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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50


    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. 

  • Reply 2 of 50
    This thread is going to be retarded...

    Sorry to the liberals for saying retarded.

    And sorry to the conservatives for apologizing for saying retarded.
  • Reply 3 of 50

    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.

  • Reply 4 of 50
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 50
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    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.)
  • Reply 6 of 50
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    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.

  • Reply 7 of 50

    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.

  • Reply 8 of 50
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 50

    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.

  • Reply 10 of 50
    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
  • Reply 11 of 50
    drblank wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 12 of 50
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    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..."

    ;-)
  • Reply 13 of 50


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

  • Reply 14 of 50

    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.

  • Reply 15 of 50

    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...

  • Reply 16 of 50


    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.

  • Reply 17 of 50

    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.

  • Reply 18 of 50
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member


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

  • Reply 19 of 50

    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.

  • Reply 20 of 50

    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.

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