No final do ano passado, o CEO da Catho Online, Adriano Arruda, participou de uma matéria no Financial Times, sobre o crescimento da área de TI no Brasil.
Leia a matéria abaixo.
Information technology: Aim is to be a global hub for the industry
In the tiny booths of shopping malls that crowd Santa Ifigênia, you can buy any sort of computer software or hardware you need – from a reconditioned second-hand PC to a mobile phone cable, cut to length and tested for connectivity in front of you by a girl in shorts and flip-flops.
Out on the street, vendors wave racks of pirated software and shout out badly pronounced names such as Adobe and Windows.
This is São Paulo’s computer centre, where the city’s growing army of internautas or web users come to shop.
The other side of this Brazilian sense of can-do is the country’s exploding IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.
Antonio Gil, president of Brasscom, the Brazil Association of Information and Communications Companies says: “The IT industry started in São Paulo. The bulk of the corporations are located in the city, so it’s only natural the IT industry would be located here.”
Brasscom figures give Brazil the eighth-largest BPO market in the world. In 2008, it turned over more than $59.1bn.
But only 2.2 per cent of that, says Mr Gil, comes from exports and that is where growth will come from.
“Brazil has been doing IT very well for a number of years and wants to become one of the three largest IT hubs in the world, together with India and China,” Mr Gil says. That $59.1bn could easily become $80bn. And São Paulo is leading the charge. “The city leads the development of the IT industry.”
German IT service provider GFT is one of a number of multinationals with a São Paulo office. “We found well-trained people here,” says Carlos Eres, Spanish and Brazilian MD for GFT.
The company has 1,100 staff working together on projects all over the world from 20 locations in Germany, UK, France, Switzerland, Spain, India and Brazil.
“Brazil is a perfect complement to our southern European centre, the timezone works and it gives me the costs I need,” says Graham Underwood, the company’s British managing director.
“I’ve had experience working in India and it’s much less painful here.”
Mr Gil concurs. India might be cheaper, but Brazil offers cultural and timezone advantages that make economic sense.
“There are 1.7m professionals operating in the IT industry in Brazil. Corporations are looking to improve their competitiveness and one way to do that is to outsource to other countries where your job can be done as well, but at a lower cost. In Brazil, you find the talent to do that.”
São Paulo software giant TOTVS has 5,000 employees, a turnover in the last 12 months of R$1.05bn (US$610m) and a presence in 26 markets. It specialises in serving small to medium-sized companies with business software at a cheaper price.
“If you go to India, you have service providers. In Brazil we learnt to build the whole solution. We build software,” says José Rogério Luiz, executive financial vice-president and director of investor relations for TOTVS.
Adriano Arruda is chief executive of one of the city’s big success stories: online job site Catho. “The biggest companies in Brazil are in São Paulo. A lot of companies are coming in. All the foreign investments are here,” he says. “And all these companies need access, computers, communication, so the IT companies end up here.”
Initially a human resources company, Catho, like many of São Paulo’s IT pioneers, such as successful online commerce site BuscarPé, set up online early: in 1997.
“It is the inverse of other sites,” Mr Arruda says. “The companies put up their vacancies for nothing and clients pay to put their details on. It is a virtual classified advert.”
Twelve years later, Catho has 3m unique users, 140,000 companies on the site and 200,000 vacancies a month. Turnover for 2009 is projected to reach R$130m – with margins, says Mr Arruda, of 30 per cent.
Catho grew 30 per cent last year and has 700 employees at its offices in Barueri in Greater São Paulo.
But São Paulo has a shortage of IT staff, Mr Arruda warns. “The majority of IT professionals are working. Sometimes you have to take them from the competition. Someone who goes to college who studies IT, has a very good chance of getting a job. There are more vacancies than jobs.”
Piracy in places such as Santa Ifigênia is a problem, concedes Brasscom’s Mr Gil, but a problem that is worldwide.
“Brazil is relatively well placed in terms of protection of intellectual property,” he says. “The issue of piracy is mostly concerned with Microsoft.”
The Brazilian government wants to boost IT-BPO exports in 2010 – from $2.2bn to $3.5bn. Brasscom is working on improving the standard of English and has launched a curriculum in IT English developed with the British Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo.
“Brazil leads the world in terms of IT in financial institutions,” Mr Gil says. “All the financial institutions are in São Paulo. The best schools are here. Those are the conditions to make São Paulo one of the most advanced IT centres in the world.”
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