Brazil is showing the world the potential of the Brazilian building industry. A group of 29 companies from the country are participating as exhibitors in the world's third largest fair in the building sector, the Big 5 Show, which starts this Sunday, November 25, and ends on Thursday, November 29, at the Dubai's World Trade Center, in the United Arab Emirates.
Brazilian company participation in the fair is organized by the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) and the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. The stand covers an area of 480 square meters (5,200 square feet).
"This is a unique opportunity to make contact, not just with the Emirates, but also with the whole of the Gulf and countries like India, Pakistan, Russia, the Ukraine and Iran," says the secretary general at the Arab Brazilian Chamber, Michel Alaby, who is participating in the fair together with Chamber president Antonio Sarkis Jr., the Marketing vice president at the organization, Rubens Hannun, and director Wladimir Rafik Freua.
Participation in the fair is taking place together with a trade mission to the Gulf, which began on November 18 and has already visited Kuwait, Qatar and is now in the Emirates.
Among the Brazilian exhibitors, some of which also participated in the activities of the delegation, the forecast is to close deals and also find partners for the distribution of products in the region.
"Our expectation is to make contact with construction companies and also to find a distributor to bring our kits of profiles here," stated Sylvio Zuim Júnior, industrial manager at Grávia, a company from the midwestern Brazilian state of Goiás that is going to show profiles and lighting products at the Big 5 Show.
The company wants to export disassembled doors and windows to the Arab world. The intention is for them to be assembled by a local partner for later distribution.
At the fair, Docol Metais Sanitários is going to show products that are appropriate for the luxury developments that are going up in the Gulf. There are products like taps, towel hangers and shower heads with Swarowzki crystals.
The foreign business manager at the company, Antonio Alves Pereira Júnior, also believes that the local market will accept products for automatic tap closing well, as water is a scarce resource in the region, so the company is also going to exhibit that kind of product. Docol also wants to find a distributor in Dubai. In the Arab world, the company already has one in Algeria.
Another enterprise that intends to enter the Gulf market after participating in the Big 5 Show is Araupel, from the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. The company makes wood frames for doors and windows, ceilings and picture frames, among others.
Araupel produces the articles out of reforestation pine wood and Brazil pine and exports 150 containers a month. Almost all of the company's produce is sold on the foreign market.
The company has not yet, however, entered the Arab market. Araupel is also starting to develop the Brazilian market now. In Brazil most of what they sell is forestry residue, which generates revenues of 700,000 Brazilian reais (US$ 390,000) a month for the company.
The Brazilian space also includes products like ceramics, mosaics, glass, marble, granite, profiles, tools and cooking equipment from several regions of the country. Across from many entrances into the World Trade Center, where the fair is taking place, banners with the Brazil Brand announce the country's presence.
They are part of an Apex-Brasil campaign showing Brazilian products as a new alternative. The stand was designed to present an image of a "productive Brazil", according to architect Ivan Rezende, who developed the space. It has been set out like a large square, with stands of each company on the sides.
Apex-Brasil estimates that the business volume generated during the fair should reach US$ 8 million, with another US$ 25 million in the following 12 months. According to Alaby, the history of Brazilian participation in the fair has been one of business generation.
"Apart from that, the objective behind participation in the fair is also seeing what the competitors are doing and checking out technological tendencies and prices," pointed out Alaby. The two largest fairs in the sector take place in Germany and the United States.
On the shelves of supermarket Carrefour, at the Emirates Shopping Mall, in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, most of the shoes for sale are of Chinese origin. The supermarket's clothing section, in which low pricing is the high point, does not offer Brazilian shoes.
Not very far from there, however, at the Ibn Batuta Shopping Mall, in a store for the higher purchasing power public, one can find shoes labelled "made in Brazil". In the Prince Shoes store at Ibn Batuta, as well as in 14 other stores owned by the chain in the Emirates, men's and women's shoes share space in the shelves with products by European companies.
Prince Shoes does not commercialize Chinese shoes, according to information given its owner, Bharat Dharamsi. The chain sells mostly European shoes, from Italy and Germany. Brands include the Italian Freemood and the German Rieker.
Approximately two years ago, Prince Shoes also began to sell Brazilian products. "Brazilian shoes are quality products, and the pricing is slightly lower than that of European shoes," said Dharamsi.
Approximately 20% of the shoes imported by the company are Brazilian, according to the businessman. "The customers like the shoes, they come back for more," the businessman asserts.
The brands that Prince sells are Democrata, for men's shoes, and Schutz, for women's. Both are leather shoe manufacturers. Democrata is based in the city of Franca, in the interior of the southeastern Brazilian state of São Paulo, and was established since 1984. It is the leading men's leather shoes brand in Brazil.
The company makes 9,000 pairs of shoes per day and exports to 60 companies in America, Europe and Asia. Schutz is a company that originated in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, but its factories are currently installed in the city of Campo Bom, in the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. Schutz was founded in 1995, initially turned to men's shoes, but nowadays it also makes women's shoes.
The pricing of Brazilian shoes, according to Dharamsi, is in the intermediate range. The secretary-general at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, Michel Alaby, claims that there is more space available for Brazilian shoes, but only to those that have quality and design, and which offer differentials.
Alaby states that average consumption for men's shoes, per family, in the Gulf, is four pairs per year. The region, according to the secretary-general, imports a total of US$ 700 million in shoes per year. Alaby believes that there is no room for shoes made in Brazil in the C and D consumer categories (of lower purchasing power), due to competition with Asian countries.
The United Arab Emirates were the leading Gulf country in imports of Brazilian shoes from January to October of this year. Foreign sales totaled 904,000 pairs, resulting in revenues of US$ 11.2 billion to the Brazilian factories.
In the whole of last year, imports of shoes made in Brazil by the United Arab Emirates stood at US$ 15.5 million, at 1,498 pairs. In fact, the country purchases nearly half the shoes that Brazil sells to the Arab world. In the first ten months of the current year, the country exported to the Arabs US$ 24.39 million in shoes.
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