World Cup fever is heating up, and Brazil is getting ready to be in the international spotlight. An estimated 600,000 tourists are expected to travel there next June, with the tournament boosting the economy by around $11 billion. The Brazilian Government is investing heavily in infrastructure – also in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games.
But the world’s fifth largest economy isn’t just attracting attention from sports fans. Its rapid growth over the last 10 years has attracted foreign companies and investment from all over the globe. Although 2012 was a lacklustre year, the economy looks to be getting back on track now.
Topshop, Burberry, and Nature’s Purest, the organic babycare company, are just a few of the British brands that have recently opened stores in Brazil. The country’s growing middle class is creating high demand for consumer goods, including clothes, food and drink, cars and luxury products.
A survey by the British Chambers of Commerce early this year found that Brazil was high on the priority list for exporters. They found almost a third of businesses were considering exporting to Brazil in the next five years, although only 20 per cent currently do so.
Language is obviously a key consideration when exporting abroad. We’re very excited about the launch of our dedicated Brazilian website, which will help us provide a better tailored service for this market. And our global marketing experts and native-speaking Brazilian Portuguese translators are already helping customers target this huge market.
While the Brazilians love their shopping malls, ecommerce is also a booming sector. Internet use is growing rapidly, and Brazil now has the seventh highest number of internautas (web users) in the world. And once they’re connected, 60 per cent say it’s the most convenient way to shop. They’re also huge social media fans, and more likely to interact with brands and recommend products than users in the UK or USA.
Other sectors that present lucrative opportunites to British companies include construction, oil and gas, and biotechnology. According to the UK Department of Trade and Industry, the investment in infrastructure for the World Cup and the Olympics presents a £47 billion opportunity to UK companies. The manufacturer JCB recently opened a major factory in São Paolo, after signing a deal with the government to supply equipment to improve road infrastructure.
Brazil is also keen to boost its high-tech economy. A new program, Startup Brasil, offers up to $78 million in investment to domestic and foreign high-tech companies which are willing to relocate and hire local employees.
Of course it’s not always a smooth ride for exporters, and many companies find it far from straightforward to get started in Brazil. Some of the challenges to overcome include excessive red tape, a complex tax regime, high import charges and strict labour regulations. The infrastructure is still fairly underdeveloped, although this is changing.
Ernst and Young’s recent “Brazilian Attractiveness Survey” highlighted some of these areas for improvement, but concluded that the overall outlook was positive. They’re predicting closer ties between British and Brazilian businesses over the next few years.