San Jose is the commercial center, and most importers, exporters, and manufacturers' agents operate there. Though there are a number of small merchants and traditional public markets; modern shopping centers, malls, supermarkets, and franchise outlets are becoming the norm. E-commerce is slowly becoming popular but has been hindered by the lack of appropriate telecommunications.
In recent years, the economy has made a major shift from agricultural production and exports, primarily of bananas and coffee, to high-tech industries and tourism. As of 1999, 58% of the work force was employed in service industries. In 1998, the opening of an Intel Corporation microprocessor assembly and testing plant accounted for half of the nation's economic growth the following year. Subsequent large foreign investment companies include Abbott Laboratories and Procter and Gamble.
Shops are open on weekdays from 8:30 to 11:30 AM and from 2 to 6 PM , and on Saturday in the morning only. Business hours are from 8 AM to 12 PM , and 2 to 6 PM , Monday through Friday. Normal banking hours are 9 to 11 AM and 1:30 to 3 PM , Mondays through Friday, and 8 to 11 AM on Saturday. Advertising agencies in Costa Rica, all located in San Jose, offer advertising services through newspapers, radio, television, and direct mail.