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Apple's Chinese manufacturing used as talking point in presidential debate

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
During the second U.S. presidential debate on Tuesday, moderator Candy Crowley broached the hot-button topic of outsourcing, citing Apple as one of the "great American companies" that sends manufacturing jobs overseas to avoid high labor costs.

Presidential Debate
President Barack Obama responds to a statement from Republican candidate Mitt Romney during the second
U.S. presidential debate. | Source: The Washington Post


Crowley invoked Apple in a final question, asking what President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney would do, if anything, to bring back jobs American manufacturers lost to cheap and abundant foreign labor.

"iPad, the Macs the iPhones, they're all manufactured in China," Crowley began. "One of the major reasons is labor is so much cheaper here (sic). How do you convince a great American company to bring that manufacturing back here?"

Governor Romney was first to answer, saying that America is not at fault, but China's "cheating" in major industry is.

"We can compete with anyone in the world as long as the playing field is level," Governor Romney said, adding, "China's been cheating over the years."

He went on to explain that China has devalued their currency, hacked computers and stolen intellectual property. On the last issue, the Massachusetts governor pointed to the counterfeit "Apple Stoers (sic)" discovered last year in Kunming, China.

As for domestic policy, the Republican candidate made clear that America needs to be made "more attractive to entrepreneurs" and "people who want to expand business." The candidate failed to clarify the stance and instead moved to attack President Obama's tax plan, a strategic move that Crowley cut short due to time constraints.



In response, President Obama conceded that some jobs have left American soil for good, but said such a loss might in the end be chalked up as a net positive.

"Candy, there are some jobs that are not going to come back," the President said. "They're low-wage, low-skill jobs. I want high-wage, high-skill jobs."

Going further, the President said America must emphasize manufacturing and invest in advanced manufacturing, which he says will bring stability going forward. The argument turned quickly to tax reform and the funding of science and research to propel the U.S. forward for years to come.

"If we're adding to our deficit for tax cuts," President Obama said, "and we're cutting investments in research and Science that will create the next Apple, create the next new innovation that will sell products around the world, we will lose that race."

While Apple was merely a jumping off point for the ensuing political banter, the Cupertino company's job creating power, along with that of many U.S. corporations like it, continues to be a significant economic factor impacting the nation today.
post #2 of 51

Yeah, this definitely needs moved to PO…

 

Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
"Candy, there are some jobs that are not going to come back," the President said.


I wonder… I wonder if this is President Obama taking to heart what Steve (was it allegedly?) told him. 

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post #3 of 51
This thread is going to be retarded...

Sorry to the liberals for saying retarded.

And sorry to the conservatives for apologizing for saying retarded.
post #4 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanSolecki View Post

This thread is going to be retarded...
Sorry to the liberals for saying retarded.
And sorry to the conservatives for apologizing for saying retarded.

 

Liberals don't freak out about the use of retarded, when its context makes sense.

 

Conservatives crap themselves over retarded and go Palinesque on anyone pointing out her acumen is mentally retarded, at best.

post #5 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanSolecki View Post

This thread is going to be retarded...
Sorry to the liberals for saying retarded.
And sorry to the conservatives for apologizing for saying retarded.

You are right, this thread will be retarded. The economy is down world wide, if that wasn't the case nobody would care.
post #6 of 51
Not great work from the moderator: labor is a much more MINOR and more-easily solved reason to be in China, compared to how rapidly those companies can respond to Apple%u2019s needs. Firstly, they can quickly adapt and expand new manufacturing processes much faster than any US competitor can, and secondly, they have all or many of the needed suppliers and expertise located in one place, so parts and designs don%u2019t need to travel far.

Those factors COULD be re-created in the US, in theory, at massive expense and risk, if some US companies wanted to get together and attempt it. But it%u2019s no simple thing. It%u2019s not just %u201Chire an American company to do exactly what these Chinese companies are doing.%u201D

That said, there are plenty of companies, other than Apple, that ARE in China for the sake of low wages, and could more easily go domestic. (Textiles and clothing, anyone? MUCH simpler to design and build than Apple%u2019s electronics.)
post #7 of 51
What's stupid is that Apple wasn't the first company to ship jobs overseas, they did it to compete against the others that started the trend in the 90's.

But at least they aren't shipping their tech support and development overseas like Intel, HP, Dell, etc. are doing. Tech support and development are typically higher wage jobs than assembly work.

