themselves as belonging to different ethnic minorities. The Mapuches are the most numerous and live in the south and in Santiago. The Aymaras and Atacameños come from the north, the Rapa Nui live on Easter Island, and the Alacalufes and Yámanas live in the far south.Mapuche: 87,31%Aymara: 7,01%Atacameño: 3,04%Quechua: 0,89%Rapanui: 0,67%Alacalufe (Kawesqar): 0,38%Colla: 0,46%Yámana: 0,24%.

Immigrants

The first Spaniards arrived in the mid-16th century and were followed two centuries later, with the encouragement and support of the Republic, by German, Croatian, French, Italian and British immigrants. The 20th century brought Asian immigrants and European refugees as a result of World War II. In recent decades, the country's economic growth has also attracted Argentineans, Peruvians and Ecuadorians.Chile's multicultural diversity becomes apparent as one travels through the country. In the extreme south, Croatian traditions persist until the present. Capitán Pastene, in the Region of La Araucanía, is a small typically Italian town that was founded by Italian immigrants in the late-19th century. Bavarian-style architecture and gastronomy express the German influence in Frutillar and Puerto Varas. The sports world is no stranger to this pluralism, and among the soccer clubs competing in the professional soccer league are the Club Palestino, Audax Italiano and Unión Española, representing their respective "colonias" or immigrant collectives.

Chilean "patiperros"

The Chilean expression "patiperro" is used to describe a tireless traveler. Chileans are found in all corners of the world. According to the official census of 2005, 6% of the total population, around 875,000 people, reside abroad. About half of this number live in neighboring Argentina, 113,000 in the United States, and 42,000 in Sweden. The military coup in 1973 forced thousands of Chileans into exile, but the coup hasn't been the main reason behind emigration - financial, professional and family reasons have been equally influential.

Literature and poetry

Chilean writers create and recreate the world from a village that makes them universal. Two Nobel Prizes confirm this.
Chile's writers create and recreate the world from a country described for the first time by Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, chronicler of the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. His master work, the epic poem La Araucana, tells in perfect hendecasyllabic verses: "Chile, province fertile and marked / in the famed region of Antarctica / by remote nations respected / for its strength, nobility, and power".Four centuries later, the poets Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda each won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The greatest award in the global world of letters recognized Latin America's voice in the work of these Chilean poets and the deepest dreams and values of humanity.

From Orality to Writing

It is often claimed that Chile was invented by a poet, in reference to La Araucana, which was partially published for the first time in 1569 in Madrid. The text describes the war between the Mapuche Indians and the conquistadors, the character of the indigenous inhabitants and the lush natural beauty that Ercilla y Zúñiga encountered. Writing was not, however, the first to arrive. For the Mapuche Indians who inhabited the land before the arrival of the Spaniards, the language was rooted in oral and not written traditions. Poetry was a part of war oratory and funeral or religious rituals. Upon the arrival of the Europeans, colonial literature was developed by Spaniards and by Creoles, who were those born in Chile.

Land of Poets

"Chile, land of poets," as the popular saying goes that is seemingly confirmed by its two Nobel Prize winners. And should there be any doubters, various other authors have contributed with their works to prove it. For example, Vicente Huidobro (1893-1948), a member of the European vanguard in Paris in the early years of the 20th century, founder of Creationism together with French poet Pierre Reverdy. "Why do you sing to the rose, oh poets! / Make the rose bloom in your poems," Huidobro proposed. Among the diverse group of Chilean authors, Nicanor Parra (1914) stands out as the creator of Anti-Poetry, incorporating colloquial language, irony and a tone that distances itself from solemnity. There is also Gonzalo Rojas (1917), in whose texts sensuality and eroticism are frequent themes. Both Parra and Rojas have achieved international recognition in recent decades. The poets who began publishing their work in the second half of the 20th century are in a special category of their own. Enrique Lihn (1929-1988) and Jorge Teillier (1935-1996) are two of the most outstanding of their generation. The poets of the 1960's belong to "the generation decimated" by the military coup, some of whom suffered imprisonment and exile. In the 1980's, during the military dictatorship, the so-called "Generation NN" [NN = No Name] emerged, in a clear reference to their anonymity and secrecy. During these years a powerful feminine and feminist voice began to be heard, at the same time as Mapuche poetry arrived from the south, transitioning from ancestral oral tradition toward what was now named "oraliture."

