Apple, Designed in the USA, Assembled in China.

December 23, 2015 2 min read 35 Comments

So why are Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad Assembled in China?  The answer may surprise you!

Over the past 12 months Apple has sold 220,000,000 iPhones and, according to analysts, it would cost an additional $65 per iPhone to manufacture them in the United States. If Apple made these units in the USA vs. China it would have cost an additional $14 BILLION over the past 12 months.  But, according to Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, making it cheaper in China doesn't matter...

So why does Apple choose to make their products in China? Well Tim Cook claims  it is mostly
apple_costs
due to the lack of skilled workers and necessary infrastructure in America; we don't have the skill set and China does.
  But look at the numbers, you're telling me that $14.3 billion dollars doesn't matter?! I'd like to hear him explain to his shareholders that making it cheap doesn't matter. Making it cheap does matter to a corporation because they are no different than a machine.  A machine has no country or people loyalty, it's focused on one thing, profit margin and maximizing shareholder value.  At some point in time a workforce had to be trained to make Apple products.  Hmmm...which workforce is Apple going to train to make their products?  Would they choose the worker that has higher wages, healthcare, a safe place to work and other benefits? Or...would they choose to train workers in a country that get paid next to nothing and they don't have to worry about healthcare, benefits, and the EPA?  To a machine, profits matter more than people and the environment and they will choose the option that provides the most financial benefits.

This is common across the board from the apparel industry, to the food industry and the tech industry.  The longer I've been studying American manufacturing and this movement, I think the only way to truly change the dynamics is to support small to mid-level, privately held companies in the United States that actually care about workers and their country. I think the government needs to crack down on nations that turn their back to “modern-day slavery” as well. The other contributing factor is the consumer, the consumer can dictate so much change by their purchasing power, but oh how easily we are swayed by low prices, the power of marketing, habits, and human nature.  The future is for you to decide from the items you buy to the people you vote for, choose wisely.

Josh Miller
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Made in the USA : 30 Day Journey
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35 Responses

Todd Rapp
Todd Rapp

February 09, 2021

Organized labor didn’t impose outrageous contracts on poor beleaguered big business. Bloodless minions every bit as profit driven as the corporations they represented AGREED to those contracts. (That’s not meant to exempt organized labor from fault, by the way. The manufacturing unions made plenty of boneheaded moves as well.) And at the time when American corporations BEGAN turning on the American worker, quality wasn’t a resident strength anywhere in the world.

The profit motive alone compelled business to move as much production as possible to cheaper (less regulation, lower wage and tax) countries outside the US. And those who buy the idea that organized labor drove business to seek relief overseas are, simply, wrong.

The real problem isn’t basic pursuit of profit, however. The most damaging motivation remains, as it has been for forty years now, the overarching demand for short term profits. The long term success – even survival – of a given business is seldom a consideration in the boardroom.

CEOs aren’t thinking about getting obscene compensation in another twenty or thirty years, you know. They want it NOW, before the company goes under.

Chad Engroff
Chad Engroff

February 09, 2021

Good article and your points are all great – agree lets build them in USA. Curious if you might know – are there alternatives being built in America that we can support instead?

Red Baron
Red Baron

February 09, 2021

In previous times, we had tariffs to protect American workers from the sweatshops of Asia. Now, in the “enlightened” world of so-called Free Trade, the Asian countries are able to drag our wages down to match theirs because all protections for American workers have been trashed so that the CEOs can make a fortune moving American factory work overseas.

Tim Cook is a big fat liar. Everyone knows that Apple does their production in China because it is cheap. There is simply no other reason. Profits are fattest when production costs are low. Cook cares nothing about American workers.

Red Baron
Red Baron

February 09, 2021

Apple never tried. It is all about making more and more money. American workers aren’t in the equation.

Todd Rapp
Todd Rapp

February 09, 2021

Of course they have control over where their products are manufactured. They’re the CUSTOMER of the companies they use to outsource.

If WE can choose to buy American, so can Apple.

