Brazilian Billionaire Eike Batista Reportedly Wants An Apple Computer Factory.
Nov. 19 2010
By KERRY A. DOLAN
Eike Batista, Brazil’s richest man and by Forbes’ count the world’s 8th richest person, is trending on Twitter today. Why? The most likely reason: He told Brazilian business magazine Exame that he wants to build an Apple computer factory in Brazil. Whether that will come to pass is hard to say. Given the enormously valuable oil and gas empire that Batista has built in recent years, he might just have a chance.
But Apple keeps a tight lid on its suppliers. Whether Apple and those suppliers can be convinced to open shop in Brazil is likely at the heart of the issue.
Batista told Exame that he had begun having conversations with two Asian suppliers to Apple. A couple of things are driving these talks: 1) The very high price that Brazilians have to pay for iPads –Batista told Exame that Brazilians pay two and a half times more for iPads (presumably in comparison to what we pay in the U.S.) 2) Batista’s own business interest. He’s got a logistics company called LLX that has a campus north of Rio de Janeiro with space for a factory.
Batista acknowledged to Exame that Apple would have to approve the deal. I don’t know whether Batista has met Steve Jobs or not, but he appears to have absorbed some of the Steve Jobs casual black fashion sense: he’s got a sort of Steve-Jobs-like outfit on (if you don’t count the blazer) in the Exame photo.
Batista is keen on building up Brazil as a country while he builds his own businesses. When asked recently by Forbes to pick the 7 most powerful people in South America, 6 of those he picked were Brazilians, as my colleague Keren Blankfeld points out. Adding Apple factories to his portfolio would certainly raise Batista’s stature –and Brazil’s consumer electronics profile.
Watch the video: 'Brazil's richest man builds port.' here, please.