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Brazilian billionaire wants Apple manufacturing contract

David Quilty

AppleInsider reports that Brazilian billionare Eike Batista, who made his $27 billion fortune in the mining industry, is trying to convince Apple to have its products made in Brazil rather than by Foxconn in Shenzhen, China. He is currently constructing the Port of Acu in southern Brazil -- a $1.6 billion construction project -- encompassing 90 square miles of available space that he hopes will lure companies to Brazil for product assembly. If Apple doesn't bite, Mr. Batista says he is going to try to lure BMW to his new development instead.

Apple has been using Foxconn as its product manufacturer for years, but a series of suicides by plant workers earlier this year lead to a cut in overtime hours and increased wages, which Apple itself was rumored (and Foxconn formally denied) to be subsidizing.

Foxconn, part of Taiwan-based parent company Hon Hai, recently reported that it will be raising manufacturing prices, directly affecting Apple's costs. Not sure what that means for product prices next year, but Mr. Batista could be approaching Apple at a time it might be willing to talk about developing a new manufacturing plan. If that's the case, we wish him luck.

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