- Associated Press - Thursday, November 8, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Microsoft says it is investing $100 million in a new technology center in Rio de Janeiro.

The center is to house an advanced technology laboratory, a research and development platform for the company’s Bing search engine, as well as a business incubator aimed at promoting local Internet technology startups.

It will be housed in an abandoned 18th century building, once Rio’s first gas factory, in the city’s downtown port, a now shabby district undergoing a vast makeover ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games.

Local officials speaking at a news conference where the project was unveiled on Thursday expressed hopes that Microsoft’s investment would mark a turning point in their efforts to transform Rio into an IT hub, much like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or Berlin.