Brazil

Brazil is home to the 9th largest economy in the world and the largest in Latin America. A giant of mining, agriculture and manufacturing, the country has much to offer those wishing to do business here.

Covid-19 latest information

This guide is an accurate reflection of the pre-Covid-19 business environment in Brazil. Please note that due to the current situation, some circumstances may have changed in this country. Figures and data in the guide were last updated in March 2021.

 

Welcome to Brazil

Brazil occupies half of South America’s landmass – this vast country contains 7,400 km of coastline and a wide diversity of biomes, including the Amazon basin. It is known for its rich, colourful culture, a unique melding of Portuguese, native Indian, and African influences.

HSBC was established in Brazil in 1997. With a dedicated team of experienced professionals on the ground, HSBC aims to provide support to large local corporates, multinationals and foreign institutional investors. In May of 2020, HSBC Brazil implemented a full wholesale bank proposition, which serves as an ideal hub for international businesses.

I look forward to welcoming you to Brazil and providing you with solutions that will help your business grow!

Alexandre Guiao Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Brazil

Av. Juscelino Kubitschek, 1909 - 19 andar - Torre Norte - Vila Olímpia
São Paulo, SP - Brasil - 04551-903
business.hsbc.com.br

Essentials

Population
200 million1
Size
8,358,140 sq km
Main languages
Portuguese
Commercial capital city
Brasília
Other major cities
São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador
Currency
Brazilian Real (BRL)
Dialling code
+55
GDP
US$1839.76 billion2
Top exports
Transport equipment, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, coffee, automobiles1
Top imports
Machinery, electrical and transport equipment, chemical products, oil, automotive parts, electronics1
Unemployment rate
14.4%2
Corporation tax
15-45%3
Typical office hours
8am – 6pm Monday to Friday
Time zone
UTC -3
Emergency numbers
192 (ambulance), 190 (police), 193 (fire)

1 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 2020
2 Trading Economics, 2020
3 PwC, 2020

Brazil: Latin America’s emerging powerhouse

Ranked

# 124

for ease of doing business (in a survey of 190 measured economies by The World Bank)

  • Rich in resources

    Brazil has an abundance of natural resources, including gold, iron ore, nickel, niobium, tin and rare earth elements. It’s home to one of the largest mining industries in the world.

  • Expanding middle class

    15% of Brazil’s population was in the middle class in the 1980s – today nearly a third of the population has achieved middle class status.

  • BRIC by brick

    As a member of the BRIC economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China – Brazil is one of the nations economists expect will be a dominant supplier of raw materials by 2050.

  • Major market potential

    Brazil’s economy is a force to be reckoned with – it’s the eighth largest in the world and the biggest economy in South America.

  • Dynamic and diversified

    The country has a huge service sector – accounting for nearly 65% of GDP – a well-developed industrial sector and is one of the largest exporters of agricultural products in the world.

Country profile

Dominating the eastern half of South America, Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world by land mass and home to one-third of Latin America’s population.

The country boasts a rich natural and cultural heritage, unique in the world – from white sand beaches, to the largest virgin rainforest in the world, to the heady, exuberance of Carnival, and the dramatic cityscape of Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil is a melting pot of many different cultures, including Portuguese, African and indigenous people. Though Brazil gained independence from Portugal in 1822, the Portuguese influence is still felt strongly throughout the country in its language, food, and traditions.

This vast country is broken into 26 states, plus a federal district encompassing the capital city of Brasília. While the country has experienced periods of political turbulence in recent years, it is striving for stability and modernisation.

Brazil has one of the largest mining industries in the world and is known as a leading producer of iron ore, tin, manganese, gold and quartz, among others. It is also known for its large agricultural sector, and large and growing service sector.

Brazil is the world’s top producer of coffee – and has been for the last 150 years.

In 2014, Brazil hosted the FIFA World Cup, and in 2016 it hosted the Summer Olympic Games, indications of the country’s rising status in the world.

Read on to discover more about the dos and don’ts of doing business in Brazil. Also, find out how trading in or with the country could help boost the future growth of your enterprise.

5 reasons to do business in Brazil1

  1. Energy rich
    Brazil was the 8th largest producer of oil in 2019 and is one of the largest hydroelectric producers in the world. Renewables are expected to become a growing part of Brazil’s energy mix.
  2. Ecommerce enthusiasm
    Online sales totalled BRL 9.4 billion in Brazil in April 2020, an 81% increase over April 2019. Plus, Brazilians rank 3rd in the world for amount of time spent online every day.
  3. Commodities king
    Brazil is a mover and shaker in commodity markets, with a huge mining industry, massive oil extraction operations, biofuel and agricultural production.
  4. Large market
    With a population of 211 million people, the largest economy in South America, and a growing middle class, Brazil is a huge market brimming with potential.
  5. Innovation standout
    Brazil ranks 16th among upper middle-income economies and 4th among the 18 economies in Latin America and Caribbean, according to the 2020 Global Innovation Index.


5 key challenges2

  1. 1

    Large size

    While Brazil’s vast size can be an asset, it also has its drawbacks. Brazil is not homogenous and regional variations in culture and laws can take time to understand and adapt to.

  2. 2

    Paying taxes

    Brazil is ranked 184 out of 190 countries for paying taxes by the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business report. PwC estimates that it takes businesses 1,501 hours to comply with Brazilian tax regulations.

  3. 3

    Custo Brazil

    The term Custo Brazil refers to the additional costs of doing business in Brazil – from government inefficiency to bureaucratic difficulties – these things can complicate doing business in the country and often have a real cost associated with them.

  4. 4

    Economic variability

    Over the last 20 years, Brazil’s economy has grown in fits and starts. It experienced strong economic growth between 2002 and 2012, but entered a recession in 2014, from which it has since made a modest recovery.

  5. 5

    Ageing and outdated infrastructure

    Brazil’s infrastructure is greatly in need of modernisation and expansion. A 2019 study from Ipsos found 52% of Brazilians were either very or fairly dissatisfied with their country’s infrastructure. The good news is that a government plan of public-private partnerships, leases and privatisation is aiming to fix these issues.

1Global Innovation Index, 2020
2World Bank Group, 2020