As emerging powers like China are seeking to strengthen innovation-driven growth and focus on the production of value-added goods, they are increasingly trying to emulate the United States’ unique capacity to attract foreign talent. Indeed, the competition for high-end talent is set to become a major international battleground as nations around the world try to avoid being left behind as eternal commodity providers, unable to achieve long-term growth.
A brief look at the statistics shows the massive impact immigrants have on the US economy’s capacity to innovate and generate jobs: Some 40% of Fortune 500 firms were founded by immigrants or their children. So were the firms behind seven of the ten most valuable brands in the world. Although the foreign-born are only an eighth of the US population, a quarter of high-tech start-ups have an immigrant founder. Apple, Google, AT&T, Budweiser, Colgate, eBay, General Electric, IBM, McDonalds, owe their origin to a founder who was an immigrant or the child of an immigrant. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, is a child of an immigrant parent from Syria. Walt Disney also was the child of an immigrant (from Canada), as well as the founders of Oracle (Russia and Iran), IBM (Germany), Clorox (Ireland), Boeing (Germany) 3M (Canada) and Home Depot (Russia).
As The Economist writes,
High-tech firms such as Google (whose co-founder Sergey Brin moved to America from Russia as a child) haven’t just created jobs for their own workers. They have also inspired the creation of entirely new categories of job. A few years ago no one earned a living as a mobile-app developer. Now they are everywhere. It is not just full-time workers who benefit: firms such as oDesk, a Silicon Valley outfit founded by two Greeks, are nurturing an online freelance economy that is in its infancy. Last year Americans using oDesk’s platform found over 2 million hours of freelance work.
A regional judge has ordered the arrest of Google’s president in Brazil, Fabio Jose Silva Coelho, after the company failed to take down YouTube videos.
Authorities say the videos are slanderous towards a candidate running in a city’s election for mayor. The judge ordered the removal of the videos last week, but Google has refused to remove them and says it is appealing.
It says it is not responsible for the content posted on its site.
According to Brazilian media, the videos in question suggest Alcides Bernal – a mayoral candidate in the city of Campo Grande – is guilty of committing crimes.
Judge Flavio Peren, who sits at a regional electoral court in Mato Grosso do Sul state, ruled the videos violated local election laws.
But his order for the videos to be removed was ignored and on Monday he ordered the arrest of Mr Coelho.
“Google is appealing the decision that ordered the removal of the video on YouTube because, as a platform, Google is not responsible for the content posted to its site,” the company said through a spokesman in Brazil.
It has previously argued that the internet should be a space for voters freely to express their opinions about candidates for political office.
But Google’s responsibility for the content it disseminates has recently come into question in other contexts, such as the case of the anti-Islam video that sparked protests around the Muslim world, say correspondents.
When his time as São Paulo’s mayor finishes at the end of the year, jokes Gilberto Kassab, he will look for work in the garages of the city’s municipal assembly. This month the city’s legislature published, for the first time, the salaries of some of its 2,000 employees. Half the 700 people named, paulistanos were surprised to learn, take home more each month than the assembly’s chairman, who earns 7,223 reais ($3,508) after tax.
Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives approves purchase of agricultural land by foreigners
The Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives approved on Wednesday (13th of June 2012) the text of the bill that allows the acquisition of large plots of land by Brazilian companies controlled by foreigners. Today, the actual limit is up to 100 “fiscal units” (módulos ficais).
Fiscal unit is a unit of land measurement used in Brazil. It is expressed in hectares and is variable and is determined for each municipality, taking into account:
- main type of farming in the municipality;
- proceeds from the exploitation prevalent;
- other farms in the municipality which, although not predominant, are expressive function of income or area used;
- concept of family property.
Today, by law, foreign companies can buy up to 5 000 hectares, never exceeding 25% of the municipal area of the location of the farm. Citizens of the same foreign nationality can not together have more than 10% of the area of a municipality.
The text proposes that Brazilian companies with foreign capital are treated as domestic companies, no limit for land acquisition. The companies and foreign people, who currently limit the acquisition of 100 and 50 fiscal modules, respectively, can now acquire up to one quarter of the municipality where the farm.
The proposal also eliminates the authorization or license from the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra) for acquisition by foreigners of rural property tax of up to four modules and rental tax of up to ten modules. The legislation established the current limit of three modules operating indefinitely.
The acquisition of land by non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) with foreign capital or headquarters outside of Brazil, which is not mentioned in current law, is prohibited in the new proposal. Upon approval, the report will be turned into a bill and distributed to other committees for analysis, then, be voted on in Congress.
Facebook Blasts into Top Position in Brazilian Social Networking Market Following Year of Tremendous Growth – comScore, Inc.
São Paulo, Brazil, January 17, 2012 – comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released data showing that Facebook assumed the top place in the Brazilian social networking market following a year of exceptional growth. In December 2011, Facebook.com attracted 36.1 million visitors – representing an increase of 192 percent in the past twelve months – to surpass Orkut as the leading social networking destination in the market.
“Facebook’s rapid ascent in the Brazilian market has certainly been one of the most interesting stories to develop during the course of 2011,” said Alex Banks, comScore managing director for Brazil. “Brazil has always been a particularly social market and now owns the fifth largest social networking population in the world. But despite the cultural affinity for social media, Facebook adoption had traditionally lagged in the market. That has all changed in the past year, during which the site has tripled in audience size as engagement has grown sevenfold to assume the leadership position in the market.”
Facebook.com, Orkut and Windows Live Profile Lead Social Networking Rankings
Results from the recent comScore study It’s a Social World revealed that Brazil was one of just seven markets (including China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Poland and Russia) where Facebook did not lead the local social networking class according to October 2011 data.
