São Paulo, Brazil
Value Added Tax
➤ Brazil's VAT is levied at different rates depending on the jurisdiction, but averages 17 percent in São Paulo.
➤ A few products purchased in Brazil are exempt from VAT, but most products and services are subject to the tax.
➤ Venues in São Paulo use 110 volts and 220 volts.
➤ Electrical plugs have two circular prongs or two vertical blades, like U.S. plugs.
➤ A new type of electrical socket uses three round pins. To be on the safe side, bring the appropriate adapters from the U.S. instead of trying to locate them in Brazil.
➤ Many shows hire workers to remove debris during installation and dismantle, and any fees are included in the overall cost of your booth space.
➤ Daily trash service can be ordered from show management or contracted separately if necessary.
➤ Exhibit builders typically charge a flat fee for booth disposal. The price varies depending on materials and booth size.
➤ Purchasing a Brazilian SIM card for your phone is a good option if you won't need a local number.
➤ Temporary cell phones can be rented in São Paulo, but it is typically cheaper to simply purchase a disposable phone with preloaded minutes.
➤ Exhibitors who play music in their booths are generally expected to pay royalties.
➤ The Central Bureau of Collection and Distribution, aka ECAD (www.ecad.org.br
), is the association in charge of music copyrights. Show organizers are responsible for enforcement in exhibit halls.
➤ Smoking is illegal inside public spaces.
➤ Beginning in February 2008, it became illegal to smoke in bars, night clubs, and restaurants.
➤ Dial 190 for the police.
➤ Dial 193 for the fire department.
➤ Dial 192 for medical assistance.
Greetings and Culture
➤ Handshakes are common in Brazil, along with verbal greetings such as "Tudo bem?" ("Is everything fine?"), "Como Vai?" ("How are you?"), or "Oi," ("Hello").
➤ You will be expected to shake hands with everyone in a group both when saying hello and when saying goodbye.
➤ In casual or social settings, it is customary for women to kiss each other on both cheeks, and for men to kiss women on one cheek.
➤ Brazilians tend to be relatively open people, and as such, a personal relationship helps foster a business one.
➤ Large exhibits usually feature bars with seating areas, high bistro tables with stools, or lounge areas, though even small exhibits typically offer some form of hospitality. Small exhibits might offer light snacks, hot and cold beverages, and sweet treats, while larger displays may also provide sandwiches, hors d'oeuvres, and desserts.
➤ Alcohol is frequently served, and many exhibitors offer beer, wine, whisky, and/or Caipirinha in their booths. No special permits are required to serve alcohol to attendees on the trade show floor.
➤ Dinner meetings are common, but the Brazilian dinner hour starts at 8 p.m., and meals in São Paulo can stretch on for hours.
➤ Portuguese is the primary language in São Paulo. A translator who speaks Portuguese, Spanish, and English is recommended.
➤ Signs and literature should be printed in Portuguese, while business cards should have both English and Portuguese.
➤ Suits are still the most common attire, though neckties are becoming scarce on the show floor.
➤ Casual dress is increasingly popular at trade shows, but wearing sneakers is not considered appropriate. Women should avoid short skirts or plunging necklines.
Installation and Dismantle
➤ Exhibitors are not required to use union workers, so labor is generally cheap. However, the quality of labor can vary greatly, so make arrangements through an exhibit house.
➤ Brazil's free-spirit attitude can be reflected in its work ethic. Allow plenty of time and on-site supervision if you're using local labor for booth construction.
➤ Most labor is contracted for the whole project, rather than per hour.
➤ Employ Brazilians who have a signed contract with the exhibit house, the show organizer, or a work agency.
General Facts and Tips
➤ Taxis are plentiful, but insist the driver turn on the meter - do not accept fixed rates, as that is not how taxis are supposed to levy fees, and you will likely be overcharged.
➤ The vibrant west zone of the city, which is about a 30-minute taxi ride from the main venues, offers activity 24 hours a day and features the city's largest shopping district.
➤ It is common in Brazilian culture to be late for and appointment by 20 or 30 minutes. So even if you have set meetings with clients and prospects, be prepared to wait.
➤ Don't refer to the United States as America; Brazilians consider themselves Americans as well.
➤ Air conditioning is not always provided in the exhibit hall.
➤ Fire marshals and venue personnel are responsible for enforcing all safety rules and regulations.
➤ Double-deck exhibits must be approved prior to the show. Check your exhibitor guide for deadlines.
➤ Safety regulations are not as strictly enforced in Brazil, so exhibit designs that would be acceptable in the United States should easily pass Brazilian inspections.
Venues and Resources
➤ Anhembi Parque is one of the largest convention centers in Latin America with 1.3 million square feet of show/meeting space.
➤ Expo Center Norte Exhibition and Convention Center has 322,000 square feet of exhibit and/or meeting space.
➤ Centro de Exposições Imigrantes and Transamerica Expo Center are both near Congonhas Airport.
➤ São Paulo Convention and Visitors Bureau: www.spcvb.com.br
Rajeev Anand, director, TSI Displays Pvt., New Delhi; Brian Belanger, vice president, Exhibit Connections Ltd., Toronto; Erika Boelling, partner, GK+A International Exhibit Management Inc., Toronto; Mary Buffa, senior account executive, Skyline Exhibits, Mississauga, ON, Canada; Anselmo Carvalho, principal, Feira & Cia Group, São Paulo; Andrew Childers, vice president of strategy and communications, Green Park Global LLC, St. George, UT; Arindam Dasgupta, deputy general manager, Insta Group, Mumbai, India; Monika Detemple, director of sales and marketing/international projects, ExpoHouse International Stand Promocionais Ltda., Sao Paulo; Christopher Dorn, president, Idea International Inc., Tokyo; Ben Einer, president, international, EWI Worldwide, Hamburg, Germany; Gloria Guevara, executive director, International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services, Brussels; Tyler Johnson, international department director, Art Space Expo Services Co. Ltd., Shanghai; Oben Karatepe, CEO, Tasarimhane Yapi Dekorasyon Ltd., Istanbul; Shirley Li, general manager Shanghai office, EWI Worldwide, Shanghai; Kris Malmberg, sales and marketing vice president, Pico North America, Chicago; Gino Pellegrini, president, InterGlobal Exhibitions, Denver; Stephen Riches, vice president of global sales, Astound Group, Oakville, ON, Canada; Kadir Kaan Ekerciler, freelance B2B communication specialist, Istanbul; Kelli Steckbauer, director of global business, MG Design Associates Corp., Chicago; Jeannine Swan, president, Global Exhibit Management, Fort Worth, TX; Liese Tamburrino, CEO, Green Park Global LLC, Las Vegas; Roberto Telleria, international sales and marketing manager, Skyline Exhibits, Orlando, FL; Jenny Town, general manager assistant, Skyline Exhibits, Shanghai; Xiaoyang Wang, general manager, Skyline Exhibits, Shanghai