By: Julio Cesar Faleiro, Senior Engineer, Pro QC International
São Paulo is often referred to as the economic heart of Latin America. History, culture, economics and politics, combined with a great mix of nationalities, have built one of the most powerful cities in the world. The city, which is also colloquially known as "Sampa" or "Cidade da Garoa" (City of Drizzle), is also known for its unreliable weather, the size of its helicopter fleet, its architecture, gastronomy, severe traffic congestion, and a multitude of skyscrapers.
The nonspecific term "Grande São Paulo" ("Greater São Paulo") denotes any of São Paulo's metropolitan area definitions. The legally defined Região Metropolitana de São Paulo consists of 39 municipalities in total, with a population of over 19 million. According to Mercer's 2011 city rankings of cost of living for expatriate employees, São Paulo is now among the ten most expensive cities in the world, ranking in 10th place in 2011, ahead of London, Paris, Milan, and New York City.
São Paulo has the largest economy by GDP among Latin American and Brazilian cities. Its GDP per capita is the second highest among the larger Latin American cities, as well as in Brazil. It's also fantastic to know that São Paulo has the largest concentration of German businesses worldwide and also is considered the largest Swedish industrial hub alongside Gothenburg.
The metropolis has significant cultural, economic and political influence both nationally and internationally. It houses several important monuments, parks and museums, such as the Latin American Memorial, the Museum of the Portuguese Language, São Paulo Museum of Art, Museaum of Ipiranga, and the Ibirapuera Park. Paulista Avenue is the most important financial center of São Paulo. The city holds many high profile events, such as the São Paulo Art Biennial, the Brazil Grand Prix Formula 1 São Paulo, São Paulo Fashion Week, ATP Brasil Open, and the São Paulo Indy 300.
São Paulo's economy is going through a deep transformation. Once a city with a strong industrial character, São Paulo's economy has become increasingly based on the tertiary sector, focusing on services and businesses for the country. The city is also unique among Brazilian cities for its large number of foreign corporations. Despite being the most important financial centre of the country, São Paulo presents a high degree of informality in its economy.
Due to the intense traffic jams on the roads, São Paulo has become the city with the highest number of helicopters in the world. With 462 private helicopters in 2008 and around 70,000 flights per year within central São Paulo, the city is turning into a real life South-American episode of "The Jetsons.”
Helicopters enable professionals to sharply reduce their commuting time, at least to their most important meetings and conferences. They are also used to bring executives in from their homes in distant parts of the greater metropolitan area and back to them at the end of the week. Some companies own their helicopters, others lease them, and still others use helicopter taxi services. One suburban helicopter shuttle service, located about 15 miles (24 km) from the center of the city in a suburb called Tamboré, is unique in the sense that it is owned and operated by women.
The economic center of Brazil, São Paulo can offer many choices for places to stay, eat and stop for a drink. Personal recommendations include:
In Brazil, we say that you can find everything you want in São Paulo. Culinary delights from every country can be found in this incredible city, the weather is pleasant and the local people are very friendly and open-minded.