Recife’s tech hub takes on Brazil’s wealthy south

Paulo Rebêlo BBC – 16/out/2013 link It’s one of Brazil’s biggest tech hubs, but Recife’s Porto Digital (Digital Harbour) is no gleaming expanse of shiny metal and glass. Instead, this tech park of more than 200 firms is located within the city’s historical neighbourhood. Launched with much hype in 2000, Porto Digital made headlines in the likes of Wired and Bloomberg Businessweek, a regional hub making a concerted effort to become a big noise. The big international companies have not flocked to Recife; but the hub’s steady growth, far from the wealth of Brazil’s southern cities, may be a salutary lesson for other tech centres aiming to take on major players. But after 13 years exporting products and services to the world, the hub still has to overcome a barrier no amount of high-speed internet connections can overcome: geography. Those behind the original concept of Porto Digital knew about the challenges challenge ahead, trying to attract new companies to a city few non-Brazilians could place on a map. It took longer than expected; the hub’s direction has changed from the original vision, partly because politicians did not believe Porto Digital would make that much of an impression in the global economy. Even today,

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