In December 2011, however, Facebook.com finally secured the top place in Brazil’s social networking ranking with 36.1 million visitors age 6 and older accessing the site from a home or work computer, nearly tripling in audience size in the past year. Orkut, which fell to the #2 place with 34.4 million visitors, still managed to grow its audience 5 percent in the past year despite Facebook’s growing prominence. Windows Live Profile ranked third with 13.3 million visitors (up 13 percent), while Twitter.com ranked fourth with 12.5 million visitors (up 40 percent).
The news channel CNN said that the behavior of the Brazilians on the social network site Facebook is saddening Mark Zuckerberg. “On the one hand, Brazilians are growing Facebook, however they ruin everything,” he said.
Facebook engineers were considering allowing the inclusion of images in the format animated GIF-pictures (moving images), but Mark refused the idea because he has seen the behaviour of Brazilians at the social network site Orkut, which is loaded wioth animated gif’s.
According to Mark, if Facebook make room for the gifs, sharing among users will be equal to the Brazilian Orkut, full of colorful moving letters, loaded with messages of affection and love.
Closing Facebook in Brazil
On the possibility of closing the Facebook in Brazil, Mark drops . “I will not blame the Brazilians use the network, but will create a manual of behavior.”
When asked about Facebook is turning into a Orkut in Brazil, Mark said that there is no difference between social networks, the difference is Who uses. “Any service that has the Internet users in Brazil, in large proportions, it becomes a problem,” he said.
Note of the editor: This article has been published in Portuguese on the site G17.com.br. So, please don’t take this serious. It has been republished by many serious news websites in Brazil. However, for those of you intending to do business and want to learn about the culture you might be interested to read the various comments been made by the readers.
Over the last decade, Brazil has become fertile source for creativity and disruptive business models. The innovation revolution is alive both among start-ups and among the thousands of Brazilian multinationals. A new report from INSEAD and the OECD Development Centre argues that by developing new business models, “in several revealing cases, Brazilian businesses are redefining global business”.
Brazilian companies among the world’s 50 most innovative companies
After ten days of touring Southern Brazil in early February, 34 U.S. farmers from 10 states came away very impressed with this country’s agricultural potential, despite the drought that withered crops on most of the farms we visited.
As expected more and more countries are lining up to challenge the unreasonable protective measure by the Brazilian government to increase the Tax on Industrialised Products (IPI). Last month, Brazil raised the so-called IPI by 30 percentage points for imported cars that aren’t made with at least 65% local content. Excluded are those from companies that produce locally or in Mercosul partners. Established carmakers such as Volkswagen, Fiat,General Motors Co. and Ford, which together account for about three-fourths of car sales, had complained about the influx of cars as Brazil’s currency strengthened and demand jumped.
Japan may be the first country to challenge at the World Trade Organization the Brazilian this increase in the IPI tax. In addition to Japan, South Korea also objected to the increase for imported cars decided by the Brazilian government. The two countries that are producers of automobiles, said that Brazil violates the agreement of trade-related investments as well as an article of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on national treatment of companies.
Both Korea and Japan has decided to challenge the measure of the Brazilian government in the Market Access Committee , which periodically examines new barriers raised by the countries. The report itself noted that the Japanese action could pave the way for other governments complain of Brazil, as it did. Japan will ask judges at the WTO to examine the measure. Though most Japanese car makers produce locally, exempting them from the tax, the country’s government is concerned that a similar measure could be repeated by other countries. The issue was raised with Brazil during a meeting of the WTO’s market access committee on Friday, said Atsushi Saito, Japan’s representative at the Geneva-based organization. In addition to Japan, members from South Korea, Australia, Europe and the U.S. also voiced their concerns, Saito said. When asked if Japan planned to file a formal complain with the WTO, Saito replied in an email that “If you understand that ‘formal complaint’ is part of a dispute settlement process, we don’t have any plans at this stage.”
More than 20% of cars sold this year are imported, up from just 5% in 2005, according to automakers association Anfavea. But the tax hike was challenged by car companies who are building or plan to build factories in the country and who say that because they won’t be able to meet the full local content requirements during the first few years of operations, they would cancel plans to bring production onshore.
Government willing to negotiate?
The government has since said it would negotiate with those companies to reach a compromise. This is also confirmed by China’s JAC Motors. JAC Brazil says it has finalized a deal to build a $500 million car factory in Brazil. JAC Brazil says in an emailed release the factory will be built in the northeastern state of Bahia. The plant should be ready by 2014.The automaker said in August it wanted to build a factory in Brazil. But those plans were questioned after Brazil hiked the import taxes on foreign cars, threatening the Chinese-made vehicles JAC ships to Brazil. JAC says in its Friday statement it hopes the decision to invest will convince officials to scrap that tax hike.
BMW considers building a factory in the country, but..
BMW asked Brazil’s Trade and Development Minister Fernando Pimentel to reevaluate the increase in the IPI tax as it considers building a factory in the country, O Estado de S. Paulo reported, citing Henning Dornbusch, chief executive officer of BMW’s Brazil unit. The Brazilian government’s decision to raise the tax on cars with less than 65 percent of their parts produced in Brazil may lead BMW to build its plant in China, India or Russia instead, according to the newspaper. The company will announce its decision by November, O Estado said. The Ministry of Trade and Development’s press office said Pimentel hasn’t made any commitment relating to BMW’s request because the decision must be made in conjunction with Finance Minister Guido Mantega, O Estado said.