Foxconn to set up five manufacturing facilities in Brazil, each employing 1,000 workers [UPDATE: Foxconn denies]

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.
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Too little, too late: Google launches Orkut for iPhone

Orkut, a Google-owned social network, has had little luck challenging MySpace, hi5, Tagged or Facebook —the undisputed social networking leader (some people even liken Orkut to a poor man’s Facebook). Nevertheless, Orkut is still popular in India and Brazil, where more than 80 percent of its 66 million active users come from, as of October 2011. Today, the search company released a native Orkut client for iPhone. It is available free of charge on the App Store and comes with the usual assortment of features, ranging from updating your status and checking your scraps and messages to browsing your friends’ profiles and uploading photographs. It is interesting that Google chose to release the app just as Facebook has finally managed to beat Orkut in Brazil, per latest comScore metrics.

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Why does iPhone 4S cost $2K in Brazil, and what does Apple plan to do about it?

Apple’s iPhone 4S hit Chile and Brazil this evening, and boy is it overpriced. The company’s online store has the R$ 2,599 price tag attached to the 16 GB SIM-free version. The 32 GB/64GB versions of the popular smartphone sell for R$ 2,999/R$ 3,399. The exchange rate of Brazilian dollar is approximately R$ 1.71 to USD 1.00… so you get the picture.

Just to give you a little feel, the unlocked 64 GB iPhone 4S in Brazil sells for three times its $849 United States asking price, or a whopping $2,000. This slideshow cleverly depicts what this amount of money can buy folks in Brazil. Turns out you can get a decent fridge, a big screen Sony Bravia TV or even an entry-level Ford car for the price of an unlocked 64 GB iPhone 4S.

So, why those exorbitant price points?


A comparison of approximately two times higher iPhone prices in Brazil compared to the U.S. The chart is courtesy of The Next Web.

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iTunes Match (mistakenly?) begins rolling out to Europe for 24,99€/year, Canada and Australia too?

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We’re starting to get reports that Apple is sending out emails to users in Spain and elsewhere in Europe notifying them the iTunes Match service is officially available for 24,99 € per year (as shown above). One Twitter user also claims that he was able to subscribe to the service in Europe two days ago before iTunes told him it was a mistake and returned his money.

“I managed to buy iTunes Match in Europe two days ago. Now they told me it was mistake and returned the money.

The email he provides looks identical to the one above apart from the language. It’s of course possible this is a slip up on Apple’s part ahead of an official rollout in the near future. Let us know in the comments if you have access to the service, which you can try here.

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We’ve got reports coming in from Canada where it is listed at C$27.99/year and Australia where it is A$39.99.  In the UK, it is £21.99.

Last week Apple also opened up the cloud service to users in Brazil to accompany the launch of the iTunes Store in Latin America. Read more

Apple TV goes on sale in Brazil

The Next Web notes that Apple today introduced Brazil to its Apple TV set-top box.  The hobby project is available in the Brazilian online Apple Store for R$ 399,00, or approximately $217 (compare this to the $99 price point in the United States). The gizmo is available now and comes with free shipping. This is the first BRIC nation to get the Apple TV (BRIC being a term for huge global emerging economies coined by Goldman Sachs). According to a Strategy Analytics analysis, Apple’s set-top  box is set to capture nearly one-third, or 32 percent, of the set-top box market in the US 2011 based on projected sales of four million units. A hardware update is expected to include 1080p video output and Bluetooth 4.0 technology, among other things.

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Nearly one in six dollars of Apple’s revenue coming from China

There have been signs and indications of China’s growing importance to Apple’s bottom line before. In the June quarter the company grew China revenues sixfold, to an astounding $3.8 billion, or nearly eight percent of its total revenue for the quarter. Just three months later, however, the business in China has ballooned to $4.52 billion, an impressive sixteen percent of Apple’s total $28.27 billion revenue for the September quarter. China contributed with twelve percent in the more than $108 billion of fiscal 2011 revenue, or about fifteen billion dollars. Last year revenue from China was just three billion dollars and in 2009 only two percent of Apple’s total revenue.

In other words, one in six dollars of Apple’s quarterly revenue came from China (almost one-in-eight looking at fiscal 2011). The 1.33 billion people country is now Apple’s second-best revenue market. Moreover, revenue for the entire Asia Pacific region grew by 139 percent year over year to $6.53 billion, with CPU units climbing by 61 percent (three percent revenue and eighteen percent CPU units sequential growth). Compared to a 34 percent annual revenue growth in the Americas ($9.64 billion) or a 36 percent growth in Europe ($7.39 billion).

It’s clear now that the Asia Pacific region is Apple’s fastest-growing market, outpacing Europe and the Americas by nearly four times. In fact, Asia Pacific raked in nearly two-thirds of the Americas’ revenue, Apple’s top revenue market. And at four times larger growth, the Asia Pacific region could become Apple’s #1 revenue generator by this time next year.


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CEO Tim Cook said in a conference call with Wall Street analysts that “the China progress has been amazing”, calling it an “enormous opportunity” for Apple. It’s bound to grow even bigger as Apple builds more stores to increase its distribution footprint there. Apple operates five flagship retail stores in China which combined had the most traffic in the quarter. The company has managed to build an impressive thirty retail stores worldwide during the quarter, including massive outlets in Hong Kong and Shanghai, the latter being pictured below.

There were as of this writing more than seven thousand points of sale for the iPhone in Greater China. In total, iPhone has 120,000 points of sale around the world and iPad and iPod are now carried in 40,000 and 50,000 points of sale, respectively. They should open at least 25 new stores in China within the next few years and 40 outlets around the world in the next quarter, with 30 outside the United States.

Other markets to watch? More after the break…


Apple’s Nanjing East Road store in Shanghai

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