updated 01:45 pm EST, Wed November 17, 2010
BMW seen as backup option
A corporate mogul, Eike Batista, is courting Apple with the hope it might be willing assemble products in Brazil, rather than China, a local publication says. MacMagazine notes that Batista is looking for companies to occupy 90 square miles at the Port of Acu, a project under construction in southeastern Brazil, valued at $1.6 billion. Batista is the eighth richest person in the world, having accumulated a net worth of $27 billion based largely on oil and mining profits.
The executive suggests that Brazilians would benefit greatly from Apple's presence because they would no longer have to "pay twice what you pay in the United States." Apple might have several motives to stage assembly in Brazil, such as closer proximity to the US. Should Apple not be willing to set up shop in the country however, Batista says he is alternately ready to lure German automaker BMW.
Another incentive to pick Brazil could involve labor controversies. Apple's largest manufacturing partner, Foxconn, has been accused of maintaining sweatshop-like conditions at its Shenzhen campus in China, while offering low wages in return. A string of suicides has plagued the firm; at least 14 have been recorded during 2010.