The Industrial Space in Brazil

For some time now, industries have been conquering their space in Brazil, becoming one of the most basic elements in a given region. Bringing with it, always a striking feature, CHANGE, whatever it may be, both in culture and in the economy or even in the space it occupies and the impact it will cause on your environment.

Next, we will see a little more about these industries, how and why, that a place that includes one or several industries changes, and changes the lives of its population; how the means of transport and communication can influence the industrialization of a given region.

Why do industries tend to be more concentrated in a particular region? What is the development of a less industrialized region like? These and other issues will be addressed below, with the main objective of making the role of this giant called INDUSTRY better understood!


Industrial activity, highly concentrated in the Brazilian Southeast, for some time now, has been better distributed among the various regions of the country. Currently, following a global trend, Brazil is going through a process of industrial decentralization, called by some authors of deindustrialization, which has been taking place intra-regionally and also between regions.

Within the Southeast Region, there is a tendency for ABCD Paulista to leave, seeking lower production costs in the interior of São Paulo, in the Paraíba Valley along the Fernão Dias Highway, which connects São Paulo to Belo Horizonte. These areas offer, in addition to tax incentives, lower labor costs, less congested transport and, as they are medium-sized cities, better quality of life, which is vital when it comes to technopoles.

Industrial deconcentration between regions has determined the growth of medium-sized cities endowed with good infrastructure and training centers for skilled labor, generally universities. In addition, there is a movement of traditional industries, with intensive use of labor, such as footwear and clothing to the Northeast, attracted above all by extremely cheap labor.


According to THEMAKEUPEXPLORER, the spatial distribution of the Brazilian industry, with a strong concentration in São Paulo , was determined by the historical process, since at the time of the beginning of the effective industrialization, the state had, due to coffee growing, the main factors for the installation of industries, namely: capital, consumer market, labor and transport.

In addition, state action through various government plans, such as the Plano de Metas, accentuated this concentration in the Southeast, highlighting once again São Paulo. From this industrial process and its concentration, Brazil, which did not have an integrated national geographic space, having an economic archipelago structure with several disjointed areas, becomes integrated. This integration reflects our inter-regional division of labor, typically being center-periphery, that is, with the Southeast region polarizing the others.

As in other industrialized countries, Brazil has a large spatial concentration of industry in the Southeast. Industrial concentration in the Southeast is greater in the State of São Paulo, for historical reasons. The industrialization process, however, did not reach the entire Southeast region, which produced differentiated geographic spaces and great inequalities within the region itself. The city of São Paulo, the ABCD (Santo André, São Bernardo do Campo, São Caetano and Diadema) and nearby centers such as Campinas, Jundiaí and São José dos Campos have an industrial super concentration, elaborating geographic spaces integrated to the metropolitan region of São Paulo .This area became the center of industrialization, which expanded in the following directions: towards Baixada Santista, towards the region of Sorocaba,



As previously described, the Southeast is the region with the highest industrial concentration in the country.

In this area, the main types of industries are: automobile, petrochemical, chemical products, food, non-metallic minerals, textiles, clothing, metallurgy, mechanics, etc. It is a polyindustrial center, characterized by variety and production volume.

Several multinational companies operate in the automotive, machinery and engine, chemical, petrochemical, etc. sectors. Government companies operate mainly in the steel industry. Oil and metallurgy, while national companies occupy diversified areas.

The great interest of multinational companies is mainly for cheaper labor, the strong consumer market and the export of industrial products at lower prices. Anyone who observes the departure of ships from the ports of Santos and Rio de Janeiro has the opportunity to see how many industrial products leave Brazil for other countries. And here comes the question: who gets the profit from these operations? Is it left to the workers who produced them?

The city of Rio de Janeiro, characterized for a long time as the administrative capital of Brazil until the creation of Brasília, also has a large industrial park. However, it does not have the same high production and concentration characteristics as São Paulo. It is also made up of companies of various types, especially the oil refining industries, shipyards, transport material industry, weaving, metallurgy, paper, textile, clothing, food, etc.

Minas Gerais, linked to mining in the past, assumed importance in the metallurgical sector after World War II and started to produce mainly steel, pig iron and cement for the main factories in the Southeast. Belo Horizonte has become a diversified industrial center, with industries ranging from extractivism to the automobile sector.

In addition to the triangle São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, there are other industrial areas in the Southeast, most of which are directly linked to some product or to the occurrence of raw materials . This is the case of Volta Redonda, Ipatinga, Timóteo, João Monlevade and Ouro Branco, among others, linked to the steel industry. Other industrial centers are linked to local production, such as Campos and Macaé (sugar and alcohol), Três Corações, Araxá and Itaperuna( milk and dairy products), Franca and Nova Serrana (shoes), Araguari and Uberlândia (cereals), etc.

The state of Espírito Santo is the least industrialized in the Southeast, having specialized industrial centers such as: Aracruz, Ibiraçu, Cachoeiro de Itapemirim

Vitória, the state capital, has diversified economic activities, related to its port situation and the industries linked to the Tubarão steel plant.

