Apple and Foxconn are continuing to work on bringing that $12.5 billion iPad plant in Brazil online (there have been no iPads “Made in Brazil” seen yet, unlike iPhones). Meanwhile, the country’s Secretary of Planning and Development of the State of São Paulo Julio Semeghini revealed today that Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer will build up to five factories in Brazil with a thousand employees each.
According to a local report by Folha.com, Foxconn of Taiwan (also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.,) will leverage the additional plants to build notebooks and PCs, electronic components, connectors, batteries and precision machine elements. The plants should be located in Jundiai; São Paulo and business negotiations will resume when the Chinese New Year wraps up, according to the secretary.
The development could indicate plans to assemble an even greater portion of Apple products in Brazil, not just iPads and iPhones. Even so, poor machine-translated text suggested the secretary said, “The parts produced here will also help in the assembly of Apple products,” as “the company starts to import kits for assembly in Brazil iPad and iPhone.”
UPDATE: A Foxconn representative refuted the story, dismissing it as “pure speculation” amid what appears to be a power struggle over the Taiwanese firm’s billions of dollars in potential greenfield investments in the country. Foxconn, which already operates six plants in Brazil, wouldn’t acknowledge that iPhone or iPad production is taking place in any of the existing facilities.
UPDATE: Reader MarckOliver has submitted the following translation:
Parts produced in Brazil will aid in assemble of Apple products, said the Secretary. For now the company will import those kits from China to assemble in Brazil.
Reader Renato Selman concurs, telling us that while Foxconn will just assemble Apple gear using imported parts, “in the future Foxconn will use other components produced in Brazil”.
Thousands apply for jobs at Foxconn factories in China.
Foxconn already burned an estimated $300 million during the 2010 to 2011 timeframe on the Jundiai, São Paulo plant that is expected to employ 1,400 people assembling iPads. Why is Apple moving manufacturing to Brazil? Tax incentives. News of Foxconn’s expanding operation in Brazil arrives as Apple finds itself lambasted left and right for not bringing overseas jobs to the United States. More worrying than this, however, Foxconn and Apple both found themselves under fire for unfair labor practices and grueling working conditions at the former’s manufacturing facilities in China. But in spite of difficult working conditions, thousands prospective employees recently lined up to apply for the positions at Foxconn’s plants in China. Contrasting this, consumer group SumOfUs said over 35,000 people signed their “Stop Worker Abuse” online petition in just 24 hours.
The Foxconn story once again made evening news after the popular U.S. radio program “This American Life” aired a feature based on Mike Daisey’s highly acclaimed show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” which exposed the inhumane working conditions at Foxconn sweatshops in Shenzhen, China. A New York Times article took the blunder to the next level, but the non-profit organization Business for Social Responsibility disputed the newspaper’s reporting as inaccurate and unfair. The story also provoked an angry response from Apple CEO Tim Cook who maintained in a companywide email to employees that “We care about every worker in our supply chain.” Foxconn also produces consumer electronics for Amazon, Microsoft, HP, Dell and a variety of other brands. Apple also let the Fair Labor Association access its suppliers’ facilities, and the company’s 2012 Supplier Responsibility Report named, among other things, 98 percent of its suppliers—a first for Apple.
- Foxconn issues go mainstream thanks to This American Life and The Daily Show (9to5mac.com)
- Designed in California, Made in Brazil: First Brazilian built iPhones apparently floating into the hands of customers (9to5mac.com)