Assembling the World’s Most Expensive iPhone: Global Value Chains, Industrial Policy and Electronics in Brazil / by Mark Langevin

aaaelectronics A BrazilWorks Briefing Paper

February 2015

By Etienne Michaud*

With Mark S. Langevin, Ph.D.** 

Summary: In stark contrast with Brazil’s inward oriented industrial development since the end of World War II, the country has recently become a magnet for the foreign direct investment of electronics-producing MNEs since Dilma Rousseff took office in 2011. Notably, the world’s largest manufacturer of electronic components, Foxconn, started to produce Apple’s iPads in Brazil in 2011 and built its fifth manufacturing plant in 2012. The same year Microsoft started assembling the Xbox360 in Manaus and its competitor, Sony, began assembling its PlayStation3 two years later. Previously, these two companies only produced in China and/or Japan. The move to Brazil suggests a sharp shift in their supply chain strategy and shows the importance of Brazil’s growing electronics goods market. Yet additional policy reforms and industrial restructuring needs to be carried out if Brazil is to fully integrate into the electronics global value chain. Read the entire BrazilWorks Briefing Paper Here.

* Etienne Michaud is completing a Master in International Economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. He was a visiting student at the George Washington University in Washington D.C. in 2014 and previously worked for the US multinational firm Alcoa both in Switzerland and Brazil. He holds a B.S. in Economics from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland and completed coursework at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He can be contacted at:

** Mark S. Langevin, Ph.D. is Director of BrazilWorks and adjunct Professor of International Affairs at The George Washington University-Elliott School of International Affairs. He can be contacted at: