Recife has an area dedicated to information technology called “Porto Digital” (Digital Port) made up of more than 200 companies and 6,500 high tech jobs. It was founded in July 2000 and has since attracted major investments. Generating R$1 billion a year, it produces technology that is exported to Japan, China, among other countries. Software manufacturing is the main activity in the Porto Digital. The Porto Digital cluster comprises small and median companies, but multinationals like Accenture, Motorola, Samsung, Dell and Sun Microsystems are also installed in Porto Digital. IBM and Microsoft have also transferred their regional headquarters to Recife.
Porto Digital’s startups can count on a ready pool of talent, courtesy of the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), which boasts one of the best computer-science departments in all of Latin America. The school began teaching programmers to use Sun Microsystems’ (SUNW) Java language in 1996, the year it was introduced. Professors at the school also teamed up to launch Centro de Estudos e Sistemas Avançados do Recife (C.E.S.A.R), a business incubator that has played a vital role in the birth of some 30 companies.