Larry Backlas
Larry Backlas

February 09, 2021

Larry Backlas says:

Big Unions my ass. The Unions were the ones that raised the standard of living in this country. As goes the Unions goes the standard of pay and benefits. Where do you think vacation time and holidays off of work came from? Companies do not make me laugh. There have been mistakes made by Unions, that is true but if you have never worked in a Union workshop you are talking without knowing the subject. Union shops have high product levels, high standards and low injury rates because workers have a voice in their workplace. Worked in Union shop for 40 years and I am still voluntarily paying full Union dues for what was done for me.

Michael Z.
Michael Z.

February 09, 2021

No, you are 100% wrong. Not only is it possible to manufacture smart phones in the US, but Google did it for a few years after they purchased Motorola’s cell phone division. The full cost was around $599 for the Droid Moto X, and the plant closed due to weaker than expected sales; however, it had nothing to do with the lack of facilities in Texas. Had I been in the market for such a device at the time I would have gladly bought one, unfortunately they closed before I got the chance.

http://www.informationweek.com/mobile/mobile-devices/motorola-touts-made-in-usa-smartphone-plant/d/d-id/1111493

http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/motorola-to-shutter-its-us-moto-x-production-plant-in-texas-1251223

LH
LH

February 09, 2021

Correct. The article does not explain what the $65 per iPhone exactly means. It is also necessary to point out that Apple does not manufacture iPhones but outsources the manufacturing to Foxconn and Pegatron who are buying components from dozens of other manufactures. Moving the complete manufacturing to the US is something Apple cannot do as they do not have control over it.

James MacDonald
James MacDonald

February 09, 2021

If Apple wasn’t sitting on $150,000,000,000 (that’s billion) USD in cash reserves, that 14 billion dollar argument might wash. But, it’s corporate greed at its lowest! Buy American!!!

LH
LH

February 09, 2021

Unfortunately it’s not as simple. Manufacturing of complex products depends on many suppliers. Most (all?) components used in an iPhone are made in Asia and therefore it makes sense to make a final assembly there. Would we for $65 per phone extra rather have the components shipped from China to the US and have a couple of hundred people whose brainless job would be connecting the wires, sealing the case and writing “Assembled in the US from imported materials?”
I don’t think a single company (even Apple) has the power move the whole supply chain from one continent to another.

Disclaimer: I am not an Apple fan, I don’t have or want an iPhone.

Michael Burt
Michael Burt

February 09, 2021

Not lacking as much as one might want to believe. The EPA is a size able consideration when it comes to the toxic process required to manufacture key electronic components. Also corporate taxes is another- just look at where Hsliburton went (Dubai 2005) as it continued to rake in billions of defense dollars from the American people. The more we buy Anerican, the more Americans will be able to buy.

Stephen Bush
Stephen Bush

February 09, 2021

My hat is off to you tim. I could have not said it any better.

Jim kennedy
Jim kennedy

February 09, 2021

Sound like a scab to me

Mike G.
Mike G.

February 09, 2021

Just wondering if you work Bill? Do you work 5 days a week? Do you get vacation time? Sick days? Health benefits? These are all benefits that came about because of unions. My opinion Bill, unions are a necessary evil.

John J. Schmidt
John J. Schmidt

February 09, 2021

Congress just approved a 1.1 BILLION budget for 2015-16 which includes an increase in H1B1 Visa’s for foreign NON SKILLED and SKILLED workers. The increase is from 63 some thousand per year to 360,000 +per year! WAKE up AMERICA.Your technical jobs are now going to go to educated and non-educated workers from China and India who are willing to come to America for 1/3 the amount you will work for! Your representatives in Washington DC have sold YOU out for campaign donations (how many pieces of silver?) from the likes of Apple, Google, Yahoo, and many others. Wake up America, your representatives have failed you again. Your opportunity to replace your representatives comes in November 2016….

Tim Cook said to the world on 60 minutes this past Sunday that American workers do not have “Vocational” skills necessary to manufacture Apple products in America. Ask yourself why Apple is not investing in Vocational education in America? Why is Apple not partnering with Mr. Dirty Jobs to train AMERICAN youth in Vocational education? Where’s the Clinton Foundation stand on AMERICAN Vocational education? Where’s Bill and Melinda Gates foundation’s position on Vocational Education for our youth who choose to not attend higher education universities?

Lynne
Lynne

February 09, 2021

Free-markets? Give me a break. Markets are controlled by governments (you know, rules and regs and tax laws). Americans need look no further than who they vote for, and then check out the voting records of their choices. It doesn’t take much effort to follow the money—-votes for campaign contributions. We can make a difference by shopping and voting more wisely. As for unions, how come Germany has a unionized workforce and also a healthy bottom line?

Stephen Bush
Stephen Bush

February 09, 2021

Thank you Leslie Baker i back your statement 100%. As i’am a union carpenter from NJ and proud of it!

wally
wally

February 09, 2021

if I get a loan from the government for the equipment? would apple then give me their business?

Tim
Tim

February 09, 2021

You know this is exactly what big money wants is, us little guys to argue over who or what is right or wrong. We all need to stick together as Americans. Not rich or poor or black or white or any of that put in the understanding that at the end of the day we all want our children to b fed and in a warm bed with happy thoughts and wives to smile and say “I love you” ! And that goes from America and all over this world. Most men and women just want to live honest lives and get a fair wage for there hard work. For anyone in America to not respect what unions have done for the working conditions that most have today like 8 hour work days. And weekends off , overtime pay, and many safety standards that industry uses today. If something a lot of people need to get educated on is how organized labor keeps employers in check even when your non Union.
I’ve seen lots of corruption on Wall Street that has crumbled this country’s economy . With all the shareholders and hengefunds . Insurance scandals and also our own government. But everybody still knocks the American worker. Especially union workers . I’d like to see your ass get out there on a skyscraper and set some iron. Or on a highway laying miles of blacktop everyday in the hot sun . I cant stand that everybody associates a union worker as a municipal crew , or a autoworker that everyone thinks is so easy work standing on a line all day. I know for a fact that some of the most patriotic people you will ever meet are Union proud. As I am!! I love God, my Country , my family , and my Union !! All of them have gave me a great life . I wish for everybody to prosper not just a few that can afford to buy up everything out there.
You know I can’t really say what the correct answer is . But I can tell you this if people believe that it was the American worker that killed manufacturing in this country than you may need to look into that a bit. If we all have good paying jobs than we could afford to pay a bit more to keep our country great and our fellow Americans with a good safe job.

Americans Unite that’s how we became this country!!!!

Leslie Baker
Leslie Baker

February 09, 2021

Your statement is totally untrue. The unions provide very skilled workers and do not support outsourcing of jobs. They work very hard to make it so the American worker has a safe work place as well as a decent wage. After all they are made up of American workers themselves. So,it’s not their greed as you point out,but,the greed of our politicians and the manufacturers themselves.

Richard Thibedeau
Richard Thibedeau

February 09, 2021

I agree 100%.

Richard Thibedeau
Richard Thibedeau

February 09, 2021

Right on the money. I agree 100%.

Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson

February 09, 2021

I buy American whenever I can, that’s why I’m on this site right now. I’m still driving my old PT Cruiser, last of the models built in CA and I have no intentions of trading it off. As far as American manufacturing goes, the enemy is not China so much as the enemy is Wall Street. Privately owned companies can be competitive and profitable while treating their workforce well. Companies like Channelock or Eriez Magnetic for example, both leaders in their fields and free from the GREED of Wall Street.

Bill Prater
Bill Prater

February 09, 2021

The loss of jobs and manufacturing was not due to lack of skilled workers but to the greed of big unions.

Allen
Allen

February 09, 2021

If we have investment that hold corporate stocks, are we willing to take less of a return for the gain of livable wages for others? And as noted in another post, are we willing to pay more for those products? Most studies that I have seen show that our actions often don’t match our words.

Howard
Howard

February 09, 2021

Incorrect, the loss of jobs and manufacturing was not due to lack of skilled workers but due to the greed of corporate executives (especially of bloated and overpowered corporations) that tried to hide it with blame on “big unions.” What a shame that you’re repeating one of these lies even after 20+ years of NAFTA. This would undoubted make these greedy corporate executives, that support NAFTA, happy to know that you’re still blaming the wrong group of people.

