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May 28, 2017

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Brazil's IT sector urged to shun copycat tactics

CAMPINAS, Brazil -- Boosted by strong government incentives, Brazil's high-tech industry is showing solid domestic growth but experts say the country's startup entrepreneurs must go global and shun copycat solutions.

The national Web market is booming, Internet penetration has been doubling over the past four years and consumers are keen to try out new services particularly ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Rio summer Olympics, experts say.

More than 83 million of Brazil's 194 million people have access to the Internet, according to the latest data from the pollster Ibope Nielsen Online.

"Information technology alone represents US$112 billion, 4.5 percent of Brazil's GDP and the seventh largest market globally. We had 11 percent growth last year," Sergio Pessoa, an executive of the Brazilian Association of Information Technology and Communication (BRASSCOM), told AFP.

The IT boom is luring a lot of foreign firms to Brazil's 74 tech parks, including the Rio area where oil-related technology is in high demand to tap the huge deep-water oil reserves.

Although the domestic market is large and growing, it has a small share of exports.

"Only US$2.65 billion of IT is exported, or 2.3 percent, so there is huge potential for increasing exports," Pessoa said.

He voiced hope that the US$210 billion Brazilian Information Technology and Communication (ITC) market can vault from fifth to third place in the world by 2022.

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