In the Southeast, other activities are closely linked to urban and industrial life: commerce, public service, liberal professionals, education, banking, communication, transport, etc. The bigger the city, the greater variety of professionals are linked to urban activities.

As the largest industrial production in the country is concentrated between São Paulo, Rio and Belo Horizonte, the movement of people and goods is very intense in the region. Thousands of people are involved in the marketing, transport and distribution of products intended for industrialization, domestic consumption or export. Also considered the cultural center of the country, the region has a vast network of services in all areas, with great expansion capacity, thanks to the growth of its cities.


The industrialization of the South is closely linked to agrarian production and within the regional division of labor it seeks to supply the domestic market and exports.

The immigrant was a very important element in the beginning of industrialization as a consumer market and in the industrial process of agricultural products, often in a family and artisanal structure.

The industrialization of São Paulo implied the incorporation of the southern space as a source of raw material . It also implied the inability of the southern industries, which began to export their traditional products, such as shoes and food products, abroad to compete. With the spatial transformations caused by the expansion of soy, the South started to have foreign investments in agricultural implement industries.

The industry began to diversify to produce intermediate goods for industries in São Paulo. In this sense, the south started to complement the production of the Southeast. Hence, we consider the South as a sub-region of the Center-South.

Aiming at the Brazilian integration with the Mercosur countries , the Southern industry has companies in the petrochemical, carbochemical, steel and cutting-edge industries (computers and fine chemicals).

The reorganization and modernization of industry in the south also requires a national policy that makes it possible to take advantage of the possibilities of integration of agriculture and industry, to the implementation and growth of the production of capital goods (machines, equipment), from high-end industries in conditions competition with the industries of São Paulo.

North East:

The industrialization of this region has been changing, modernizing, but it suffers from competition with the industries of the Center-South, mainly in São Paulo, which use technologically more sophisticated machinery.

The sugar industry is one of the most important, mainly aimed at exporting sugar and alcohol.

Industries continue the trend of intensifying production linked to agriculture (food, textiles, beverages) and new metallurgical, chemical, mechanical and other industries.

Oil exploration in the Recôncavo Baiano brought to the region industries linked to the refining production and use of oil derivatives.

This new industry, with high technology and intense capital, does not absorb the labor that becomes underemployed in the service area or becomes unemployed.

The industries are concentrated in the hands of a few entrepreneurs and the salaries paid are very low, leading to the impoverishment of the working population.

The industrial system in the Northeast, concentrated in the Zona da Mata, has little internal integration. It is found only in a few scattered points and is mainly concentrated in the metropolitan regions: Recife, Salvador and Fortaleza.

With a view to the Federal Government’s policy for the Export Corridors Program, established at the end of the 70’s to meet the flow of production destined for the foreign market, works were carried out in the sugar terminals in the ports of Recife and Maceió.

The road network is more integrated with other regions than within the Northeast itself. The construction of the highway, connecting the Northeast (Zona da Mata) to the Southeast and the South, made it possible to supply the Northeast with industrialized products in the Southeast and the displacement of the Northeastern population towards the east.


In the 1960s, industrialization at the national level acquires new standards. The agricultural machinery and input industries, located in the Southeast, had a certain consumer market in the Center-West, by encouraging the cultivation of export products in large mechanized areas.

From the 70s onwards, the Federal Government implemented a new economic policy aimed at exports. In order to meet the Brazilian economic needs and its participation in the international division of labor, the Midwest would be responsible for the role of grain and meat producer for export.

With all this, the Midwest became the second region in cattle breeding in the country, this being the most important economic activity in the sub-region. Its meat production is aimed at the domestic and foreign market.

There are large slaughterhouses and slaughterhouses that industrialize export products. The regional supply is made by medium-sized slaughterhouses and municipal slaughterhouses, in addition to clandestine slaughters that do not undergo inspection by the Federal Inspection Service.

Its industrialization is based on the processing of raw materials and cereals, in addition to the slaughter of cattle, which contributes to the greater value of its industrial production. The other industrial activities are focused on the production of consumer goods, such as food, furniture, etc. The food industry, from 1990 onwards, started to establish itself in the poles that produce raw materials, causing an advance in the agribusiness in the Center-West region. CEVAL, installed in Dourados MS, for example, already processes 50% of the soy in the area itself.

In the state of Goiás, for example, there are industries in Goiânia, Anápolis, Itumbiara, Pires do rio, Catalão, Goianésia and Ceres. Goiânia and Anápolis, located in the region’s area of ​​greatest economic development, are the most significant industrial centers, thanks to their consumer market, which stimulates industrial development.

While other areas have industries related to food products, non-metallic minerals and wood, this area has a certain industrial diversification. However, food products represent the highest value of industrial production.


