It appears that Apple is about to expand its manufacturing operations to Brazil, where a new Foxconn
factory is already in place and ready to churn out iPads, according to a report from national media outlet UOL
. Aolizio Mercadante, the country's minister of science and technology, confirmed the news this week during a hearing held by the Commission of Economic Affairs. "At first many doubted, but it will be the first time that [Apple] will produce iPads outside Chinese territory," Mercadente said. "We are taking a big step for digital inclusion in the country." Located in Jundiaí, the new facility was constructed under a joint venture between Foxconn and the Brazilian government, with the former reportedly contributing $12 million to the initiative. Rumors of a South American expansion began circulating earlier this year, with many expecting Foxconn's Brazil-based operations to get underway during Q1 of 2012, according to DigiTimes
. Construction, however, appears to have wrapped up ahead of schedule, with Mercadante claiming that iPad shipments will begin in December. Apple, for its part, has not commented on the report.