São Paulo Mayor seeks backing to build local "Silicon Valley"

João Doria wants private sector support to develop an innovation cluster in the Brazilian city.

São Paulo Mayor João Doria is looking for support from technology giants for his project to build a local version of the Silicon Valley.

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Under the project, provisionally named International Center of Technology and Innovation (Citi), the innovation center would include incubators, research centers and universities, as well as residential areas for entrepreneurs.

Citi would be created in a region on the fringes of the sprawling metropolis, on a site where São Paulo's main produce wholesale market, Ceagesp, is currently located.

According to the Mayor's Office, companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM and Cisco have been approached to provide support to the project, which is intended to be the largest technology innovation cluster in Latin America.

Mayor Doria, a businessman turned politician, has sought to be close to with the local technology supplier community to back his smart city vision for São Paulo.

Examples of partnerships with large tech companies with the Mayor's Office so far include the relationship with Cisco, who has donated more than several million dollars to the city to go towards the digitization in schools.

A rollout of 10,000 surveillance cameras was also introduced by the Doria administration as a means to improve public security. The cameras are linked to Detecta, a monitoring system provided by Microsoft used by São Paulo's military police.