When Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group agreed in April 2011 to
make Apple products here, President Dilma Rousseff and her
advisers promised that up to $12 billion in investments over six
years would transform the Brazilian technology sector, putting it
on the cutting edge of touch screen development. A new supply
chain would be created, generating high-quality jobs and bringing
down prices of the coveted gadgets.
Four years later, none of that has come true.
Foxconn has created only a small fraction of the 100,000 jobs that
the government projected, and most of the work is in low-skill
assembly. There is little sign that it has catalyzed Brazil’s
technology sector or created much of a local supply chain.
The iPhones now rolling off an assembly line near São Paulo, the
only ones in the world made outside China, carry a retail price
tag of nearly $1,000 for a 32-gigabyte iPhone 5S without a
contract - among the highest prices in the world and about twice
what they sell for in the U.S.
Brazil heavily taxes both imports and exports. And it isn’t working out well.