Now is the pitch perfect time to trade with Brazil

James Hardy, Head of Europe, Alibaba.com

 Brazil should certainly be on all business owners’ radars at the moment. As the host of this year’s World Cup and 2016’s Olympic Games, the nation is expecting an influx of tourists and a substantial boost to its economy over the coming months and years.

Currently, the nation is in preparation mode for these huge sporting events, which makes it the perfect time for small businesses to develop a trading relationship with Brazil.

Improvements to the nation’s infrastructure, including new undergrounds, airports and rail systems, as well as the development of new sports stadiums and tourist facilities are providing opportunities for businesses across the globe to export their products and services to Brazil.

Don’t miss out

Not considering Brazil as a trade partner in the coming years could well mean that small businesses miss out on a great opportunity.

As one of the BRIC group of nations, along with Russia, India and China, Brazil is recognised as having one of the world’s rapidly developing economies.

Its size alone – the nation is home to around 200 million people – presents a wealth of opportunities for small businesses looking to expand on an international level. A large proportion (90 million) of these people are also online, meaning Brazil has one of the highest internet penetration rates among developing countries, 45% compared with China’s 38%, according to consultancy A.T. Kearney, making it easy to trade online.

Brazil is also home to around seven million small and medium-sized businesses, providing a wealth of B2B trading opportunities.

Already, a number of UK-based SMEs have jumped on the opportunity, providing everything from construction materials to lighting solutions to the nation and we expect a large number to follow their example in the months and years ahead.

That’s why we here at Alibaba.com have taken steps to extend our reach into the Latin American nation so we can help small businesses inside and outside of Brazil to trade more easily with each other.

Alibaba has more than one million registered users in Brazil, while the number of monthly unique visits from the country have more than tripled in the past year. Now we are taking further steps to ensure that the platform encourages B2B buyers and sellers in Brazil to trade on an international level.

“They may not be aware that (overseas) sourcing can be easy and it does not have to be daunting,” Michael Lee, Director of Global Marketing for Alibaba.com, said. “We have the suppliers, variety of products and an array of value-added services that can help deliver the goods to the door.”

A helping hand

One of the most challenging aspects of trading with another country is getting to grips with the local regulations and customs, and in Brazil this can be particularly tricky given that there are no fewer than 26 administrative states, each with its own traditions and economic profiles.

The nation also has a complicated tax regime and regulatory framework, which although much improved in recent years still need to be approached with caution.

At a cultural level, business transactions often take a long time to process compared to European nations. Speaking to Cambridge Network, Chris Chapman, joint Managing Director of My Business FD, said: “We’ve already learned that nothing happens quickly in Brazil and what we here would constitute a ‘deal’ is nothing more than a reason to have another chat in a month’s time. That can be frustrating but you have to play the long game and invest time in a new territory and have belief that the rewards will come.”

To help overcome some of these issues, Alibaba is partnering with local companies in Brazil so we can use their local knowledge and expertise to help small businesses across the globe.

While the website features some Portuguese content already, we are currently working with native Portuguese speakers to create more high quality content, to make the site more accessible to businesses in Brazil.

In summary, the nation has excellent long-term growth prospects and will continue thriving long after the World Cup and Olympian athletes have gone home.