BR BIZ: Failing My Way to Success in Brazil | Ryan McMunn


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The business of Education in Brazil

Founder and CEO, BRIC Language Systems

My last piece was the beginning of a series on the difficulties inherent in starting up an international business. Building anything out of nothing is difficult, doing so on the international stage is just that much harder. In order to succeed in foreign countries a startup needs to know the language and the culture of the country they operate in or they’re doomed to failure. This week I’m going to tell you how I failed my way to success in Brazil.

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China and Brazil confirm trade and investment deals worth billions


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China’s Li Keqiang speaks during a joint press conference with Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia.

Li Keqiang in Brasilia

via China and Brazil confirm trade and investment deals worth billions | World news | The Guardian.

There is a lot of media hype here in Brazil about China’s investing in Brazil.   Don’t get too excited.  China has been saying they will invest in Brazil’s infrastructure for several years now.  I am not aware of any project that has actually been implemented.  Maybe this time will be different, but I doubt it.  Even if the TransPacific Railroad project moves forward it will be years and years before it will be completed.

China’s lifting of their embargo on Brazilian beef is perhaps the most positive and immediate benefit of Keqiang visit.

HSBC Said Ready to Pick Buyer for $4 Billion Brazil Arm in June – Bloomberg Business


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HSBC Said Ready to Pick Buyer for $4 Billion Brazil Arm in June – Bloomberg Business.


Before the World Cup, this was one of the best banks for using an International Debit card to withdraw money.  However, about 6 months before the beginning of the World Cup they began to have problems along with Banco do Brasil.

The situation appeared to be returning to normal, but again has turned into a novella.

UPDATED: 14-05-15

Bradesco now charging R$20 reais to make a withdraw; max R$800.   My HSBC is now back to working.  You can withdraw up to R1,000.

Number of Cars in Brazil Doubles in 10 Years


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The number of cars on the country’s roads is set to top 80 million in 2013.


Avenida Brigadeiro Faria Lima – São Paulo.

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bus_station_gynMy wife went to Brasilia to visit friends last Thursday a week ago.   Went by bus.  Bought her ticket online.  Took 15 minutes to get to the bus station from our apartment – normal.  At the bus station, check-in took less than 5 minutes.  The bus was new.  The highway to Brasilia is four-lane.   Normal travel time is 2 hrs 45 min.  Brasilia has a new bus station.

bus_araguarinaInterstate and Intercity bus services can still be hit and miss depending on the region, but for the most part it is good.  Many of the highways may not have improved over the last 20 years, but the bus services have.

When I went to pick her up on Saturday,  it took an hour to get to the bus station – not normal.  but this is happening more frequently on the major avenues in the city.  The parking lot at the bus station was full, but there were spaces available for old folks that had not been stolen by young folks. Smile    Other people either double-parked, or drove around in circles.   The return trip to our apt was quicker as I took a different route. Unfortunately, the routes to the bus station are limited and this subject to these sudden traffic jams.

What is happening now are: “traffic jams out of the blue”   There is no slack in the system.  Streets are overloaded much of the time. If there is an accident, power failure or whatever, the system pretty much comes to a standstill.  During rush hour…. well …. best to avoid it.

Goiania, which was a relatively easy city to get around in a few years back, is not today.   In another 10 years or less, we will be a like Sao Paulo, where gridlock is not uncommon.

I have a friend who lives in Belo Horizonte.  If he goes to work during rush hour, it can take him an hour to an hour and a half.  If he goes after rush hour, takes about 15 minutes.  Luckily, he has a flexible work hours.

So if you move to Brazil, live in a small town on the beach unless you love urban traffic jams.

How tough it is to do business in Brazil (not only for foreigners)


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By Mark Hillary

I knew that I would need a company in Brazil so my income from writing books, journalism, blogs, and advisory work could all be channeled into a single place. This has become IT Decisions, which is a limited company registered in São Paulo run by my wife and I, but with a large team of writers and translators all contributing to what we do.

Getting to the point where I could say I was on the board of a Brazilian company was quite a journey and I don’t want to bore you with some of the more tedious details, but here are some of my observations on the very strange company law system in Brazil.

click here for blog post

Brazil: Given the brush-off –


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Brooms on the beach

Copacabana clean-up: green brooms have been used as symbols of protest against political corruption in Brazil

Brazil: Given the brush-off –

“Covered in tattoos, trucker Edilson da Silva is not one to hold his tongue. But even he has to be careful what he says when it comes to the São Paulo state police.

Highway officers impounded his removal truck last Saturday in a remote rural outpost on the state’s coastal road because of a problem with a document.”

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TRAVEL ALERT: Snow in Southern Brazil


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In my 20+ years here I don’t recall ever seeing a photo showing so much snow in Southern Brazil.  Normally, it snows enough to cover the ground in a thin, white layer, but no significant accumulations.

The photo was taken in Serra, in the region of Campos de Cima da Serra, in Vale do Taquari, in Northern Rio Grande do Sul.

Not really a travel alert, but if you come to Brazil this time of year and go to the South dressed as if you were going to Bahia…well, you are going to suffer!

Map: Rio Grande do Sul

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