Personally, we actually have too many people that can't afford to have children, having children. That's the problem with China and many countries. I know it doesn't sound Politically Correct, but we have too many people and not enough jobs to go around.
post #8 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanSolecki View Post

This thread is going to be retarded...
Sorry to the liberals for saying retarded.
And sorry to the conservatives for apologizing for saying retarded.

LOL, that was AWESOME. 

 

I am only bummed out that anybody in government would dare to suggest that government was in any way responsible for the Apples of the world.  I think Steve Jobs is a pretty fair example of "wouldn't have mattered where".  He was born to be Steve Jobs.

post #9 of 51
The percentage of an iDevice's total cost that goes to labor is very small.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2400611,00.asp

The reason they are manufactured in China is less because of low labor costs, and more because giant complexes are set up in such a way that your entire supply chain is in one place, simplifying logistics.
post #10 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Narcogen View Post

The percentage of an iDevice's total cost that goes to labor is very small.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2400611,00.asp
The reason they are manufactured in China is less because of low labor costs, and more because giant complexes are set up in such a way that your entire supply chain is in one place, simplifying logistics.

Bingo. Some folks just don't understand what goes into a product's final assembly. They think, "Americans could put that together. I'd pay another $10 if it was made in the USA. Why don't they move the factory to America?". What they don't realize:

 

-the hundreds of parts that go into, say, an iPhone and its packaging are mostly produced in East Asia: other parts of China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam. Some from the US. 

 

-Chinese cities and facilities provide enormous scales and flexibility that simply don't exist in the US. In China, it's "Hey, you 50,000 people. Help us build 25 million iPhones 5s by Christmas. Next door, they're going to build a few million iPad Minis". 

 

-putting together an iPhone is dull, repetitive work. The Chinese folks at Foxconn work ridiculously long hours and literally live at the factory. So if 5,000 people need to be gathered in the middle of the night for an emergency, it's completely feasible. I can't think of any American facility that can do that.

post #11 of 51
Labor is where China shines. This is just the truth of it. But manufacturing can and must be done domestically. The Prez said as much. So, those A5 chips made in Texas = good... but TSMC is in Taiwan. That's not so good. The solution? Apple builds their own foundries in Cupertino ( or anywhere else in the US.) Win/Win for all.l

I own...

1 Android Phone, 2 iPads, 1 Windows Tablet, 1 Mac Desktop, 1 Windows Laptop, 1 Linux Server, 1 Linux HTPC

 

They all are used regularly and each have their place. Competition is good.

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I own...

1 Android Phone, 2 iPads, 1 Windows Tablet, 1 Mac Desktop, 1 Windows Laptop, 1 Linux Server, 1 Linux HTPC

 

They all are used regularly and each have their place. Competition is good.

Reply
post #12 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

Personally, we actually have too many people that can't afford to have children, having children. That's the problem with China and many

You do realize that China still has that "1 child per family" law, right?

I own...

1 Android Phone, 2 iPads, 1 Windows Tablet, 1 Mac Desktop, 1 Windows Laptop, 1 Linux Server, 1 Linux HTPC

 

They all are used regularly and each have their place. Competition is good.

Reply

I own...

1 Android Phone, 2 iPads, 1 Windows Tablet, 1 Mac Desktop, 1 Windows Laptop, 1 Linux Server, 1 Linux HTPC

 

They all are used regularly and each have their place. Competition is good.

Reply
post #13 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I wonder… I wonder if this is President Obama taking to heart what Steve (was it allegedly?) told him. 

When deciding policy, Obama thinks, "What would Steve do..."

;-)
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Apple managed the astonishing feat of getting the equivalent of a personal computer into the hands of everybody from eight to eighty year olds, and did so while providing absolutely no instructions...
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post #14 of 51

Invest heavily in robotic technologies. That's the only way manufacturing in the US will become feasible.

post #15 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Invest heavily in robotic technologies. That's the only way manufacturing in the US will become feasible.

 

Horse crap. We at NeXT had a fully automated manufacturing assembly for the NeXT Product line. That wasn't the reason for the extremely high pricing. Sorry, advances in Manufacturing will be a synergy of Humanity and Robotics.

post #16 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Invest heavily in robotic technologies. That's the only way manufacturing in the US will become feasible.


