Microsoft envisions Rio de Janeiro as technology hub

 Microsoft aims to create a "technology hub" in Rio de Janeiro, the head of the US software giant's Brazil division said here Thursday.

"We hope to stimulate a flow of knowledge among the Microsoft research teams, local universities, emerging firms and the Brazilian market," Michel Levy told a press conference a day after the company announced plans for a 200 million reais ($100 million) research center in a city better known for beaches and its annual Carnival.

The Advanced Technology Laboratory in Rio will be Microsoft's fourth such facility worldwide and its first in Latin America.

The complex will also house an accelerator for business startups and a local operations center for the company's Bing search engine, Microsoft said.

Every two years, the accelerator will select 15 Internet startups to receive administrative, technological and financial support. Each firm will be eligible for financing up to 1 million reais ($500,000).

Though the laboratory will not be ready before the end of next year, the Microsoft business accelerator is due to become operational by the second quarter of 2013.

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