Managers face hurdles in Brazil

Updated: 2015-01-26 06:23

By YANG YAO in Beijing(China Daily Latin America)

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As investment and trade between China and Brazil has risen over the years, so has the demand for professional Chinese managers in Brazil, said Yue Haiping, director general of the Association of Chinese Professional Managers in Brazil.

Having worked as a manager for Chinese companies in Sao Paulo, Yue served Gree Electric Company and Eletronicos Ipe (Ipe Electronics).

Yue believes that Chinese enterprises would have great development chances in Brazil in areas such as clean energy, farming, livestock, telecommunication and banking. However, Chinese managers in Brazil face big challenges and high costs.

"First, the logistics in Brazil is under-developed and the cost of transportation is quite high," he said, using Gree air conditioners an example.

"Our main market is in southeast Brazil, far away from our factory and there is no way to send the products directly from Sao Paulo to the clients," he said. "We have to transport the products to Sao Paulo first then send to customers. We calculated the cost and found that it is cheaper to send products from China to Sao Paulo than from our factories to Sao Paulo. You can't imagine how expensive the logistics are in Brazil."

Yue said another issue is the strict requirements of labor unions and labor laws, which are quite different from China.

"We started to build Gree factory in 2001. Striking is a huge thing here. Every year Brazil would publish inflation rates and work unions would require companies to raise salaries accordingly, which is very different from where I come from," he said.

"Also Brazilian tax is very complicated, which is another big challenge," he said.

Brazil is a federal state and has three levels of taxes - federal, state and city.

Yue said that many Chinese businessmen practice the Chinese way of doing business in Brazil, which does not work.

"There is no shortcut if you want to enter the Brazilian market," he said. "You need to really understand the country and culture in order to do well here."

He said that when he first came to Brazil, he used to keep in contact with clients via email, which he later found was not effective.

"The locals prefer face-to-face communication than emails or phone calls, I adjusted my communication methods accordingly," he said.

"Life pace is slower here, therefore if you hire locals, you also need to get used to their pace of life," Yue said. "Try to read more books about Brazil and learn its history, also it is not a bad idea to learn Samba to fit in."