By the time those factories and robots have been developed to be able to assemble  for example the iPhone 5, Apple will already be marketing the iPhone 7. Robots aren't flexible enough when product lifetime is a few years. People are! Remember that Apple releases a new product every year that sells more than all of the previous iPhone sales put together. The ramp up is massive and is probably impossible to do without being able to tap into a pool of tens of thousands of assembly workers that can be trained and on site in weeks rather than months or years...

post #17 of 51

Steve Jobs products are touched by hundreds of thousands of pairs of hands. Hands who have been trained to handle, with care, IC Products and to test them so that when they are stamped out by the millions the failure rate are reduced to a maximum.

 

If you think the Auto Industry, the Space Industry, the you name it industry of Defense is built buy cheap, Chinese Labor you're all sorely mistaken.

 

Incentives to off-shore and to thus do so was put in place to make any sane business person to off-shore their manufacturing. Just as easy as it is to give incentives to off-shore the same goes for on-shore.

 

One of the biggest incentives is national security.

 

You want to see advanced manufacturing then you invest in it. The US has restored nearly 800k manufacturing jobs in Wind, Solar and Bio Energies. Cheap labor isn't bring those products to market.

 

People need to study Mechanical Engineering and its Manufacturing Processes before spouting off about a conversation by men in Silicon Valley who currently are encouraged to off-shore.

 

Those same men will be encouraged to on-shore by advances in Engineering, Physics the same way these companies were created via DARPA, NSF, and more.

 

Sorry, but the days of Cheap Labor in China are coming to an end, from within the US and from within China and their own people.

post #18 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Invest heavily in robotic technologies. That's the only way manufacturing in the US will become feasible.

 

Surely  the point of bringing manufacturing back to the US would be to employ actual real people, not robots? A factory full of robots will do nothing to create jobs bar the 5 or so people required to supervise them.... and the odds are those robots will have been made in China anyway.

post #19 of 51

Someone remind me where the A5 and A6 processors are made again?

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    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

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post #20 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

 

Horse crap. We at NeXT had a fully automated manufacturing assembly for the NeXT Product line. 

 

I'm not talking about yesterdays robots.

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonteponte View Post


By the time those factories and robots have been developed to be able to assemble  for example the iPhone 5, Apple will already be marketing the iPhone 7. Robots aren't flexible enough when product lifetime is a few years. People are! 

 

 

I'm not talking about todays robots.

 

It is inevitable that future generations of robots will be just a flexible as humans, then exceed them.

 

IMO There are two ways manufacturing will return:

 

1) Asia's increased wealth makes them uncompetitive.

2) Robots, not yesterday, not now, in the future. However long that may be.

post #21 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMcM76 View Post

 

Surely  the point of bringing manufacturing back to the US would be to employ actual real people, not robots? A factory full of robots will do nothing to create jobs bar the 5 or so people required to supervise them.... and the odds are those robots will have been made in China anyway.

 

Oh I agree! It doesn't really achieve much. Was just saying thats all. The US government can't just force companies to manufacture at home. 

 

 

Hell there might even become a time in the distant future when the consumer creates an entire iPhone at home by an advanced 3D printer.


Edited by monstrosity - 10/17/12 at 2:42am
post #22 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Narcogen View Post

The percentage of an iDevice's total cost that goes to labor is very small.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2400611,00.asp
The reason they are manufactured in China is less because of low labor costs, and more because giant complexes are set up in such a way that your entire supply chain is in one place, simplifying logistics.

The reason the percentage of an iDevice's total cost that goes to labor is so small is that the assembly workers are paid so little. It takes about eight hours to assemble an iPad; in the USA that could easily cost $120 to $200 per device, as opposed to $10 in China.
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post #23 of 51
Obama: "Some jobs have left American soil for good.". Then added, "Steve Jobs told me so!"

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #24 of 51
Why is china devalue currency "cheating?" It is a price China pays with inflation and future problems. If the US don't like the cheap goods from China, don't buy them. If we think they are bing unfair, tax the imports. Every government choose to do what it does for itself. Blame other people is stupid.
post #25 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by winstein2010 View Post

Why is china devalue currency "cheating?" 

Because it is against international rules.

post #26 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Horse crap. We at NeXT had a fully automated manufacturing assembly for the NeXT Product line. That wasn't the reason for the extremely high pricing. Sorry, advances in Manufacturing will be a synergy of Humanity and Robotics.

That is fascinating to know. I would imagine that robotics are also very expensive and time consuming to change quickly as products change rapidly as with Apple. In the'old' days when products remained unchanged for far longer I imagine situations where robotic production lines were cost effective for many things but today? The speed Apple can bring new products to market is truly staggering. What is needed to automate such fast changing production I wonder?