Prose Narrative

The books of Roberto Bolaño are found today in bookstores around the world. The work of this Chilean author who died in 2003 has been especially well received in Spain and the United States, the latter being where his work has received critical praise following his death. Los detectives salvajes and 2666 are his most important novels, which reflect a more urban and cerebral Latin American reality than that expressed by the writers of magical realism. Isabel Allende, an internationally acclaimed author for, among others, her novels The House of the Spirits, Eva Luna and Portrait in Sepia, has sold over 35 million copies worldwide. Presently, Bolaño and Allende are probably the two most recognized Chilean authors. esta oración no existe en el español.The origins of Chilean literature date back four centuries, from the chronicles of the Indies. These foundational texts contain the testimonies of travellers who, without knowing it, set down the foundations of the prose that originated Chile's prose narrative and essay. The first and most important work in this genre was published in 1644 by the Jesuit priest Alonso de Ovalle and was entitled, Histórica relación del reino de Chile (Historical Account of the Kingdom of Chile). The book Cautiverio feliz (Happy Captivity), by in 1673 by a Creole named Francisco Núñez de Pineda y Bascuñán is considered the first Chilean novel. Although Recuerdos del pasado (Reminiscences of the Past) by Vicente Pérez Rosales was a literary milestone of the 19th century, the first generation of Chilean narrative prose writers was criollista or costumbrista, interpreting the local everyday life and customs of Hispanic colonial society, whose most notable exponent was Manuel Rojas (1896 - 1973), author of the novel Hijo de ladrón (Thief's Son). With the generation from the 1950's, the new wave of Chilean narrative comes to the forefront, with José Donoso and María Luisa Bombal as its main exponents. Surrealistic themes run through their works, notably Donoso's El obsceno pájaro de la noche (The Obscene Night Bird) by Donoso, and Bombal's La última niebla (The Last Fog). The 1960's was the stage for a new generation of prose writers whose works dealt primarily with cosmopolitan urban themes and issues of social commitment. Antonio Skármeta and Poli Délano are the referents of this wave. The 1970's ushered in a period in which the Chilean novel and short story also run the gauntlet of political and social change, overcoming limitations and censorship. The winds of change made themselves felt in the 1990s, new works and names joining a solid tradition of writers - a tradition whose first, tentative steps were taken four centuries before. Luis Sepúlveda, Hernán Rivera Letelier, Ramón Díaz Eterovic, Gonzalo Contreras, Pedro Lemebel, Alejandro Zambra, Carla Guelfenbein, Marcela Serrano, Jaime Collyer, Pablo Azócar and Alejandra Costamagna are just some of the many outstanding Chilean narrative Chilean narrative writers of today.

Science and technology in Chile

The influence of government, private investment, and professional talent lend prestige to scientific work in Chile
A research study led by two Chilean women received significant attention in early 2009 for their advances. Their most recent collaboration focused on improving the treatment options for children that suffer from a rare and deadly degenerative condition named Niemann-Pick Type C. After publishing the results in a highly regarded global journal, the researchers, Álvarez and Zanlungo, have professed a new objective: to develop treatments for illnesses like Alzheimer's disease in their research facilities in Santiago. These women prove that, in Chile, such scientific potential exists. Álvarez and Zanlungo's expanded vision is more than just wishful thinking. Other recent projects support this culture of scientific and medical progress. Such research includes advances in healing skin burns, cancer diagnosis and treatment, and melanoma vaccines. At the same time, the Chilean researcher Pablo Valenzuela has made tremendous contributions by developing a hepatitis-B vaccine and discovering the hepatitis-C virus. He has also headed an international team that clones and sequences the HIV genome. Other notable advances include creating insulin from yeast cultures for diabetics. The contributions made by Valenzuela were recognized in his receipt of the National Applied Science Award in 2002. The most recent recipient of this award was Miguel Aguilera for his contributions to gastronomic engineering and functional food research, including enriched milk, probiotics, and antioxidants. Seismologist Edgar Kausel also received this award for his development of a set of standards, guidelines, and regulations of Chilean building design. The impact of his work has been huge in the sense that it allows one of the most seismically active countries in the world much more latitude in construction. As a result, more ambitious projects can be safely built in a country that, in 1960, suffered the most powerful earthquake recorded history in Valdivia. The earthquake registered an estimated 9.5 on the Richter scale. Another award that is similar to the one discussed above is the Exact Science National Awards. Two of its past recipients, Miguel Kiwi and Rafael Benguria, made important advancements in different areas. Miguel Kiwi was recognized for his research in solid physics and what is known as Exchange Bias Theory. Rafael Benguria is often noted for his publications in the journal Annals of Mathematics, as well as, discoveries for how vibration can determine the geometric properties of objects and matter.

Challenge

The influence of government, private investment, and professional talent lend prestige to scientific work in Chile. An important objective of the Chilean economy is to evolve from a production and natural resource export model to a model that integrates competitive advantages through its own technological advances. To reach this goal, it is essential to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. The investment by large corporations in human capital supports this development process in both academic and industrial contexts. The economy and society continues to benefit from this investment in the long-term as it achieves higher levels of development. The Chilean government agrees with this argument and has defined the support of science, technologies, and innovation as key tasks. For example, it has more than doubled public investment in these areas from $240 million in 2005 to $525 million in 2009. In 2010 - Chile's bicentennial - the country plans to have completed 17 world class research centers throughout the country. This includes Fraunhofer German Research Center, which will contribute in the development of renewable energy, nano and biotechnologies, and agriculture. Also in 2010, according to a document published by Science and Organization History, 27 technological and business consortiums will have been created, which will include a $9.5 million investment in scientific equipment.

