The Latino cell phone market has not always been successful. Even though it’s a growing, multi-million dollar market, companies hoping to cash in end up filing for bankruptcy.

But singer and actress Jennifer Lopez hopes to capitalize on her fame and fortune and succeed in the Latino cell phone market – where others have tried and failed.

And there is reason for the Puerto Rican entrepreneur to see the benefits in her venture – Latinos represented $1.2 trillion in buying power last year – and about 86 percent of Latinos say they own a cellphone, according to Pew Hispanics Center, a nonpartisan research center based in Washington, D.C.

"It was a no-brainer to finally cater to an overlooked segment of the population that has emerged, to actually do something that caters specifically to them."

- Jennifer Lopez

Lopez said she's opening a chain of cell phone stores and a website under the Viva Movil brand. The aim is to sell Verizon phones and services to Latinos.

The first store will open in New York on June 15. Lopez says the stores will have bilingual staff and provide a "culturally relevant shopping experience."

Viva Movil will be an authorized Verizon reseller, with the same prices and plans as regular Verizon stores.

The superstar told the Los Angeles Times she wanted to create a Latino-oriented wireless experience built in an "organic and natural and honest way."

"It was a no-brainer to finally cater to an overlooked segment of the population that has emerged, to actually do something that caters specifically to them," Lopez said.

The effort has not been a winning formula so far in the U.S. One company targeting Spanish speakers, Movida Communications, raised $40 million in 2007 and filed for bankruptcy the following year.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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