Could your next IT project come from Brazil?

Significant growth

The Brazilian IT industry is starting to be significant. There are over 4,000 IT companies in Brazil and it's the 12th largest producer of software and services.

TOTUS is the big name in Brazilian IT. The seventh largest ERP company in the world, it has over 40 per cent market share in Brazil and it's already acquired most of its local competition and has branched out into a wide range of IT services.

Pedro dos Passos, the manager of venture capital for BNDES calls it "the biggest and most valuable Brazilian software company" and it's multiplied BNDES's investment more than twentyfold.

Modulo is another success story, with thousands of installations of its Risk Manager compliance tool in Europe and the US. "it's very widely accepted in the US and is becoming a reference in IT," claims Arnaldo Bacha of SOFTEX.

But Brazil's most popular technology export is Lua the scripting language developed at the University of Rio and that's free software distributed under a licence that says "you are free to use Lua for any purpose at no cost without having to ask us."

Lua is a fast, simple and powerful scripting language that's become the standard for games. World of Warcraft is written in Lua, as are Baldur's Gate, The Sims, FarCry, Escape from Monkey Island and many others. Adobe turned to Lua to create Lightroom.

Lua is one of the reasons why Rezende can call Brazil "one of the three key IT centres in the world".

But just as the government has moved from aggressively promoting open source to save costs and criticising commercial software companies like Microsoft to saying that there's room for all kinds of software in Brazil, software development in Brazil needs to move beyond the universities and a few success stories to become a much broader industry if Brazil is going to really compete with India, China and Silicon Valley.

Mary Branscombe

Mary is a freelance business technology journalist who has written for the likes of ITPro, CIO, ZDNet, TechRepublic, The New Stack, The Register, and many other online titles, as well as national publications like the Guardian and Financial Times. She has also held editor positions at AOL’s online technology channel, PC Plus, IT Expert, and Program Now. In her career spanning more than three decades, the Oxford University-educated journalist has seen and covered the development of the technology industry through many of its most significant stages.

Mary has experience in almost all areas of technology but specialises in all things Microsoft and has written two books on Windows 8. She also has extensive expertise in consumer hardware and cloud services - mobile phones to mainframes. Aside from reporting on the latest technology news and trends, and developing whitepapers for a range of industry clients, Mary also writes short technology mysteries and publishes them through Amazon.