Manaus has seen the economic rise and falls. With the rubber boom giving it worldwide prominence and then bringing it into low economic times and the development of the industrial sector, it seems to be a city that can surely cope with the times.
The Rubber Boom
In the 19th century, Manaus was center of the state of Amazonas’s rubber boom. During this time it was considered as one of the most extravagant cities in the entire world. It brought the city much progress when the rubber industry enabled the erection of several luxury buildings, with marble, glass, and crystal incorporated. These buildings also had gilded balconies and vast domes which were very much like the ones in Europe during that time.
The most notable testimony of the city’s progress during the rubber boom is the Teatro Amazonas or Amazon Theatre. The theatre cost the city ten million dollars when it was constructed. The theatre opened to its first ever show, the Italian play La Gioconda, on January 7, 1987, and several years after that it was host to several shows from the different European opera groups and orchestras. The theatre was closed for almost 90 years but was restored to be a venue once again for cultural nights and to bring the city once again its worldwide prominence. The theatre now hosts the Festival Amazonas de Ópera or Amazonas Opera Festival every April.
Industrial Center of Amazonas
When the rubber boom declined, the city also went into an economic decline. This was changed when the Manaus started investing in the production of electronic goods. Now, the city is considered as the center of Amazonas’s Industrial economy. Manaus is the largest manufacturer of all the electronic goods in the whole region.
Nokia is one company that has a manufacturing plant in Manaus, making it one of the 15 overseas manufacturing plants of the company. The company is the biggest mobile phones manufacturers in the world. Aside from the manufacturing plant, Nokia also has a Research and Development facility, the Nokia Institute of Technology, located in Brazil.
BenQ-Siemens, the mobile communications arm of the Taiwanese BenQ Corp which acquired the mobile manufacturing unit of Siemens. It also holds a plant in Manaus. Others companies that have mobile phone producing plants in Manaus are Sagem and Gradiente.
Essilor, which is a French company based in Paris, is a producer of ophthalmic lenses and optical equipment. It is the fourth biggest medical equipment company in Europe and is regarded as the biggest ophthalmic producer in the world. Essilor also has a manufacturing plant located in Manaus.
Aside from mobile phone and ophthalmic lenses plants, Manaus is also home to a sport utility vehicle plant. The Amazon Veiculos is a Brazilian manufacturer of sports vehicle parts. In fact, it holds its headquarters in Manaus.