Governmental support

Through a well-defined policy of scientific support, various government agencies have been increasing their financial support of both students and specific projects. The policy has extended to other areas where joint programs have grown in both size and complexity. Furthermore, the government is investigating different tax incentive schemes to promote private investment as well as research & development. The National Scientific and Technological Investigation Commission (Conicyt) is an important part of this process. This governmental institution has supported the development of human capital and excellence in research for over 40 years in areas that have a high impact on domestic growth. Conicyt also has a program that targets students pursuing postgraduate degrees in Chile and abroad, as well as, funds available for ground level research. Between 2006 and 2009, funding increased 120% for the development of the National System of Science, Technology, and Innovation. In 2009, the institution provided more than $250 million in research funding. Other funds for science and technology have also increased 54% since 2005, while investment in training and education has increase almost fivefold to $93 million. After assuming the presidency, Michelle Bachelet turned to the National Innovation and Competitiveness Advisory Board to design a national strategy. Together with her administration, the board mapped 11 of the most productive sectors and clusters where opportunities are expected to emerge over the coming decade. The group also defined a strategy for human, business innovation, and science capital in order to "to accomplish tasks on time and in harmony, having as clear objective how the private sector can maximize its potential." Another government body, the National Congress, has been discussing the formation of a new institution linked to both innovation and law. One of its objectives would be separate the availability of resources from Chile's annual budget. A third crucial part of the national effort is the government economic development agency known as Corfo. The agency includes over 50 different types of support for projects in Chile, as well as, in other parts of the world. At the beginning of 2009, while celebrating its 70th anniversary, Corfo announced the disbursement of $700 million in credits and subsidiaries. This includes support of over 80,000 companies, as well as, $200 million in venture capital funding.

Connectivity

Chile places third in world rankings of technological, land, air, and maritime connectivity.
Due to its geographic location at the extreme south of the planet, Chile challenges distance in its attempt to communicate with the rest of the world. The connectivity and foreign trade constitute an unarguable priority. It is not by chance that the country stands out for the efficiency of its modern infrastructure and network of telecommunications. These two factors have allowed foreign exchange to surpass US$ 129 billions in 2008, transforming foreign commerce into an authentic mode of growth and development, 69 % of the GDP. According too a recent Connectivity Scorecard 2009 study conducted Nokia, Chile places third in connectivity rankings among the economies based on resources and efficiency, surpassing Russia, India and all the countries of Latin America. Some interesting facts: In Chile, there are almost as many mobile phones as inhabitants. Chileans frequent Internet social networks more than any other countries and, when they drive their automobiles on the new urban highways of Santiago, they use a modern system of automatic pay for tolls, one of the first ones of the world that operates with transmitters or transponders.

Telecommunications

The Chilean community is 16 million inhabitants and there are 14.8 million subscribers to mobile phones. This level of penetration exceeds all other countries in Latin America. One of every two Chileans commonly used Internet in 2008 (48%), an amount equivalent to European countries like the Czech Republic and Hungary. The country is one of the world leaders in using Facebook and broadband use is comparable to developed countries. 32% of the homes have broadband.Along with the massive growth of social networks, the utilization of new forms of payment has also increased. The volume of electronic transactions will surpass the US$ 400 million in 2009. Unlike mobile phones, the number of landline telephones remained relatively constant during 2001, with a total of 3.5 million lines throughout the country. In January 2009, the Subsecretary of Telecommunications reported 1.47 million subscribers to paid television, 32.8% of households had pay-TV subscription.

Commercial Air Activity

At the beginning of 2009, AméricaEconomía magazine polled a group of 1500 top executives, who claimed that the Santiago airport was the second best in the region, only surpassed by Miami. In addition to the Santiago airport, constructed in 1994 and given the name Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez, there are 13 other air terminals throughout the country, including Easter Island. Around 20 international airlines operate from Chile with more than 30 direct flights to places around the world. LAN is the biggest Chilean Airline in the country. It forms alliances with Oneworld and has connections with other Latin American countries, North America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Europe. Sky Airline is another important national operator and offers flights throughout Chile and to other countries. During 2009, 9.7 million passengers were transported by air, 50.9% of which were international. According to the Civil Aeronautics Board, domestic air traffic grew 16.5% compared to last year. Air freight reached 282 thousand tons, with destinations as diverse as Miami, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Lima and Atlanta.

Highway System

A consistent alliance between the State and private enterprise, through a system of innovative concessions, has made the modernization and improvement of a large highway system possible. 80 thousand kilometers (50 thousand miles) wide and long connect Arica to Quellón in Chiloé. In the south part of Chile, the Austral Highway joins the city of Puerto Montt with the town of O'Higgins in the Patagonia..The Government Program Infraestructura para la Competitividad (Infrastructure for the Competitiveness), allocated in 2007 alone, through the Department of Public Works, US$ 780 thousand million for the conservation and restoration of highways, increased road capacity, and better accesses to tourist zones, among other projects. The city of Santiago, country capital, is equipped with a modern system of highways. There are 155 kilometers (96 miles) of high speed roads with a free flow system of automatic tolls, facilitated by an electronic device attached to the windshield of every vehicle. The devise is known as the Televía.

