May 22, 2018 / 9:04 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Chile's president to meet Amazon exec as region eyes cloud computing -sources

(Adds details on meeting, Amazon investment interest in South America)

By Antonio De la Jara

SANTIAGO, May 22 (Reuters) - Chilean President Sebastian Pinera will meet with a senior Amazon Web Services (AWS) executive on Wednesday, three government sources told Reuters on Tuesday, the latest sign Amazon.com Inc is looking to expand its cloud computing footprint in Latin America.

Chile's Economy Minister Jose Ramon Valente will also attend the meeting with Teresa Carlson, AWS vice president, worldwide public sector, one of the sources said. Amazon asked for the meeting, which will be held at the Presidential Palace in Santiago, the person said.

The meeting is slated for 15.00 local time (1900 GMT), the source said.

Amazon aims to expand cloud computing operations in Latin America, and is keen to build more data centers in the region. Both Chile and Argentina - two of the largest economies in South America - have been courting investment from the cloud computing and e-commerce company.

Carlson visited Argentina this week after the company opened an office in Buenos Aires last month, but did not meet with Argentine President Mauricio Macri.

Macri did meet late last year with Amazon's Elaine Feeney, vice president for infrastructure global expansion for AWS, to discuss installing a data center in Argentina, according to the Argentine government.

A spokeswoman for Amazon said Carlson was in Latin America to meet "with public sector customers, which includes governmental officials."

AWS handles data and computing for large enterprises, including governments, in the cloud.

Amazon's cloud-computing business is the largest in the world and accounts for a majority of its operating profit. Adding more data centers close to clients reduces latency and helps Amazon handle an influx of customers moving operations to the cloud.

Pinera has said he hopes to convert Chile into a digital and information services platform for South America. The sector has received $18 billion in investment in the past decade, according to Telecommunications Ministry data.

Chile's former president, Michelle Bachelet, last year signed an executive order that sought to promote the use of the cloud services among government agencies.

Reporting by Antonio de la Jara; Additional reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Susan Thomas and Lisa Shumaker

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