Kevin Rismiller
Kevin Rismiller

February 09, 2021

If it were possible to manufacture high end electronics that most Americans could afford it would have been done by now… Apple has attempted to bring some manufacturing back to the states with little success: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-12-18/apple-s-cook-kicks-off-made-in-usa-push-with-mac-pro

Let’s be honest manufacturing a sewn product is much easier to produce than a computer or phone with thousands of moving parts.

This article is severely lacking in current information and facts…

Brad Hect
Brad Hect

February 09, 2021

In this country we enjoy the opportunities and benefits of a free-market….anyone can pursue the endeavors and prosperity they are willing to work for. Free-markets are driven by supply and demand, where competition ensures efficiency thru fair and reasonable pricing in the marketplace.

Apple isn’t the only company that seeks out skills and more competitive labor costs globally. And it’s not just big multi-national companies that do the same. A large percentage of small and medium businesses also rely heavily on foreign produced goods and services. It’s how they remain competitive. America, and it’s people, have benefited greatly from the free-market and for the spoils of vibrant economic prosperity. Hard work in an open economy will bring prosperity….most of today’s largest companies started that way. Those companies brought millions of good paying jobs to Americans, which allowed American families to prosper, with each generation doing better than the previous generation.

However, we allowed ourselves to believe we’re entitled to prosperity. That companies are responsible for our well being. What started out in the late 1800s as a movement to protect workers from corporate exploitation, organized labor, or if you prefer “Unions”, soon began their own exploitation thru a collective leverage to coerce benefits beyond market place efficiencies. A form of socialism began to prevail over the free-market. Workers were paid based on their job title not on their respective contribution or productivity. Everyone gets the same regardless. Consequently, American products became more expensive and quality began to suffer. Ultimately American companies became less competitive internationally, business suffered, plants closed, good paying jobs were lost.

I believe in buying American made goods where the quality is superior. I believe you get what you pay for and you prosper thru hard work, innovation, and determination. I believe competition and free-markets are good for those who want and expect more than their initial lot in life, and are willing to lean forward and work for it. But complacency and entitlement are the deathnels of prosperity..

I’m proud to be an American, I’m thankful that God saw fit to put me here…I’m thankful that my family has had the opportunity to be a part of this great nation, a nation with the benefits of an open society that rewards those who accept personal responsibility for their actions and destiny, those who are willing to contribute to a better tomorrow.

Brad Hect

Mike Sessions
Mike Sessions

February 09, 2021

Would be nice to know if US Consumers were willing to pay $50 more per iPhone, would Apple “eat” the other $15 each to produce them in the United States? They could continue to produce a “low cost model” for overseas Consumers.

T R lindquist
T R lindquist

February 09, 2021

I look at everything I buy even down to produce if is not from U.S.A. I don’t need or buy it.
I wonder how many of these people that made comments drive foreign autos, because they don’t care about their country or fellow man.

Chris Amon
Chris Amon

February 09, 2021

I want is Apple Computer of Laptop, Macintosh, Iphones and Ipads to be Made in America. We’re ask if we can boycott imported which was made overseas.

Stephen Bush
Stephen Bush

February 09, 2021

We need to keep jobs in america and dont be so greedy.We live in a great nation lets stand behind her!

Randy Boonstra
Randy Boonstra

February 09, 2021

Cook also said in the interview that Apple parks billions of dollars off shore because of tax reasons. Again, if profits were not an issue then bringing the money back to America would not be an issue.

Cindy K.
Cindy K.

February 09, 2021

This type of excuse angers me so much it’s always about the profits to shareholders….but do know and understand that we have our own personal China right here in America-doubts? Look at sheltered workshops for the disabled and see what they pay the workers there….any company should make a profit…making it at the expense of people is just lousy care-less bottom line attitude for shareholders. Uggh I’m so sick of it…I buy American as much as I can and tell everyone I can that it is worth a few bucks extra to me knowing that workers are compensated and safe.

M J Cheslock
M J Cheslock

February 09, 2021

Be American! Buy American!

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