Managing in Brazil

Thriving in a Highly Regulated but Sociable Environment

Managing in Brazil

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There's more to Brazil than beach volleyball and soccer.

What comes to mind when you think of Brazil? Maybe you picture the Amazon rain forest, bursting with colorful birds and flowers, or long stretches of beautiful beaches. Or, you might think of the vibrant and energetic cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, or the Brazilians' world-renowned passion for soccer.

If you're considering doing business in Brazil, or managing a Brazilian office remotely, you're probably excited about the opportunity. There's a lot to learn before you take your next step!

In this article, we explore what you need to know to live, work and manage successfully in Brazil.


This article is intended as general advice only. It's important to keep an open mind and use your best judgment, depending on your particular situation and the individuals that you're working with.

Setting the Scene

Brazil is the fifth-largest country in the world, in both size and population. It spans three time zones, is bordered by 10 countries, and is home to more than 205 million people. Brazilians are ethnically diverse, embodying the legacies of indigenous peoples, Portuguese colonizers, African slaves, and more recent European, Arab and Japanese migrants.

Chances are, if you asked someone to name the capital of Brazil, his or her first answer would be Rio de Janeiro. This was true from 1763 to 1960, when the federal government was relocated to the new city of Brasilia, in the center of the country.

Brazil is a secular state with no official religion. However, almost 65 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, as represented by the world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks Rio de Janeiro.

Until recently, Brazil was considered one of the star performers of the developing world, and was one of the fast-emerging "BRIC" countries, along with Russia, India and China. The country is rich in natural resources, and its main industries are agriculture, oil and gas, and mining. Rapid economic growth from 2000 to 2012 lifted so many people out of poverty that the middle class is now in the majority. (The country's currency is the real (plural: reais).)...

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