Video: Crowds gather in Rio for Apple’s 1st Latin American store
FORTUNE — Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone may be approaching saturation in North America, but Latin America is wide open territory.
Brazil is particularly interesting. It’s the largest country on the continent (pop. 200 million) and it’s demonstrated an appetite for iPhones despite prices that are the highest in the world. Due to stiff import duties, an unlocked iPhone 5s that sells for $649 in the U.S. costs 2,799 reais ($1,174) in Brazil.
Still, the estimated 1,700 Brazilians who gathered Saturday at Rio de Janiero’s Village Mall for the opening of the first Apple Store in South America didn’t seem to be suffering from sticker shock. And when Foxconn’s new Brazilian factories start churning out iPhones that aren’t subject to import taxes, those prices could come down dramatically.
“Rio is an amazing city,” CFO Peter Oppenheimer told a local news outlet by telephone. “And we want the store running for the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics in 2016.”