Foxconn can already make the iPhone 4S in Brazil, but won’t begin to produce iPads domestically very soon.
The approval document from Anatel (National Telecommunications Agency) issued this week shows Jundiaí as one of the company’s factory locations, alongside a Chinese subsidiary.
This is the first time a Brazilian address appears on the document. According to what Folha newspaper found out, the first lots of the iPhone 4S are ready, but can’t leave the factory until they have the seal of approval.
The expectation is that the first iPhones produced in Brazil will arrive by Christmas. When contacted, Apple wouldn’t comment on local manufacturing or the time until the commencement of device sales.
While domestic production of cell phones seems guaranteed, the manufacture of iPads, touted by the government and likely by the end of the year, is still stuck.
Successive delays in the installation of the production line, in addition to deadlocks on tax issues and the lack of a “local partner” as emphasized by the Minister of Science and Technology, Aloízio Mercadante, are delaying the start of production.
According to executives close to the companies, December was the likely month for the start of fabrication, but now Foxconn is working with the possibility of beginning production only at the end of the first half of 2012.
The disbelief in the imminent fabrication of tablets by Foxconn in Brazil, according to these executives, is so great that Apple tripled the import of the iPad to guarantee supply for domestic retail sales for the end of the year.
According to official data on imports, in the third quarter 108 thousand iPads were imported, compared with 44,500 between April and June. Since the beginning of the year, imports have tripled.
Meanwhile, other companies that have said they intend to manufacture tablets in Brazil in the near term have increased imports less than 20% for the end of the year.
This was the case of ZTE which brought 18,900 units from China in the second quarter and 22 thousand in the third.
“We are keeping the local manufacturing plan, mainly for ten inch devices, which are more accepted,” Eliandro Ávila, president of the company in Brazil, told Folha.
The beginning of ZTE’s own production should occur by the end of December in Hortolândia, in the countryside of Sao Paulo, and it is estimated that with tax incentives, the devices – which cost about R$800 today – will be between 20% and 25% cheaper.