Ecuador’s Minister of Industry Ramiro Gonzalez says that the quota for the number of cell phones imported into the country will be increased. “There will be a substantial increase in importations,” Gonzalez said earlier this week. “The demand continues to grow and domestic production is not keeping up with it.”
Two years ago, the ministry had established a limit of 2 million phones per year that could be imported by 33 companies. The current quota expires at the end of 2014 and Gonzalez said the new quota will allow a “much higher number” of phones into the country under rules yet to be established.
Ecuador ranks first in Latin America in the number of cell phones per capita, and second in the number of smart phones.
Gonzalez says he still believes domestic production of cell phones will grow to meet much of the growing demand. “This will take time,” he said. “We are actively working with several domestic companies but it will be several years before they are significant players in the market.”
Cuenca’s Hipertronics is the country’s largest cell phone producer but is presently producing less than 200,000 units per years. Hipertronics manufactures its own phone but also produces models for other companies.
Gonzalez says that he is in discussions with the Korean tech manufacturing company LG about setting up a production facility in Ecuador, possibly in Cuenca.