Welcome to Rio de Janeiro, USA

“He extracted his first million from lawless goldmines deep in the Amazon jungle and went on to become Brazil’s richest man, a smooth-talking mining and energy tycoon who keeps a Mercedes-Benz SLR in his sitting room as a symbol of his $27bn (£17bn) empire.

Now, with Rio de Janeiro gearing up for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, Brazilian entrepreneur Eike Batista has set himself two new goals: to help transform his adoptive beachside home into one of the world’s most dynamic and affluent cities, and to become the richest man on Earth.

“Mister Carlos Slim has to invent a new race kart to catch up,” said the 53-year-old, referring to the Mexican telecoms billionaire rated by Forbes as the world’s wealthiest person. Batista is currently eighth.

Batista’s companies, controlled by a holding group called EBX – the X a reference to multiplying profit – plan to pump nearly £13bn into Rio state over the next two years, constructing ports and factories, and drilling for oil.

“If I look at Rio 10, 15 years out it is going to be unbelievable,” he said, describing the city’s future as a mix of California, New York and Houston, combining stunning beaches and natural beauty with financial clout and ultra-modern architecture.

He is also working on plans to build, from scratch, “a super-modern, digital city” for about 250,000 people. The city, to be erected around150 miles from the state capital and designed by the Brazilian architect and urban planner Jaime Lerner, will be called Cidade X.

The billionaire’s Rio projects involve cleaning up the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, running a luxury cruise ship for tourists, revamping the city’s marina and restoring a traditional hotel, which like much of Rio has fallen on hard times in recent decades as growing violence triggered a crippling economic exodus.” – Guardian (more)


4 thoughts on “Welcome to Rio de Janeiro, USA

  1. Didn’t this guy just say he hires like 90% American b/c Brazilians don’t have the education or skill to get the higher level jobs. Wouldn’t this money be better spent on educating the population so the wages stay in Brazil instead making Brazil look even better than it already does?

    • Not sure on the hiring percentage but I do remember him saying he hires American engineers. Someone should apply the “Made in Brazil” tag to employment, too.

    • Yeah, but have you noticed that he wants Rio to be a modern, stunning city? Rio. It doesn’t imply that cariocas will develop too.

      And we’ll have, instead of already so-called “divided city” (Ventura), a “cidade tripartida”, with the mysterious City X. Anther Jetsons-project?

  2. Eike Batista is a great character, a true nationalist. While many brazilian enterpreneurs invested their money abroad during the 90’s economic crisis, he chose to invest here in Brazil and his persistence worth it. Now he is a fuc**** billionaire!

    About the “90%” americans, that’s just rubbish. What I remember he said, in the “60 Minutes” about Brazil’s economical boom (search on youtube) is that we had a high skilled labor deficet and he had to hire “some” north-american engineers to his oil company. It’s probably true, but the fact is that he might have exagerated a bit, just out of pride.

    Now USA faces one of the worst economical moments of its history, any rich brazilian in our current situation would like to brag about about our prosperity: “look, I’m even hiring lot’s of americans”.

    Our educational problem is real, but we are changing rapidly, over the last 8 years under Lula 14 new federal universities were created (total: 63) and 114 new technological centers (total: 380), not to mention the ever growing private colleges and schools…

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