Rail System

There are six rail systems, managed by the State Railroad Company (EFE), that transport passengers to the central zone of the country. The most extensive joins the 400 kilometers (248 miles) that separate Santiago from the city of Chillán. The most populated cities have modern train or subway systems. The Santiago metro transports 2.5 million people per day, through five lines and 90 stations. En total there are almost 85 kilometers (52 miles) of lines under and above ground. At the end of 2010 eleven new stations will be brought on line, and the total extension will exceed 100 kilometers (62 miles). The Valparaíso metro, Merval, has 20 stations that unite the port city with the town Limache, which is 43 kilometers (26 miles) away. Concepción's Biotrain crosses the city from northeast to southwest, offering two lines and 23 stops, covering 50 kilometers (31 miles).

Port Infrastructure

With the exception of Santiago, all of the regions of Chile have important marine terminals, administered by the state or private corporations. About 80% of the country's foreign commerce circulates through the ports. Statistical data from the Economic Commission for Latin America (Cepal), place Chile, along side Colombia, in fourth place among the countries with major port movement in the region, topped by only Brasil, Mexico, and Argentina. According to the information from the Chamber of Marine and Ports of Chile, 83 million tons of cargo of all types were circulated through the ports in 2007, which represents a growth of 10,4 % compared to the previous period. Only 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Santiago, the ports of Valparaiso and San Antonio, the latter being the principal port in Chile, control the bulk of the activity and have been recognized among the ten principal port terminals of Latin America.

Chilean television

The adoption of the Japanese digital television standard promises to revolutionize an industry that is in good health and has competitive actors.
Open-air television will continue to be the most popular communications media in Chile, where the recent adoption of the Japanese digital standard is expected to make it stronger in the coming years. Local university channels founded back in the 50s that are still mainstream, a State signal which became a model of efficiency and private channels which came in for their slice of the pie share the electromagnetic spectrum. All together, there are six domestic public television channels, with their signals reproduced in the paid cable TV system and the Internet. TV host Mario Kreutzberger, Don Francisco, is undeniably the most visible local TV personality. Created in 1962 at Canal 13 studios in Santiago, his program Sábado Gigante has a Guinness world record as the longest-running TV variety show. The program has been produced by Univisión in the US city of Miami since the mid-80s and the program is broadcasted throughout all of Latin America. Other local production flagship products are journalism programs based on social realities that have helped to unmask several criminals. The most renowned of these programs, which have been copied by other channels, are Informe Especial, running for the last 25 years, and Contacto, aired since 1991. Over the last decade, the media have included performers, athletes and models, among others, in the local jet set. This content drew audience attention and has led to important repercussions in both the written press and TV. Something similar happened since 2003 with the first reality shows, which currently add up to over one dozen programs. Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN) has been on the air since 1969 and evidences a unique management model (self-financing and a leading position in terms of audience and advertising) as an autonomous State-owned public company, whose board of directors is appointed by the President of the Republic. The channel's soap operas have been exported to other countries and the format for some of its programs, such as the talent show Rojo, has been licensed for other Latin American countries. Its international channel (TV Chile) was broadcast to the rest of the world for the first time in 1989. This channel can currently be viewed as part of the pay TV systems in several countries and also on the Internet. The channel also has an exclusive branch for news, which can currently only be viewed on cable TV. Managed by Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), Canal 13 has been broadcasting since 1959 and underwent its acid test with the transmission of the World Soccer Cup held in Chile three years later, coinciding with the Sábado Gigante premiere. The company also has a second cable TV channel and a third 24-hour online news channel. A third domestic TV actor is Chilevisión, founded in 1960 under the wing of Universidad de Chile. Since 1993, the channel was owned by the Venezuelan group Cisneros (associated to Venevisión), the Claxson consortium and currently by the national entrepreneur and politician Sebastián Piñera. The first TV station was Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (UCV TV), which started broadcasting in 1957 and is currently the only nationwide broadcast station located out of Santiago. 23 October 1990 marked the appearance of MEGA as the first strictly privately-owned public television channel, economically and strategically backed by Televisa, which chose to sell its stake in the company in 1999. The channel is currently owned by the Claro group, the same company controlling Diario Financiero and Compañía Sudamericana de Vapores, among other companies. The second privately-owned television channel in Chile appeared one year later, La Red. The company has been owned by Copesa (which publishes La Tercera newspaper) and by TV Azteca. It is presently managed by Alba Communications Group, a consortium with its main office in Cleveland (USA), associated to Mexican entrepreneur Ángel González. Free VHF format channels are also located in Santiago: Telecanal, Más Canal 22 and LivTV.

10 reasons to do business in Chile

Stable Economy

The good performance of the Chilean economy is one of the major qualities that Invest Chile highlights.
According to the latest Business Environment rankings for 2008-2012 published by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Chile currently occupies the 20th place among the most attractive countries to do business, on the basis of an environment formed by the 82 best economies in the world.Chile's position, with respect to attractiveness for investment, clearly exceeds that of all other countries in Latin America, in all of the dimensions under evaluation. The country was also ahead of Japan, Spain, Poland and South Korea, among others.This is due to a constant average economic growth of 5% per year in the last decade, the exceptional levels of macroeconomic stability reached by the country, a solid financial system, low inflation, low debt in relation to the Internal Gross Product (4,1 % of the GDP), a healthy budgetary surplus (4,7 % of the GDP), stable change and almost no political risk.

World Class Connectivity

Chile's modern telecommunications infrastructure stands out in the region.
In digital aptitude ratings provided by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in 2006, Chile was identified as the most digitized market in Latin America, highlighting the fact that its penetration rates for both broadband and mobile phones are by far the highest in Latin America.According too a recent Connectivity Scorecard 2009 study conducted Nokia, Chile places third in connectivity rankings among the economies based on resources and efficiency, surpassing Russia, India and all the countries of Latin America. Chile is connected to three international fiber optic networks, has high-speed DSL and cable modem access to the Internet, in addition to LMDS technology.With an infrastructure capable of generating 45 million simultaneous cell phone calls, Chile has a competitive and accessible market of telecommunications with millions of users. In its latest ranking of the best cities in which to do business in Latin America, the AméricaEconomía magazine considered Santiago the city with the second most competitive telecommunications network, just behind Buenos Aires.

Skilled Human Resources

Competitive costs and skilled professionals are some of the advantages that Chile offers to foreign companies settled in the country.
Chile has several of the best business schools in Latin America and, in general, it has achieved very high educational standards. For example, the Catholic University of Chile (UC) ranked second in the ranking on "The best Latin American Business Schools - 2009," created by the magazine América Economía. The country also has a modern higher education system and since 1990 the number of young people at university has risen from 10 per cent to 40 per cent. Some of the countries universities are among the 350 best of the world, according to the Times Higher Education - 2008 QS World University Rankings.The Chilean government puts emphasis on English learning and it has created a National Registry of English speakers that can be used by potential employers. Although the Chilean workforce is recognized as one of the most capable of Latin America, its competitive labor costs are lower than in North America and Europe.Companies that relocate their operations to Chile can reach cost savings of up to 60% on the gross salaries in Information Technology. The absenteeism and rotation of personnel is low, which guarantees efficiency and allows management to centre its attention on productivity.

Competitive Business Costs

Chilean cities are well-evaluated when it comes to consider conditions for doing business and costs of transfers, among others.
En its latest ranking of the best cities in which to do business in Latin America, the AméricaEconomía magazine placed Santiago secod in the region, behind Sao Paulo and ahead of Miami.This study, in combination with other analysis done by the World Economic Forum, UBS and CB Richard Ellis Global Research & Consulting, based in the United States, has continuously positioned the capital of Chile, and Chile in general, as one of the most competitive locations to establish international corporations in terms of cost of doing business- including taxes- availability of office space, workforce, telecommunications, and transfer costs.Chile remains on top of the global competitiveness index when it comes to Latin America. In the general ranking (2008) by the World Economic Forum, Chile placed 28th, ahead of Spain, China, the Czech Republic and Italy among other countries. Chile remains on top of the global competitiveness index when it comes to Latin America. In the general ranking by the World Economic Forum, Chile placed 28th, ahead of Spain, China, the Czech Republic and Italy among other countries. This index considers institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and primary education, higher education and training, technological readiness among other pillars.

Exceptional Quality of Life

Santiago has one of the best standard of living in the region and stands also out for its low crime rates and an exciting mix of sports and recreational activities.
According to a survey on quality of life done by the Intelligence Unit of The Economist in 2009 Santiago placed second in Latin America and 64 among 140 cities in the world. Along with the low costs and high quality of homes, and high quality and cheap education, Chile offers part of the best medical infrastructure in the region.It also boasts a safe and extensive banking system, as well as excellent commercial and leisure installations. Additionally, it has the lowest crime rate in Latin America. The business magazine AméricaEconomía showed a homicide rate of only 1.99 per 100,000 inhabitants, by far the lowest of the 18 biggest cities in the region. Within the global context, it is a very economical city.In the latest rankings of Mercer Human Resource Consulting on the most expensive cities to live, Chile's capital placed 128th worldwide of a range of 143 cities (where 1 represented most expensive).

Access to World Markets

With 21 trade agreements signed, Chile is an open and internationally connected economy.
As a result of numerous free trade agreements, corporations in Chile enjoy the privilege- in many cases, with no tariffs- of accessing markets with almost 4,000 million consumers around the world.Responding to this opportunity, a growing number of companies, like British-Dutch Unilever, Swiss Nestle, German Beiersdorf, and the computer company controlled by Japanese capital Packard Bell, are taking advantage of the facilities granted by Chile to export to other markets in the Latin American region and the rest of the world.The use of Chile as a springboard for regional operations has spurred the creation of new jobs, an increase in the use of sophisticated technology in the country and an increase service exports.There are also less tangible benefits in the form of knew knowledge and technological transferences. It is a virtuous circle that favors the development of Chile, and benefits its foreign partners.

Government Support

Chile offers investment incentives and government programs to those who are interested in investing in the country.
Chile does not use utilize subsidies to support business activities or attract investment. However, any investor, local or foreign, can access incentives for investments in specific areas of the country- remote regions that suffer from the decline of key industries- or for new sectors.In that sense, the Chilean government looks to position Chile as a platform of business intensive in technology, for which a series of credit lines, subsidies, and bonuses are generated and channeled through the Corporación de Fomento (Corfo, economic development agency). It was in support of this objective that the InvestChile program was launched under the sponsorship of the Ministerio de Economía (Department of Commerce) and in coordination with the Comité de Inversiones Extranjeras (CIE) (Committee of Foreign Investments).A National Cluster Program has also begun to develop, with the objective of propelling innovation and strengthen the sectors with high growth potential. The first five clusters are in the areas serviCes, food, mining, special interest tourism, and agriculture.

Low Corporate Tax

The taxes in Chile are the lowest in Latin America and well below many European countries.
In Chile the tax of 17% that applies to companies is less than is charged in most of the European economies and the lowest in Latin America. This privileged tax status is a big incentive for investment.Additionally, Chile has negotiated bilateral double taxation agreements based on the following criteria:-A current free trade agreement.-A flow of substantial capital and technology from or to Chile.-The attractiveness of an economy to develop business, for Chileans and foreigners. -A strategic interest in the region.With a double taxation agreement, only one of the states is granted the power to impose taxes on revenue or the patrimony of the company. Today Chile has agreements with 19 countries, among which are countries like Canada, Brazil, France, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain and the United Kingdom. Negotiations also exist with China, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States, among others.

Freedom of Growth

Chile is one of the freest economies of the planet and the regulatory system is not discriminatory to foreign investment.
80% of the Chilean economy is free. In the Index of Economic Freedom World Rankings by Heritage Foundation, Chile placed 11th of 179 countries.The transparency of the Chilean government and the role of non-interference guarantees freedom to businesses and individuals, foreign or local, to determine the nature of its business activities.The Chilean regulatory system is non-discriminatory and ensures the right to private property. Furthermore, private activity has reached the farthest corners of most industries, and Chilean authorities now encourage private investment in public services and infrastructure. As a result, the Chilean model of free enterprise and free and open markets have created a dynamic economic growth.

Solid Institutions

Political and economic stability characterized the development of Chile in the last two decades.
Since the restoration of democracy in 1990, Chile has maintained an exemplary track record with respect to its adherence to democratic rules. The low political risk, the strength of its institutions, and the stability of its rules of the game have resulted in exceptional macroeconomic performance in Chile, and created one of the best environments in the region and the world to do business.This has further strengthened the country's resilience to economic cycles.Investors and individuals who are established in Chile also have a regulatory environment that ensures equal treatment for investment in almost all sectors, except those who have a strategic character, as well as good standards of public safety and very limited levels of public and private corruption.The International Studies Center Policy Network highlighted Chile as having the best Institutional Quality Index (ICI) in Latin America, placing it 24th in the ranking among 191 nations.

Creating a company in Chile

How to start a business, a branch or operate using representatives. Investchile.com has the answers.
Companies can feasibly operate in Chile by means of several venues described at Investchile.com, the official website for the Chilean State Development Corporation (Corfo). - Choosing a representative: an individual or corporate investor who does not have legal domicile or residence in the country can operate by means of a person or corporation established in the territory. The delegate will act on behalf and at risk of the foreigner by means of a contract whose provisions the parties are free to establish.- Creating a local branch or agency for the foreign company without residency in the country, a formula which can be established by appointing an agent or legal representative and formulating all documentation in the company's original language and in Spanish. A notarized summary of this information must be presented before the Commercial Registry and the Official Gazette within 60 days. - Founding a collective corporation, with a minimum two partners or shareholders who sign a notarized deed, each of whom manage the company or delegate said power to a representative. Each partner will be responsible according to his or her investment. - Founding a company, an open or closed corporation, managed by a board of directors whose members are appointed by the shareholders and replaced when these deem the same necessary. Shareholder responsibility shall be determined by their investment. This shall be controlled by the Superintendence of Securities and Insurance (SVS).The latter two alternatives shall be established using notarized documentation, a summary of which shall be presented at the Commercial Registry and Official Gazette within 60 days. - Limited liability company and joint stock company: these companies are legal entities with their own assets and liabilities independent of the owner of the same, who may be a Chilean or a foreign individual. These may be founded by means of public deed and in conformity with the corresponding legal provisions. As usual, a summary of the company's documentation must be presented before the Commercial Registry and published in the Official Gazette.- Association: there are no legal restrictions for creating a corporation between two persons or entities with joint operations. Operations will be subject to accounting and both profits and losses will be divided between the parties.

