After China, Apple has its eye on Brazil

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We know how important the greater China region is to Apple: The country is Apple’s second-most-lucrative market for selling its wares, and riots start when its lavish, heavily trafficked new stores in the country selling the iPhone 4S fail to open on time. But where will Apple look next when it comes time to focus on expanding to new rapidly emerging markets? Brazil.

On Tuesday, on the company’s earnings call for the first fiscal quarter of 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company definitely has its eye on Brazil as a possible place to one day open Apple stores:

On the second country on the list of those four [China, Brazil, Russia, India], for us, would be Brazil. I think there’s a huge opportunity for us there, and we’ve more than begun to go deeper into Brazil. But I don’t want to signal that, that means that Apple retail will be there, because I don’t envision that occurring in the near term.

So it may not be thinking of building stores in the “near term,” but it’s clear Apple has plans for the country and its growing population of urban consumers with increasing buying power. Brazil is an easy choice for Apple to make its grand entrance in South America: The country of well over 200 million people has one of the best economies in South America right now, and it is seen as a prime place for foreign investment.

Apple does already have a presence in Brazil — through online sales and devices sold through carrier resellers and retail partners. And just this past quarter it finally opened up the iTunes Store to customers in the country. Also, it just so happens that this month, Apple hired a new general manager for its Latin America business, Anderson Teixeira, who is from — you guessed it — Brazil.

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