Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Venezuela Opens Second Worker Controlled Cell Phone Factory

From Venezuela Analysis
Merida, May 23rd, 2010 ( – On Friday afternoon Chavez inaugurated a new mobile phone factory, the Electronic Industry Plant Orinoquia, S.A in Caracas, a further step in increasing Venezuela’s technological independence.

Venezuelan state radio station RNV reports that local communities and government will participate in the development and execution of the factory’s projects, and according to Chavez, workers in the factory were chosen by the communal councils.

Chavez said the factory was part of “Venezuelan technological development” and a result of cooperation with China. China is producing the phone parts which are then assembled in the Venezuelan factory.

So far the workers are just making two phones, but it is hoped in the future that the factory will also make chargers and headphones. They are currently making 300 phones per day but hope to increase this to 1,000.

One phone is called BB for its small size. BB in Spanish is pronounced ‘be-be’- which means baby. This phone will sell at BsF 220 (US$ 51), and the second phone, the Caribe, will cost BsF 160 ($US 37).

Venezuela’s Minister for science and technology, Ricardo Menendez, said that 10,000 phones would be available this week and will be distributed through the government’s “Bicentenary” shop chain and the state owned phone distributor and communication service, Movilnet.

The phone is so that, “our people have access to communications and the phones are good and cheap,” Chavez said.

Chavez joked that the new phones will “compete” with the Vergatario phone which was manufactured by Venezuela’s other phone factory, Vetelca, in Falcon state, and was first released in May last year. Chavez said another batch of this phone is due out soon, at its original price of BsF 30 (US$ 7).

According to Mendez the two factories combined should produce a total of 2 million phones per year, and currently Venezuelans are buying 7 million phones per year.

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