Chile, an open economy

With more than 20 free trade agreements, the Chilean economy is one of the most liberalized in the world.
Chile, a country that is geographically distant from major political and economic centers, consistently expands its international presence. Presently, it is the nation that has signed the most trade agreements in the world. There are currently more than 20 of such agreements, signed with 56 other countries or blocs including the US, EU, Japan and China. These agreements are the products of a process that began three decades ago to open the country to trade with all continents. This process has transformed Chile into one of the most advanced and attractive trading partners.30 years of developmentChile is a country that is clearly in tune with the international markets. Today, exports represent almost 45% of GDP. This means that, in a 12 month period, almost half of Chile's production is sold abroad.This open approach to global trade has been developing for more than 30 years. In the early stages, the process developed in the framework of unilateral or existing multilateral relationships. With the return of democracy in 1990, the new government adopted strategies that emphasized such relationships with other countries under the premise that such agreement are crucial components to generating economic growth, employment, wealth, and social development.Since then, expansion of such policies has been included in specific agreements like Partial Reach, ACE, economic association, and Free Trade Agreements. Under these policies, Chile has opened its domestic market to a wide range of foreign products. Even though the import fee for such products is officially 6%, it averages only 1%. In fact, some items enter for free under certain international agreements.Reciprocally, Chile has obtained preferential access to goods, services, and capital in major global markets.Also, this success has allowed Chile to enjoy favorable treatment in political and jurisdictional international regulations. This treatment extends to other fields that are not strictly commercial like environment, sanitation, intellectual property and safety.

Taxes

Chile has the lowest business and corporate taxes in Latin America. Find out about the tax framework.
One of the advantages of investing in Chile is the legal and tax framework that applies to foreign investors. In general, the framework is transparent, nondiscriminatory, and predictable.From a tax standpoint, Chile has an attractively low corporate marginal tax rate. The tax on businesses of 17% is less than comparable rates in the majority European countries and the lowest in Latin America.Additionally, the Chilean tax system is efficient, has a low rate of evasion, and offers various incentives to investors, international businesses, and cross border services. In addition, the internal tax administration service (SII) operates with a high level of transparency. This is demonstrated in its pioneering use of the internet to deliver the annual tax declaration, as well as, the high quality of information available to businesses.The impact of taxes on Chilean residents and resident aliensIn Chile, residents and resident aliens must pay taxes on all income regardless of whether it originates in Chile or abroad.The business tax of 17% on net income is the lowest in Latin America.Individuals pay a progressive tax of between zero and 40% on total income minus required pension contributions and health insurance.Resident aliens: are all foreigners that demonstrate an intention of residing in ChileResidents: are those individuals that reside for more than 6 months continuously or for a total of at least 6 months during a two-year period.

Labor laws in Chile

The Chilean labor market combines workers' protection with the freedom to do business.
The labor market in Chile has evolved over the last decade and is characterized by a spirit of protecting the employee, while still providing the necessary freedom to do business.The laws establish the margins by which employers and employees can form labor relations, with only a part left to free will.Important aspects of the labor lawsThe spirit of the labor legislation followed in Chile aims to assure the cooperation between the employees and their employers. The system considers aspects such as the freedom to hire, the duration of the working day, vacation and holidays, certain benefits applicable to all employees who have an employment contract, the ability to terminate a work contract, among other topics.1. Freedom to hireThere is full freedom to hire and in the definition of the contractual conditions, to the extent that the minimum benefits protected by law in benefit of employees are observed (workday, minimum wage, and vacation and holidays).2. WorkdayThe law specifies a maximum of 45 working hours during the week and no more than two hours of overtime per working day. It also considers part-time contracts as it does not provide minimum restrictions.3. Holidays and days of restEmployers are obligated to provide a minimum of one day of rest per week, in addition to any national holidays.4. VacationIn Chile each person has a right to 15 working days of vacation per year, which corresponds to 21 consecutive days, or three weeks, during which the employer must continue paying the employee's regular salary.5. Minimum wageIn Chile there is a minimum wage standard that amounts to $165.000 gross per month (Approximately US$302) for a full time employee and a proportional amount in the case of part-time work. The law further stipulates that a percentage of salary be allocated to a pension fund (approximately 13% including the percentage that the fund administrators charge for commission), health coverage (approximately 7%), and unemployment benefits (.6%).6. Contractual modificationsIn general, contract modification requires consent of the employee.7. Legal bonusAn obligatory benefit that employers are mandated to offer by legal norms is a bonus in the event that the firm earns profits. A certain percentage of the profits earned, under certain conditions, must be distributed to workers.8. Termination of employee contractsIn Chile there is freedom to terminate working relationships with employees. However, employers must justify the dismissal. It is also the obligation of a company to provide severance pay as stipulated by law.

