The São Paulo electronics stores are set up like mini-malls. @Nicole Martinelli.
São Paulo, Brazil - The arrival of the much-awaited Brazilian iPad may be in doubt – although our trip to the Foxconn factory showed that an local iPhone is in the works – one thing is certain: there’s a huge market for gadgets here.
Brazilians pay some of the highest prices in the world for their iDevices, but many of them buy alternatives – black or gray market goods and fakes.
Commerce hub São Paulo has a whole neighborhood dedicated to selling these off-market electronic items called Santa Ifigênia, where I paid a visit with Alessandro Salvatori of Blog do iPhone.
Apple-inspired speakers. @Nicole Martinelli.
Coming from the Sao Bento metro station, you cross the charming Santa Ifigênia pedestrian bridge, where you know you’re in the right place when someone pulls out cell phones from a coat jacket muttering “dois chip, dois chip” (dual chip cell phones, in other words. We spotted models in nearby stores with four).
Cell phones with four chips and fake iPod Nanos. @Nicole Martinelli.
The main stretch, which runs alongside the church of the same name (Our Lady of the Deep Discount?), reminds me of Shanghai: small storefronts stretching back into a warren of individual vendor booths selling everything from electric shavers and cameras to baby monitors.
Behold the Android iPhone. @Nicole Martinelli.
Some of the wares sold here are Chinese knock-offs, like the faux iPhone pictured above sporting an Android logo.
The rest? Some of the vendors told me they are the real deal but last year’s models, sold without any guarantees. The local merchant’s association maintains that the products are legit but prices are low because vendors buy directly from manufacturers in large quantities. Continue reading