Huawei kicks off smartphone production in Brazil

The Chinese manufacturer aims to produce over 100,000 devices by year-end

Huawei has annouced it will start producing smartphones in Brazil next month in order to curb heavy import taxes and offer more competitive pricing.

The firm expects to produce more than 100,000 devices by year-end, with prices ranging between $300 and $600. It is not yet clear which models will be produced in Brazil - according to the company's press office, news on that will follow shortly.

The Chinese company already has a manufacturing base in Sorocaba (92km from São Paulo city) which produces telecommunications equipment and employs about 3,000 staff.

With the addition of smartphone production to the company's Brazilian footprint, the Sorocaba facility will be expanded and new offices in addition to its five branches in Brazil will be opened.

Huawei still doesn't have any high-street presence in Brazil, but the firm's Brazil chief executive Veni Shone told newspaper Folha de São Paulo that the company is planning to open its first few stores soon.

I was amused by the last bit of Shone's interview - around the fact that he studies Portuguese for a couple of hours on Saturdays only, and that he "holds meetings on Sundays" in order to get his head around how things work in Brazil.

"When I lived in other countries I didn't have to work as hard - Brazil is more complicated," he said. Fair play. I have the impression that many Brazilian companies trying to do business in China would feel similarly puzzled.    

Apart from Huawei, other Chinese tech giants operating in Brazil are Foxconn and ZTE, also based in the São Paulo countryside.