Rio de Janeiro to host Web Summit in bid to become a major tech hub

Technology conference Web Summit has announced that it will host a new event in Rio de Janeiro as the Brazilian city aims to become one of the most relevant tech hubs in Latin America.

The event will take place in May 2023 and is expected to attract more than 10,000 attendees at the conference center Riocentro as well as other parts of the city such as other venues such as a museum in the central area of the city.

The Dublin-based events firm said it received bids from several cities across Brazil and picked Rio as the host city for the event for a three-year period that could be extended. Senior Rio politicians attended Web Summit’s flagship conference last year to present a plan that included a fundraising strategy with the private sector to cover the event’s costs. Brazilian capitals such as Brasília and Porto Alegre also submitted bids.

According to the organizers, the Web Summit event in Rio is set to bring global business leaders and technology firms together in the city and contribute to “boosting the local economy and kickstarting the local technology ecosystem.” Home to approximately 500 tech startups, major companies founded in Rio include traveltech Hotel Urbano, e-commerce firm VTEX and edtech Descomplica.

“Brazil has a rapidly expanding tech and startup economy. It is home to 21 unicorn companies, and Rio de Janeiro’s reputation as a startup hub is gaining international recognition”, the company said in a statement.

According to Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes, the announcement is part of a broader plan to position Rio as a key technology hub in Latin America and to attract companies and business models to the city.

“Rio has always been the stage for important themes to the world. Now, once again, we will lead the region while bringing together the best companies, talents and investors to discuss technology and innovation”, Paes said.

In addition, the Rio mayor noted the event will help accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies from a public sector perspective, an example being the acceptance of cryptocurrency to pay for property tax form next year.

The Rio conference is Web Summit’s first event in Latin America and the first under the brand to take place outside Europe. The company’s other events include Collision in North America, RISE in Asia, and the flagship Web Summit, which takes place in Lisbon yearly in November.

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