Do you foresee a new type of robotic manufacturing that is capable of dealing with the likes of Apple? I have long wonded if Apple themselves are not looking at such possibilities behind the scenes. They seem to have an MO that solves problems others just live with.
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post #27 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

...we actually have too many people that can't afford to have children, having children. That's the problem with China and many countries. I know it doesn't sound Politically Correct, but we have too many people and not enough jobs to go around.
 

This is mostly correct. China of course has a huge population although their rate of growth is under control with the one child per family rule. This law does cause some social issues as the children end up with an altered social development but that is a very minor problem. Your other point of too many poor people worldwide having too many children is a ticking time bomb. We as a planet are consuming far too many resources to be sustainable. The unemployment and economic situation is definitely a symptom of this overpopulation crisis.

 

In the US we have a higher than normal unemployment rate, but bringing manufacturing back to the US would not employ very many of the people who are currently unemployed. Many of those people are virtually unemployable. They have minimal education, no skills, and usually some domestic problems or health issues making them unreliable employees. Yet they keep having more children and feed them nothing but junk food. The only solution is fewer births and more education.

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post #28 of 51

Today the smart money for businesses is in IP, not manufacture.

 

I'm not sure how that model can be made to serve society however...

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post #29 of 51
Generally speaking, companies move jobs overseas to increase profit margin, not because they can't afford to pay American workers. Retail prices for products rarely have any close connection to the cost of labor involved. Just think about the markup for products like clothing and shoes...the prices are nowhere near to the actual cost of materials and labor.
post #30 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
In the US we have a higher than normal unemployment rate, but bringing manufacturing back to the US would not employ very many of the people who are currently unemployed. Many of those people are virtually unemployable. They have minimal education, no skills, and usually some domestic problems or health issues making them unreliable employees. Yet they keep having more children and feed them nothing but junk food. The only solution is fewer births and more education.

 

You seem to be forgetting that the current high unemployment rate is primarily due to the mass layoffs that occurred as the result of the housing market crash and financial meltdown in 2007-2009. You can't claim that someone who was laid off as the result of an economic recession is "unemployable".

post #31 of 51

Completely agree with the education part.  We need to switch our military and education budgets and see where we are in 20 years.  Education solves multiple problems at once, less drugs, less abortions, staying in school, better jobs, future companies, smarter workforce, etc.  Too bad the GOP wants to cut education and invest more in military...

post #32 of 51

Completely agree.  I love Apple products, but does Tim Cook really need to be making $400 million in 1 year alone?  All these CEO's and board members have so much money they are buying the gov't.  If you have that much money lying around something is wrong with the system.

post #33 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Because it is against international rules.

 

I guess they should just do it the American way, print large quantity of money, release it into circulation under the term Quantitative Easing.

 

Oh, BTW, there are no international rule on devaluation of currency.  Sorry to burst your bubble.

post #34 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by foregoneconclusion View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
In the US we have a higher than normal unemployment rate, but bringing manufacturing back to the US would not employ very many of the people who are currently unemployed. Many of those people are virtually unemployable. They have minimal education, no skills, and usually some domestic problems or health issues making them unreliable employees. Yet they keep having more children and feed them nothing but junk food. The only solution is fewer births and more education.

 

You seem to be forgetting that the current high unemployment rate is primarily due to the mass layoffs that occurred as the result of the housing market crash and financial meltdown in 2007-2009. You can't claim that someone who was laid off as the result of an economic recession is "unemployable".

 

If you reread my post, I wrote many are unemployed due to problems with their education, skills, domestic or health issues. Perhaps poor reading comprehension skills could be considered part of lack of education. Besides if you were laid off from Wall Street or the housing real estate speculation markets, you weren't really employed, you were part of a criminal enterprise.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #35 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by xsu View Post

 

I guess they should just do it the American way, print large quantity of money, release it into circulation under the term Quantitative Easing.

 

Oh, BTW, there are no international rule on devaluation of currency.  Sorry to burst your bubble.

 

Well that seems a grey area...

