SAP expands R&D center in Brazil with government support

The move is part of a partnership with the government to foster tech-based innovation in the country

Software giant SAP will expand its research and development facility in the south of Brazil as part of a partnership with the local government to stimulate tech-based innovation in the country.

The SAP R&D lab is based in São Leopoldo in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, where a significant slice of the population is of German descent. The company will invest a further R$60mi ($27mi) in the expansion of the facility, which should be finished this year. The R&D center already employs 500 people and the intention is to double that number by 2015.

The announcement is part of the Brazilian government's program to develop the local IT sector, TI Maior, where a key cornerstone is to provide incentives for companies to plough more resources in Brazil - the end goal being job creation in the sector, as well as a stronger pipeline of innovative, tech-based products and services.

As well as SAP, other companies have already set up R&D centers in Brazil, such as Microsoft, EMC and Intel (all based in Rio de Janeiro) - public and private investment combined in relation to those three centers alone is understood to be about R$700mi ($317mi).

The TI Maior program was launched in 2012 with a budget of R$486mi ($220mi) for initiatives including the launch of offices in important technology business hubs such as the Silicon Valley and a startup development plan.

The Brazilian government wants to place the country in fifth place in the global IT ranking by 2022. Another objective is increasing exports by a mltiple of eight, growing sector participation in the national GDP by 50 percent and nearly doubling the generation of skilled jobs in the field.