SANTIAGO, May 23 (Reuters) - Amazon Web Services is looking to invest in Chile for the long-term as part of a larger Latin American expansion plan, a senior executive said on Wednesday after meeting with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.
Teresa Carlson, AWS vice president, worldwide public sector, had sought the meeting with Pinera, a conservative billionaire and businessman, as Amazon.com Inc wants to expand its cloud computing footprint.
"You're going to see us here for the long-term," Carlson told reporters. "We think Chile is super important to Latin America and the rest of the world."
Amazon has said it is keen to build more data centers in the region to handle data and computing for large enterprises, including governments, in the cloud.
Both Chile and Argentina - two of the largest economies in South America - have been courting investment from the cloud computing and e-commerce company.
Chile is interested in inviting companies such as Amazon and is "doing everything possible" to encourage them, said Economy Minister Jose Valente, who also attended Wednesday's meeting.
Carlson declined to say whether both Chile and Argentina were still in the running for an Amazon data center. No announcement was imminent, she said.
Policies mattered most to Amazon, Carlson said when asked what criteria the company was considering.
"We look for telecommunication industries that are progressive," she said. We look for a government that really is thinking forward on the digitization of their economy in terms of education and creating new jobs."
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.
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.
Reporting by Dave Sherwood and Felipe Iturrieta; Editing by Grant McCool