The World Cup may be nearing its final stretch, but the business generated by the mega event will continue in the long term. The conclusion comes from the feedback received foreign investors and national exporters who participated in the events organized by the Apex-Brasil (Brazilian Agency for the Promotion of Exports and Investments) during the World Cup.
The Apex-Brasil has attracted more than 2,300 foreign businessmen to participate in business rounds, factory visits and meetings using the extra perk of bringing the guests to watch World Cup matches.
Antonio Romualdo da Silva, who represents Riclan (a Brazilian candy factory with over 70 years in the market), says that the initiative will help boost his brand in South Africa. “We brought two clients from Belgium and one from South African to get to know the Maracanã. They also visited our factory and had meetings with us, and we had the chance to showcase our product lines and new releases. We export a lot to these markets, and the initiative will help strengthen our brand," praised Silva.
For South African importer Harold Solomon, if Riclan grows, his business increases right alongside it. He sees many similarities in the tastes and markets of the 2010 and 2014 World Cup hosts. “The opportunity is good because I can speak face-to-face, not just via email, and strengthen the relationship. I can also understand and align our actions better. The scene in South Africa is similar to what we have here, with strong market and population growth levels. And the tastes are similar. Last year we had a special promotion in a large supermarket chain and sold two million units in 48 hours," he recalls.
Solomon added that the visibility brought by the World Cup 2010 created opportunities for the country. “The World Cup was important. We had a lot of visibility, South Africa was talked about for four years. There was a lot of investment and a lot of publicity of the country's image. People got to know us.
In Rio de Janeiro, the quarterfinals match between Germany and France was attended by 100 businessmen. The World Cup final match on 13 July will have 160 other business guests.
Apex-Brasil expects at least 20% growth in business with Bolivian entrepreneurs alone. Representatives from the country visited nine companies in Jundiaí, São Paulo, at the invitation of Astra (a Brazilian construction company). “We got to know a number of products. The company has grown, and I will be using some of their new releases. Bolivia is experiencing a boom in construction, as is the economy in South America," said importer Jorge Jauregui.
If it were not for this opportunity, it would have been unlikely for Jauregui to come to Brazil and create closer ties with Brazilian exporters. “I believe it would not have been possible for me to come. We have straightened relationships and made contacts, and I intend to increase sales. We closed deals with new products. I trade around US$ 200,000 every two months with Brazil, and I intend to increase that number," predicted Jauregui.
The list of Brazilian products placed in neighbouring markets is quite large, from building materials to coconut water. Peruvian Juan Llosa works with eight importing companies in the country, and saw a new market opportunity in the latter. “I got to know a number of new high-added value products and straightened ties with [the exporters of] those I had already knew so we could plan new market placements. I also saw one particular product with great potential for growth in the Peruvian market, which is coconut water. It is something we don't have there," he said.
Across the world
Brazil's image to the Japanese has changed over the last five years. This is the opinion of importer Jorge Imai, who represents 20 Brazilian companies (with products as diverse as crackers and cachaça) in the Asian country. “Brazil has many products of interest to Japan. Today the acceptance is different. The country's image has changed over the last five years. Brazil is no longer talked about only in terms of football and samba. People now speak of the economy", said the businessman, who plans to double the amount of imports from Brazil. He currently buys ten million dollars per year.
Rodrigo Solano, exports director of the Brazilian Association of the Chocolate, Cocoa, Peanut, Candy and Derivatives Industry (Abicab), praised the atmosphere created by Apex-Brasil's initiative. “Once we sat the greatest potential buyers with the most prepared salesmen, we created an excellent setting for generating business. The interest and willingness to buy from Brazilian companies is growing fast. We hope that initiatives like that can help push the trade balance in our industry to positive," he assessed.
Apex-Brasil expects to generate six billion dollars in business over the next 12 months with the initiative. The number is double the amount generated by the same initiative undertaken during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013. Foreign entrepreneurs are invited by Brazilian companies to come to a World Cup match. They arrive in Brazil four days before it, and attend meetings and business events in the days before the match.