1. Campinas, Sao Paulo State
Population 1.1 million, metropolitan region 2.7 million.
Campinas is the undeniable queen of Brazil’s non-capital economic centres. It is situated in Sao Paulo state, close to the metropolitan region of Sao Paulo city (pop. 20 million) and a 2-hour drive to the state capital (depending on conditions). Nevertheless Campinas has carved out its own position and identity among Brazil’s cities, even in Sao Paulo state.
Campinas has its own international airport, which has just been privatised and is set to be expanded considerably in the next years. Due to the operations of several Brazilian passenger airlines, such as TAM, Gol, Trip and, more recently Azul, which has made Viracopos its main national hub, the airport is now also the third busiest passenger airport in the state of São Paulo. The fast train line TAV is planned to connect São Paulo to Viracopos airport and Campinas, thus enhancing its importance in air transportation in Brazil.
The city has excellent highways running in all directions of Sao Paulo state. It gives access to a huge agribusiness region, it is home to many IT businesses and other national and international entreprises, as well as a range of universities and institutes. The Campinas education level is high. The region is home to many research centers and universities, such as LNLS, CPqD, CenPRA, Embrapa, Unicamp, Facamp and Puccamp.
Campinas’ main economic activities are agriculture (mainly coffee, sugarcane, and cotton), industry (textiles, motorcycles, cars, machinery, agricultural equipment, food and beverages, chemical and petrochemical, pharmaceuticals, paper and cellulose, telecommunications, computers and electronics, etc.), commerce and services. Campinas also boasts the largest number of high-tech business incubators and industrial parks (a total of eight), such as the CIATEC I and II, Softex, TechnoPark, InCamp, Polis, TechTown, Industrial Park of Campinas and others.
Examples of Campinas-bred technologies are fibre optics for telecommunications and medical applications, integrated circuits design and fabrication, satellite environmental monitoring of natural resources, software for agriculture, digital telephone switches, deep-water oil exploration platforms and technologies, biomedical equipment, medical software, genetic engineering and recombinant DNA technologies for food production and pharmaceutics and food engineering. Because of this, Campinas has been called the Brazilian Silicon Valley.
Cons: the city is so popular with business travellers that it may be hard to find accommodation during the week.
Must know: The Brazilian Pró-Álcool Program was developed in Campinas: a whole industry based on the use of ethanol as a combustible for motor vehicles, including a new sucrose-rich sugarcane, alcohol refineries, a huge distribution system, and, most recently, an internal combustion engine capable of using either gasoline or ethanol.
Read the remainder of the article on The Brazil Weekly from the April 8th 2012 edition. All rights reserved by Brazil Weekly.
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