Brazil will surely be one of the most talked-about countries on earth over the course of the next decade as it hosts both the World Cup and Olympic Games. Equally impressive, it has risen to become the world’s eighth-largest economy (predicted to join the top five by 2030), and a charter member of what are known as the “BRIC” countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) that are all on the cusp of rapid economic expansion.
In addition to its well-known strengths in renewable energy, raw materials, agriculture, oil, and the aviation industry, Brazil is fast becoming a major player in electronics. Brazil’s forward-looking elected officials have teamed with its world-class universities to spur development of technology centers throughout the country, a model exemplified by Belo Horizonte in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais (west of Rio de Janeiro), and its highly regarded university, UFMG (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais).
Since opening Jasper’s Belo Horizonte R&D Center in 2006 we have tripled our staff, many recruited directly from UFMG, my alma mater, and one of Brazil’s most respected universities. Recognized by the government and society as having one of the top Computer Science undergraduate and graduate programs in the country, UFMG has a phenomenal teaching staff trained at leading institutions throughout the world including Stanford, CMU, Oxford, Princeton, and UCLA, to name a few. The level of technical talent available here today compares favorably with teams I’ve led during a long career in the United States, giving Brazil a well-deserved reputation as a computer science and electronics center of excellence.
The results of having created this world-class educational infrastructure are now bearing fruit: The country’s first, all-Brazilian semiconductor manufacturing facility is now in production; IBM selected Brazil as the site of its first new research facility in 12 years; Brazil accounts for nearly half of all IT spending in South America, and the government recently announced an ambitious plan to expand broadband service throughout the land.
Equally notable is the country’s success in attracting high-profile technology companies doing software, consumer electronics, Internet infrastructure and semiconductor development. Brazil’s high-tech business sector is poised for rapid growth as government and multinational firms (ARM, Freescale, Google, Intel among others) increase their investments, which will naturally lead to the next generation of local spinoff companies. To understand what is attracting so much interest and capital, let’s look at a statistical snapshot of Brazil:
? 200 million tech-savvy consumers
? 189 million installed mobile phones
? Exploding demand for PCs (in five years grew from 3 million units to more than 14 million)
? Steep increase in Internet usage
? 85% of electricity generated from renewable sources
? World’s third-largest stock exchange
? Second only to China as most favored destination for private equity investment in emerging markets
All in all, it’s a great climate for business, but of course there are minuses. The Samba beat may keep some awake during Carnaval (intentional), and a nearly 7,500-kilometer coastline (breathtakingly beautiful) could prove to be a distraction for even the most focused engineer. Those things aside, Brazil is a land of great people and great opportunity, ready to take its place as a global leader and high-tech hot spot for innovation and investment.
About the author:
Dr. Coelho is vice president of engineering for Jasper Design Automation Inc. and manages R&D for advanced formal verification product development, and is a professor on leave at the Computer Science Department at UFMG.
Prior to Jasper he held technical and management positions in several U.S. companies including Integrated Information Technology, and Verplex where he directed the BlackTie team and was responsible for the development of OVL. He has also founded several successful startups, and was a counselor with FirCapital Partners in startup strategy and technology.
Dr. Coelho has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and masters in computer science from UFMG; a PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from Stanford; and an MBA from IBMEC/MG.
Beyond the hype: Brazil once had a pretty active
hardware design ecosystem in the 80's, with
local telecom, IT and industrial equipment design
and manufacturing. It was heavily targeted at the
internal market, protected by import legislation and,
in some cases, supported by state-owned companies.
This hw industry was severely impacted by changes in
the legislation in the early 90's. Most of what
remained was bought by multinationals during the
Brazil is now trying to revamp the hw industry.
In the IC area, Freescale has a Brazilian lab for
12 years now, and many DH start-ups popped up in
the latest years.
SW is in a much better shape, especially in the
banking area: one of the few good side effects
of the outrageous inflation of the 80s ...
As a last note, don't get much impressed by Dr.Coelho's
nice photo by the beach. Most Brazilian design centers
are not located in seashore cities ...
There is lots of excitement about Brasil (world cup, Olympics, BRIC, etc) but at least personally I feel there is little useful high-tech info available...opening up a research center and even tripling staff levels (from what level by the way) does not tell me much...more solid stuff pls...Kris
200 million tech-savvy consumers? Please... As a Brazilian living abroad I feel that we have to start walking the walk... This kind of article doesn't help Brazil in any sort of way, it's just a lot of hot air. We have to show where the real value is, and in that sense there is a lot to be done in Brazil if we really are to be an important player in the Tech sector. Let's raise the bar, please.
Interesting to read about this.
Just recently I heard about the term BRIC.
These are countries that show how a good government is needed in order to aspire a country to emerge.
I didn't know Brazil is currently at the 8th rank! Hope to get there some day as I haven't worked with Brazilian engineers... yet.
I'm working in Brazil since 2005. As a CEO and Brazilian I share Dr. Coelho enthusiasm about Brazilian High Tech brilliant future. I had excellent experiences with Brazilian engineers (Product, Design and Software Engineers) and Government support for the area.
I have had some great experiences working on multi-national projects with Brazilian engineers and have the utmost respect for their capabilities.
It is also a wonderful country to visit and the author is quite right -- there are many things there that could distract the most focused engineer!
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