Punishing inflation and extremely limited supply have made smartphones extraordinarily rare and expensive in Venezuela, Bloombergreports.
Only two or three stores in the capital city of Caracas even stock high-end phones because vendors must go through the government to acquire inventory. Meanwhile, the country is suffering from a severe shortage of U.S. dollars—partly because of a drop in the price of crude oil, the country’s main export—and an annual inflation rate in the triple digits.
As a result, smartphone prices are rising even faster than the cost of food and basic necessities. A brand new iPhone 6 on a local Venezuelan e-commerce site costs about 300,000 bolivars—or about $47,250, according to the official exchange rate—while a less sophisticated Samsung model might cost about $3,000.
Because of the limited supply, most Venezuelans who can afford a smartphone are forced to settle for cheaper Chinese models.
Unsurprisingly, thieves are increasingly…
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