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October 1, 2013
17:18 // 11 months ago
January 21, 2012

More on Apple & FoxConn’s suicide issues

wherethecrowflies says: No mention of the 14 suicides at that factory in China last year? Must not be important enough for the New York Times..

» SFB says: They’ve covered those issues numerous times before. (By the way, the suicides happened in 2010 and Apple made changes as a result of them.) While it’s clearly a big issue and probably deserved a mention, this article honestly isn’t about that quite as much. Personally, it didn’t bother me it wasn’t mentioned, simply because it’s been covered at depth numerous times before. This is about a particular angle of that whole mess that doesn’t get quite as much play. The stuff about the supply chain being much easier to handle in Asia than the U.S.? That’s a big deal and told me something fairly new. Honestly, I felt this article was angled towards people who already knew about Apple and FoxConn, but perhaps didn’t know the systemic reasons the company moved away from “Made in the U.S.A.” — Ernie @ SFB

17:16 // 2 years ago
On Apple, the U.S. economy, and China’s manufacturing prowess
The U.S. factories couldn’t get close enough to perfection for Steve Jobs. So Apple went to China. In perhaps the broadest profile you’ll read about the manufacturing process that creates most of the electronics you use today, The New York Times’ analysis of the structural reasons why the iPhone isn’t made in the U.S. manages to pull off a surprising trick: It turns a story which on the surface is about one of the world’s largest corporations into a story which shows weaknesses in the recession-laden U.S. economy. A quick roundup of what we learned from this article:
one Apple was a late-comer to the international manufacturing racket, and as recently as 2003 built their products in California. Before they went to Asia, they struggled to keep up with the rest of the tech industry, which used the kinds of contractors Apple uses now.
two In Asia, it’s much easier to get all their ducks in a row in terms of supply chain management. The lower labor cost helps, but it’s the ability to turn on a dime — such as when Apple changed its iPhone screen from plastic to glass — that really makes a difference in terms of cost.
three Despite the outsourcing, an important point to keep in mind is that Apple’s success does create jobs in the U.S., both directly — 8,000 in the past year alone — and indirectly, with companies like FedEx and UPS adding many jobs based solely on Apple’s needs. source
» What it means for the U.S. economy: With speed, flexibility and manufacturing prowess better in China, Apple’s move abroad has taken two types of jobs out of play: One, the low-paid but stable manufacturing job (which FoxConn offers both to Apple and numerous other manufacturers); and two, the mid-level engineer, which the article suggests is hard to find in the U.S., but easy to find in China. In fact, the story features a fascinating anecdote about a mid-level engineer who once worked a well-paying job at a U.S. Apple factory, only to get laid off and, years later, work another Apple job he was overqualified for — at a much lower salary. That’s the real story. Look past Apple. They’re the hook of the article, but the real story is how the U.S. economy is no longer the best spot for these kinds of jobs. How can the U.S. change that?
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The U.S. factories couldn’t get close enough to perfection for Steve Jobs. So Apple went to China. In perhaps the broadest profile you’ll read about the manufacturing process that creates most of the electronics you use today, The New York Times’ analysis of the structural reasons why the iPhone isn’t made in the U.S. manages to pull off a surprising trick: It turns a story which on the surface is about one of the world’s largest corporations into a story which shows weaknesses in the recession-laden U.S. economy. A quick roundup of what we learned from this article:

  • one Apple was a late-comer to the international manufacturing racket, and as recently as 2003 built their products in California. Before they went to Asia, they struggled to keep up with the rest of the tech industry, which used the kinds of contractors Apple uses now.
  • two In Asia, it’s much easier to get all their ducks in a row in terms of supply chain management. The lower labor cost helps, but it’s the ability to turn on a dime — such as when Apple changed its iPhone screen from plastic to glass — that really makes a difference in terms of cost.
  • three Despite the outsourcing, an important point to keep in mind is that Apple’s success does create jobs in the U.S., both directly — 8,000 in the past year alone — and indirectly, with companies like FedEx and UPS adding many jobs based solely on Apple’s needs. source

» What it means for the U.S. economy: With speed, flexibility and manufacturing prowess better in China, Apple’s move abroad has taken two types of jobs out of play: One, the low-paid but stable manufacturing job (which FoxConn offers both to Apple and numerous other manufacturers); and two, the mid-level engineer, which the article suggests is hard to find in the U.S., but easy to find in China. In fact, the story features a fascinating anecdote about a mid-level engineer who once worked a well-paying job at a U.S. Apple factory, only to get laid off and, years later, work another Apple job he was overqualified for — at a much lower salary. That’s the real story. Look past Apple. They’re the hook of the article, but the real story is how the U.S. economy is no longer the best spot for these kinds of jobs. How can the U.S. change that?

Follow ShortFormBlog

17:01 // 2 years ago
January 19, 2012
Apple, you have all those employees over there [China], you wanna bring them back, you’ll pay a 35% tax. Under our plan, you bring them back and open a factory in Charleston, you pay nothing.

Rick Santorum, answering a question about how he would bring manufacturing back into the U.S. with power companies like Apple already based in lower-cost places like China.

More debate coverage: ShortFormBlog | DC Decoder

21:09 // 2 years ago
December 29, 2010
Not willing to share: China limiting exports of rare earth minerals: China produces 97 percent of the world’s rare-earth materials, used in all sorts of ways. But now China doesn’t want to share so much anymore – and other countries are pissed. source Follow ShortFormBlog

Not willing to share: China limiting exports of rare earth minerals: China produces 97 percent of the world’s rare-earth materials, used in all sorts of ways. But now China doesn’t want to share so much anymore – and other countries are pissed. source

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9:55 // 3 years ago