Latin American online retailer Mercado Libre is set to launch a technology and innovation center in the Colombian capital Bogota, adding 200 high-tech professionals to its operations in the Andean country.

The center will develop software and provide technology-related support services to its e-commerce and fintech operations in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile.

The e-commerce giant, dubbed the eBay of Latin America, says the center will serve as the “nucleus and motor,” for the company’s “technological capacities” across the region.

The expansion comes two months after Mercado Libre acquired Argentinean software solutions vendor Lagash, which employs more than 300 professionals and has operations in five countries in the region, including Colombia.

At the time of the purchase, the retailer had hinted at plans to establish development centers in Mexico, Chile and Colombia. The company’s senior executive, Daniel Gándara, told reporters Mercado Libre was looking for a software developer to tackle some of the challenges it was facing in both e-commerce and fintech.

For now, the retailer’s IT unit employs around 3,000 people, with a large majority of them working at its technology center in Argentina. Last year alone, it hired more than 1,000 technology professionals.

Lagash will play a key role in helping Mercado Libre acquire new talent. The software vendor currently trains young people in the software development industry through a program its runs in collaboration with various colleges and universities.

Mercado Libre seems to have capitalized on the social-distancing rule resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. When the epidemic hit the region, it immediately let 9,000 employees work from home and launched a new branding campaign, telling consumers to “stay at home, we are still delivering.”

The retailer has vowed to create 1,000 jobs in the region this year.

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