Brazil Is Celebrating: Pirate PCs Fell from 73% to 48% of All Computers Sold

A new study conducted by Brazil’s IT Data and released by  Abinee (Brazilian Association of the Electric and Electronic Industry) this Tuesday, September 12, shows that 835,000 Brazilians bought their first computer ever this past semester.

By year’s end 17% of all Brazilian homes should have a personal computer. More than two million of them will be novices who bought their first PC this year. When you count commercial and residential computers Brazilians will buy 7.2 million PCs this year alone.

3.6 million personal computers were commercialized in Brazil in the first semester of 2006, a 43% growth  when compared to the same period in 2005 when 2.5 million machines were sold.

Although notebooks are still prohibitive for the majority of the population, 82,000 Brazilians bought their first laptop in the first half of 2006. 250,000 laptops were sold from January to the end of July 2006. It’s expected that 600,000 notebooks will be sold by year’s end, almost doubling (91.7% more) last year’s sales.

The IT Data study also showed a decrease in the commercialization of smuggled machines. While 61% of all PCs sold in Brazil in the first semester of 2005 were partially or totally pirated this number fell to 47.7% in the same period this year.

In 1999, the first year Abinee took this measurement, the number of pirated, or clone computers as they are called in Brazil, was 68%. By 2004 they had jumped to 73%.

The Abinee credits this improvement in the sale of legitimate machines mainly to government measures through fiscal incentives and police action fighting the illegal market, which include not only smuggled computers, but also those assembled with pirated pieces and components. The fact that the real improved its performance in face of the dollar didn’t hurt either.

The federal government granted last year tax exemption to all desktops priced 2,500 reais (US$ 1,160) or less and notebooks costing up to 3,000 reais (US$ 1,390). They also launched the Computer for All program, with fiscal incentives to manufacture desktop machines using free software worth up to 1,200 reais (US$ 555).

Since 2004 the legitimate Brazilian PC industry increased its participation in the market from 16% to 37%. Imported computers were also able to get a larger piece of the pie growing from 11% to 15%.

The Abinee is suggesting that the government intensify its vigilance to prevent smuggling of computers and components. One little change that could give a big boost to legal machines would be for federal, state and municipal government to stop buying from the gray market. As implausible as that may be they are one of the most loyal clients of the smugglers.

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