Why Study in Chile?

Chile has several educational advantages. Educational alternatives, academic prestige, connectivity, friendly people, active social and cultural life, and a wide range of tourist options. Chile is a country with a fine literary tradition, two Nobel Prize for Literature laureates, authors whose works have translated and published all over the world. The world has also appreciated the work of filmmaker Raúl Ruiz, work by the painter Roberto Matta and the fine musical interpretations of pianist Claudio Arrau. Culture and the performing arts come together with the chance to travel and visit breathtaking locations. You can go straight from a morning at the ski slopes to an afternoon of surfing in Chile. Easter Island, the Atacama desert and Patagonia also enthrall and amaze visitors.
In recent years, Chile has become an important destination for students from around the world who want to continue or further their education in a Spanish-speaking country. The country welcomed over 10,000 foreign students in 2008. These were exchange students, postgraduate students and others. This figure is increasing every year, with students from a wide variety of countries including Finland, the United States, Japan and Guatemala. Cities such as Santiago, Valparaiso, Concepción and Valdivia, among others, are home to a wide range of top-quality universities. Universidad Católica de Chile and Universidad de Chile are renowned throughout the region for their prestige and academic excellence, and have been ranked among the 300 best universities in the world by THE - QS World University Rankings - 2008. Educational alternatives are multiple and reliable, also because Chile is presently a safe, efficient, modern and connected country. Cultural and social life is active and diverse, tolerant and critical. The country is renowned for its economic and political stability compared to the rest of Latin America. First-time visitors are surprised by its infrastructure and booming economic growth, as well as its evident innovative spirit. The country has almost as many cell phones as people, and Chile was the first country in the world to implement an integral freeway toll system in Santiago. Most people who choose to study in Chile also take advantage of their free time and visit the country's spectacular tourist attractions, from the fascinating Atacama desert up north, the altiplano, geysers and moonscapes, to the cold jungle, volcanoes and glaciers of Patagonia down south. Others visit enigmatic Easter Island or choose sports like kayaking, skiing, surfing, trekking and fly fishing. Well-organized systemChile has a well-organized educational system with several opportunities for personal growth and quality education. According to a study performed by the Ministry of Education, called Educational Indicators in Chile, the country has made substantial headway over the last decade with a series of policies facilitating access to education in terms of economic resources and scholarship programs. Thousands of high school students, undergraduate and post-graduate students come to Chile to learn Spanish, take one or two semesters as exchange students, or complete post-graduate studies. Foreign students choose to study here for all the reasons in the world. Chile is a destination that promises growth.

Living in Chile Why Chile?

Chile offers a unique life experience. In addition to its modernity and tradition, its inhabitants have a range of possibilities open to them. Its special geography allows you to go from the mountains to the sea in a matter of hours; viewing a volcano, a geyser or a glacier. Cities like Santiago, Valparaíso and Concepción also offer nightlife, gastronomy and an intense cultural life.
Discovering the new world, forging your own, or beginning again. There are infinite possibilities. Chile is like that.To live in Chile means sharing a tradition and a culture forged from its origins with participation by immigrant communities. In the end, tolerance and integration always prevailed. The country has received immigrants from other latitudes since the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century.With varying intensities, you can feel the mark of Croatians, Germans, Koreans, Palestinians, Italians, Chinese, Peruvians, Lebanese, Argentines, the French, people from the United States, Venezuelans and many others. No other South American country is currently receiving immigrants and former visitors in the way that Chile is.Modernity and tradition intertwine and coexist in a country that has high levels of connectivity and communicates technologically with the rest of the world; that fosters its own political and economic stability while achieving outstanding levels of education, research, innovation, and entrepreneurialism. The country offers the conditions to settle down with calm; a democratic system that respects and enforces respect for people's rights, no matter their condition, in addition to having modern networks of security, health, education, transport, tourism, and business services.There are multiple possibilities for recreation, with diverse geographic and tourist attractions. There is no lack of fun, entertainment and chances for consumption in active shopping centers. Because of the unique geography, travelers can go from the mountains to the sea in a couple of hours, or else from a salt flat to a glacier. You can go mountain climbing, trekking, fishing, horseback riding and surfing; visit the world biosphere reserves and the vestiges of peoples who inhabited the territory thousands of years ago.Chile is connected with the entire world, despite its insular geography. It has the largest number of cellular telephones per capita in Latin America and one of the highest rates of Internet use. Over half of the population uses it and practically all of the foreign visitors use these technologies. Now, as before, there are more than enough reasons for foreigners to continue preferring Chile as their destination. This preference is reflected in diverse international rankings that rank Chile as one of the best places in Latin America to live. Santiago is the second best city to live in Latin America, according to a recent list prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which considers at 140 cities.