The industrial activity in the North is not very expressive, if compared to other Brazilian regions. However, the investments applied, mainly in the last decades, in the area of ​​transport, communications and energy made possible to some areas the growth in the industrial sector, aiming at the exportation.

Most of the industries are located close to the source of raw materials such as mineral and wood extraction, with little processing of the products.

The regional agribusiness is basically dedicated to the processing of various raw materials, highlighting the production of dairy products; the processing of meat, bones and leather; the preservation of fish, by freezing, smoking, salting, canning; the extraction of fruit juice; crushing seeds to make oils; the distillation of forest essences; pressing of jute, etc. Such activities, in addition to increasing the final value of the raw material, generate jobs.

The main industrial regions are Belém and Manaus. In the Amazon, the creation of large industrial areas does not happen as in the Center-South region of the country.

Further on, we will see about the creation of the Manaus Free Trade Zone.


It is well known to all of us that when an industry is implemented in a certain region, several changes happen, among them, changes in geographic space, cultural changes, and mainly, changes in the economy.

The establishment of an industry modifies the culture, as a work that was performed by the people by hand, and regarded as a tradition, gives its place, often to heavy machines, which perform alone and in a short time, the service that often , was performed by several people and over a much longer period of time. Thus, thousands of jobs were extinguished, increasing the number of informal jobs that emerged in this region.

In addition to changes in culture and economy, there are also changes in geographic space: in some cases, industries are implemented, without further evaluation of the damage they could cause, causing very serious consequences later on.


The ZFM was created in 1957 originally through Law 3173 with the objective of establishing a warehouse in Manaus for the processing of products for subsequent export. In 1967, ZFM was directly subordinated to the Ministry of the Interior, through SUFRAMA (by Decree-Law No. 288). The decree established incentives effective until 1997.

Throughout the 70s, tax incentives attracted investments to ZFM from national and foreign companies previously installed in southern Brazil, as well as investments from new ET, mainly from the consumer electronics industry. In the 1980s, the National IT Policy prevented the production of computers and peripherals and telecommunications equipment from moving to Manaus and ZFM kept only the consumer segment of the electronics industry.

The 1988 Constitution extended the validity of federal tax incentives for ZFM until 2013, but with the opening of the economy in the 1990s, these incentives lost effectiveness. Simultaneously, products manufactured at ZFM began to face competition from imported products in the Brazilian domestic market. Companies established in Manaus promoted a strong adjustment with a reduction in employment and an increase in the imported content of final products.


The means of transport, communication and commerce are the crucial factors for the implantation of an industry in a certain region.

In order to be considered strategic for the implementation of an industry, a location must have easy access to highways, which transport its production to the various regions of the country and to ports, aiming at exporting.

The means of communication are also vital, so that the necessary contacts are made to close big deals, aiming to obtain higher profits, for the growth of the industry, the updating of knowledge and the speed of communication.

Trade is also very important, because for something to be produced, there must be a market for this product, and trade plays the role of intermediary between the producer and the final consumer.


The capitalist economies had, from the post-war until the mid-1970s, one of the phases of greatest expansion and transformation of the productive structure, under the aegis of the industrial sector. This expansion was led by two large subsectors: metal-mechanical (automotive, capital goods and consumer durables) and chemical (especially petrochemical).

The rapid implementation of the international industrial matrix in Brazil internalized the productive vectors of chemical-petrochemicals, metal-mechanics, the transport material industry, the wood industry, paper and cellulose and non-metallic minerals, all with a strong load of impact on the environment.

In general, and abstracting from the characteristics of each ecosystem, the impact of the industrial sector on the environment depends on three major factors: the nature of the industry structure in different relationships with the natural environment; the intensive and spatial concentration of genres and industrial branches; and the technological standard of the production process – technologies for filtering and processing effluents, in addition to the economic reuse of by-products.

Massive and late industrialization incorporated advanced technological standards for the national base, but outdated with regard to the environment, with few technological elements for treatment, recycling and reprocessing.

While Brazil begins to make adjustments in the profile of the national industry, the world economy is entering a new cycle of technological paradigm. Unlike the post-war industrialization, which heavily consumes natural resources – raw materials, “commodities” and energy, the new pattern of growth tends to a high demand for information and knowledge with a relative decrease in the “consumption” of environmental and “production” of polluting effluents.

The Industrial Space in Brazil


An industry in a certain region can be beneficial as well as harmful, since at the same time it contributes to growth, it may be carrying out the massification of a people’s culture.

Often, the natural damage caused by an environmental accident, with an industry as the protagonist, may never be reviewed again, killing entire ecosystems, a loss without recovery.

An industry can also strongly contribute to the development of the population, generating countless direct and indirect jobs.

Could it be that humanity could live without comfort and technology nowadays? Without a cell phone or a computer, or even a television or radio?

What if the car didn’t exist? Or even you couldn’t even dream of taking the bus to work, had to go by ox cart? Anyway, the world wouldn’t be the same without its industrialized products!