Apple Brazil chief talks Mac plant

Apple Brazil's general manager says a new South American factory is in the works.

São Paulo, Brazil -- The interim chief of Apple Computer's Brazil operation has confirmed that the Mac maker is going ahead with a manufacturing plant in the country.

In an interview with MacNews Brasil, Marinaldo Azevedo, chief financial officer and interim general manager of Apple Brazil, also touted the division's successes in the year 2000 and looked ahead to additional inroads for the Mac in 2001.

While Azevedo did not disclose detailed information about Apple's Brazilian manufacturing plans, he acknowledged that a plant is in the works; final feasibility studies are still the process of being concluded. The executive didn't discuss benefits to Brazilian end users, but Mac fans here are hopeful that the new factory will mean lower hardware prices by eliminating steep import tariffs.

Former Apple Brazil general manager Luciano Kubrusly in August told MacNews Brazil that the jury was still out on a Brazilian plant. In December 1999, sources reported that Apple (aapl) planned to set up shop in Curitiba, the capital of the state of Parana.

While he declined to specify Apple Brazil's marketing plans for 2001, Azevedo said the division will be "very aggressive" in the new year. Some Brazilian users have criticized Apple Brazil's recent marketing campaigns here, saying that its efforts were borrowed directly from Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters without modifications that would render them relevant to the Brazilian public.

Azevedo pointed to the Mac's warm reception in the media, especially when it came to the Power Mac G4 Cube, which garnered awards from Brazilian magazines Info Exame and Design Gráfico. Info Exame magazine is one of the most respected Brazilian magazines for the computer industry, while Design Gráfico is among the top Brazilian magazines covering the design market.

Azevedo took the reins of Apple Brazil in early December, after the official resignation of Kubrusly, who sources said left the company abruptly at the beginning of November. In the wake of Kubrusly's departure, Luis Zuniga, vice president and general manager of Apple Latin America, took over direct supervision of Apple's sales operations in Brazil, the company said.

Rogério Taira is Webmaster of MacNews Brasil, Brazil's leading Mac Web site.