Apple on Saturday inaugurated its first Latin American store in Brazil. Located in the shopping Village Mall in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, the store witnessed a grand inauguration with more than 1,700 shoppers standing in a queue for hours on its opening day.
This is a pivotal move by Apple as Brazil has the world’s seventh largest GDP and is one of the world's fastest-growing smartphone markets. With the country set to host the World Cup this summer and the Olympics in 2016, the timing couldn't have been better.
In Brazil, one of the biggest problems that the Cupertino-based company faces is the high cost of its products. There is no denying that Apple's products are already pricey, but this coupled with Brazil's steep import tariffs, makes them even more costly. Apple's iPhone 5s price in Brazil is $1,174 but the same phone sells for $649 in the US. Similarly, the iPad 2 is available in Brazil for $566, which is a hefty premium over the US price of $399.
In an effort to be more cost competitive, the company has already lowered the prices of some of its phones in Brazil. It has also worked with Foxconn to begin manufacturing some of its products in the country starting last year. Despite of all the efforts, Apple products in Brazil continue to be much more expensive than in the US. In fact, Apple iPhones in Brazil are the highest priced in the world.
According to 2012 statistics, Apple in Brazil is far behind Samsung and LG in smartphone sales, but if this move turns out to be successful, the iPhone maker may look forward to open more stores in South America.