Cisco to Spend R$1B in Brazil to Fund Tech Center, Startups

Cisco Systems Inc. said it will spend more than $1 billion reais ($546.6 million) in Brazil in the next four years to boost manufacturing in the South American nation and step up investment in local startups.

The projects include a “center of innovation” in Rio de Janeiro that will be focused on developing technologies for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, as well as other products for the surveillance, education and health-care markets, San Jose, California-based Cisco said in a statement today.

“With today’s announcements, we reinforce Cisco’s long-term commitment to Brazil and expect to become a relevant partner in this incredible growth journey the country has been experiencing,” Rodrigo Abreu, president of Cisco’s Brazil division, said in the statement.

Cisco, the world’s biggest maker of computer-networking equipment, said the investment will create about 800 local jobs while helping the company broaden manufacturing in the world’s second-largest emerging economy. The company now makes some set-top boxes in Brazil, and is adding routers and switches.

Cisco is also helping to create a venture-capital fund focused on Brazilian technologies.

In Brazil, one of Cisco’s fastest-growing markets, the company is increasingly competing with International Business Machines Corp. and other rivals. Cisco said it has had operations in Brazil since 1994 and now has more than 500 employees there.

Cisco and IBM are both supporting a shift toward “smarter” municipal infrastructure, which includes power meters that communicate over wireless Internet connections. It also encompasses sewers, traffic lights and video-surveillance systems that can be connected to computer networks. Brazil is fertile ground because of its growing economy and technological upgrades in preparation for the World Cup and Olympics.

Cisco made the announcement during its Cisco Plus Brazil event in Rio de Janeiro.

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