Amazon launches in Brazil; opens Kindle Store, tablet coming soon

Amazon has finally launched in Brazil, a huge potential emerging market, after weeks of speculation that the retail giant would start up in the region. The Kindle Store is now open, and tablets are on the way.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Amazon.com.br launches. Screenshot: ZDNet

Amazon has finally launched in Brazil, tapping a burgeoning population of emerging market users.

The retail giant's new Web site launched overnight. In a separate statement, Amazon said it has launched the Kindle Store in the country, allowing users in the region to tap into the firm's 1.4 million books, including 13,000 Portuguese-language books. 

The firm confirmed that its Kindle e-reader will soon go on sale in the country for BRL$299 (around US$149).

Amazon is reported to have finally resolved a dispute with an IT firm based in the country, named Amazon Corp., which owned the domain name amazon.com.br. By allowing the retail firm Amazon Inc. to take control of the domain, it was only a matter of time before the company expanded into the region officially. 

The retail giant turned tablet maker had been looking for a way into the region for some time. In October, we reported that the firm had been looking to acquire bookseller and electronics firm Saraiva.

For now, the only electronic product that Amazon will sell is the latest Kindle e-reader. While no launch date has been set for the Kindle's release in the country, the firm said it would launch "over the next few weeks," hopefully before the lucrative December holiday season really kicks off -- which we're already a week into.

Only books are available from the Amazon.com.br store at the moment. However, there's no reason why in the near future, the firm can't start providing a greater non-book retail experience for its Brazilian base. 

Brazil, one of the four BRIC countries -- also including Russia, India and China -- is a cash cow waiting to be tapped. Still in emerging market status, many companies are investing vast sums into the region in a bid to take advantage of a mostly ignored market. With a population close to 200 million, the vast majority have still yet to own a computer.

It's thought that in two decades from now, the four BRIC nations will take the lead as the largest collective global economies that could even outrun the existing seven G7 states. 

But Amazon is far from the first company to try and expand into the lucrative Brazilian market. 

Lenovo has also pushed hard into the country through a series of acquisitions, including bringing proposals to the table to build a local PC building base. In doing so, it brings a boom to the local economy, hundreds if not thousands of jobs to the region, but also cuts out the heavy import taxes -- one of the many reasons why many PC manufacturers have avoided the country thus far.

Microsoft also recently invested $100 million over the next four years in a new technology center in Rio de Janeiro, expanding the software giant's reach into the market.

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