 

"The IMF is responsible for exercising firm surveillance over exchange-rate policies. Article IV(1)(iii) IMF Articles contains a rule on competitive devaluations: “Each member state shall avoid manipulating exchange rates … in order [to] ... gain an unfair competitive advantage over other members.”"

post #36 of 51
I heard that Foxconn has 1.2 million Chinese workers. If they are paid like US workers how much will be the total salaries? Let me assume the average US worker is paid $30,000/yr. The total will be 1,200,000 x $30,000 = $36,000,000,000. Foxconn workers are paid like one tenth of US workers. $3,600,000,000 But keep in mind this is not what Foxconn charges Apple. Foxconn also has to pay for the factories, transportation, and profits. That is a factor of two to three. This will be the same if those high tech devices are manufactured in US. So the cost of manufacturing them in US will actually be $72 to $108 billion.
post #37 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankie View Post

Completely agree.  I love Apple products, but does Tim Cook really need to be making $400 million in 1 year alone?  All these CEO's and board members have so much money they are buying the gov't.  If you have that much money lying around something is wrong with the system.
In the 1950s, which so much of conservative America waxes nostalgic for, when the middle class was on the rise and the disparity between the have and have-nots was much smaller than it is today, the average CEOs earned about 30x the average worker's wage. Now it's over 600x.
Quote:
Originally Posted by acslater017 View Post

-putting together an iPhone is dull, repetitive work.
Exactly. When Obama said, the low-skilled jobs were shipped outside the US, and never going to come back, this is what he was talking about. Assembling an iPhone is not rocket surgery. It's assembly line work, like building a car. Anybody can do it with the proper training. Yet the candidates talk about bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US. The sad reality is, that in manufacturing, very little of it requires a college degree, or other specialized education. So I'm a little confused about exactly what jobs these candidates think they are going to bring back. As others have pointed out, the supply chain is localized in Asia, which is a bigger factor than the workers. So are the candidates suggesting companies like Apple bring the supply chains back to the US as well?

Interestingly, Wham-O was forced to bring their manufacturing jobs back to the US, because the Chinese didn't want it. They only want high-tech jobs, not crap jobs. And it has nothing to do with "skill". it doesnt take any more skill for a worker to assemble a toy than it does an iPhone. So the Frisbee is proudly made in the US, while the iPhone is made in China. Something's wrong with that picture.
Edited by Mac_128 - 10/17/12 at 8:00am
post #38 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankie View Post

Completely agree with the education part.  We need to switch our military and education budgets and see where we are in 20 years.  Education solves multiple problems at once, less drugs, less abortions, staying in school, better jobs, future companies, smarter workforce, etc.  Too bad the GOP wants to cut education and invest more in military...

At least start with the truth... the GOP does want to invest in the military, but they also want to invest more in education, as several people, including Romney has said.

post #39 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by doh123 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankie View Post

Completely agree with the education part.  We need to switch our military and education budgets and see where we are in 20 years.  Education solves multiple problems at once, less drugs, less abortions, staying in school, better jobs, future companies, smarter workforce, etc.  Too bad the GOP wants to cut education and invest more in military...

At least start with the truth... the GOP does want to invest in the military, but they also want to invest more in education, as several people, including Romney has said.

Was that with the charter school voucher program?

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #40 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Steve Jobs products are touched by hundreds of thousands of pairs of hands. Hands who have been trained to handle, with care, IC Products and to test them so that when they are stamped out by the millions the failure rate are reduced to a maximum.

 

If you think the Auto Industry, the Space Industry, the you name it industry of Defense is built buy cheap, Chinese Labor you're all sorely mistaken.

 

Incentives to off-shore and to thus do so was put in place to make any sane business person to off-shore their manufacturing. Just as easy as it is to give incentives to off-shore the same goes for on-shore.

 

One of the biggest incentives is national security.

 

You want to see advanced manufacturing then you invest in it. The US has restored nearly 800k manufacturing jobs in Wind, Solar and Bio Energies. Cheap labor isn't bring those products to market.

 

People need to study Mechanical Engineering and its Manufacturing Processes before spouting off about a conversation by men in Silicon Valley who currently are encouraged to off-shore.

 

Those same men will be encouraged to on-shore by advances in Engineering, Physics the same way these companies were created via DARPA, NSF, and more.

 

Sorry, but the days of Cheap Labor in China are coming to an end, from within the US and from within China and their own people.

 

Oh yeah, let's throw money at Solyndra, First Solar, General Investment Management LLP, and other Obama's energy (eg, ethanol) cronies - that ought to solve all our problems!!  What we need is another bubble, a Green Energy bubble to cover up the housing burst! You know, you democrats / libtards can't do no wrong.  Yay, politics rule!


Edited by tooltalk - 10/17/12 at 9:13am
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