Why the iPhone is made in China

By on January 23, 2012 5:38:54 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Draginol

Join Date 03/2001
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There’s been a lot of talk about the New York Times article on why Iphones are made in china.

If you haven’t read it, you can find the article here.

I was reading comments on Slashdot and it was apparent that most of them didn’t read the article. They assumed it was all because of “cheap labor”.

According to the article, it has more to do with the type of expertise that is readily available there – lots of people with mid level technical knowledge (i.e. people with say 2 year degree equivalents) that tend to get poo-pooed here in the US.

One thing that I found interesting was the number of people who place the blame on Apple for making these choices even as Americans outsource every day when they purchase products that say clearly “Made in China”.

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January 23, 2012 5:41:51 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

WTF, now I have to login to see that article?

I guess I better stop quoting an article with a link to it as I will probably be extradited.

Well I found it and I like the "flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers"

flexibility = 80 hr work week
diligence = no bathroom breaks 
industrial skills = they can work a screw gun 

All while living in a dorm no better than prison conditions in Canada. No wonder there is nets to keep people from jumping.


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January 23, 2012 5:55:20 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Read this yesterday:

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/01/22/1796909/why-iphone-wont-be-made-in-usa.html

Best article I've read about it... the story of the iPhone and why China got it, and a certain dinner party in California.... and why those jobs won't be coming back.

What killed it for us is the availability of their labor, and skilled labor. Their flexibility and speed. Oh yes... and a government which funded the whole thing.

Reminds me of the Olympics and the Communist state funded athletes. The playing field isn't level...

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January 23, 2012 6:06:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It still seems to me like it boils down to cheap labour, just the right kind. I mean, how many Americans would want that job, for that salary, working under those conditions, and had the skills necessary for it? Too few, obviously.

One thing that I found interesting was the number of people who place the blame on Apple for making these choices even as Americans outsource every day when they purchase products that say clearly “Made in China”.

Yup, pretty much. It is called eating the cake and having it. Purchasing power rules. But people are greedy, and want the "best" they can get for the lowest price. So other concerns like environment and working conditions go out the window. So very "economic man".

Hell, I just got the 4S in december myself. But you don't hear me whining about working conditions. Every now industrialized country in the world has gone through the same phase where massive manufacture output is bought with the sweat and blood of workers. China is no different, and it is no more abhorrent in China than anywhere else where it occurred.

I, for one, am glad to help out China's growing wages and its emerging middle class. And if I can get an excellent product while doing so, well, that's just a sealed deal, isn't it?

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January 23, 2012 6:13:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

By the way, when talking about Apple and Foxconn, it is always important to move the discussion above just pointing fingers at apple. Foxconn's other major customers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn#Major_customers 

You might recognize a few:

    Acer Inc. (Taiwan)
    Amazon.com (United States)
    Apple Inc. (United States)
    ASRock (Taiwan)
    Asus (Taiwan)
    Barnes & Noble (United States)
    Cisco (United States)
    Dell (United States)
    EVGA Corporation (United States)
    Hewlett-Packard (United States)
    Intel (United States)
    IBM (United States)
    Lenovo (China)
    Logitech (Switzerland)
    Microsoft (United States)
    MSI (Taiwan)
    Motorola (United States)
    Netgear (United States)
    Nintendo (Japan)
    Nokia (Finland)
    Panasonic (Japan)
    Philips (Netherlands)
    Sharp (Japan)
    Sony Ericsson (Japan/Sweden)
    Toshiba (Japan)
    Vizio (United States)

So let's at least be honest. This is not just Apple's conundrum. It is something that the entirety of US tech industry currently must face.

 

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January 23, 2012 6:33:19 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

According to the article, it has more to do with the type of expertise that is readily available there – lots of people with mid level technical knowledge (i.e. people with say 2 year degree equivalents) that tend to get poo-pooed here in the US.

What Doc said, "Oh yes... and a government which funded the whole thing."

I marvel every day at what it costs in this country to get a job.  When I was going to grade school, over half of my teachers didn't have actual college degrees--they had a 2-year teaching certificate they got at the regional teacher's school; now you have to have at least a bachelor's degree for that.  My late sister was an RN before she got sick and she got her degree at a 2-year technical school...now you have to have a bachelor's degree for that.  The job I'm doing now, (although it certainly doesn't pay what it did) I got into with just a high school degree, now you have to have an associate's degree and 2 year's of acute care experience just to make 6-cents-a-line.  Why are we demanding this sort of education AND experience, rather than giving out on-the-job training anymore?  The trend is for less government, and that equals less education, which ends up being more outsourcing to countries that provide either free or inexpensive education for THEIR people. 

This is not working for us--a person shouldn't have to get into thousands of dollars worth of debt just to get a job. 

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January 23, 2012 6:58:52 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I'm really challenged by your post, Karen... as usual.

I think our current philosophy of education/training has to be altered to Professional training/Personal education... and degrees altered accordingly as well as tracks made for each, which need not necessarily be simultaneous nor as inflexible as they are now (or were when I was in college).

I also think we have to come up with a much better answer than our current one to elementary and secondary education such as the children being enabled to choose what they want to learn (within reason and with a basic core curriculum) and when. Full use of technology should be made, as well...

And they should be taught to type well.

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January 23, 2012 7:45:48 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,
And they should be taught to type well
Don't think I don't known who you are talking about.

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January 23, 2012 7:51:15 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Zubaz,
Don't think I don't known who you are talking about.

No typos?

OK, who are you, and what have you done with the REAL Zubaz? ...

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January 23, 2012 7:53:51 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Zubaz,
Don't think I don't known

It's Zubaz.

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January 23, 2012 7:57:13 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Oh, heck.....

Call off the search!!!!!

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January 23, 2012 8:03:07 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

In the US, we couldn't do some of the things mentioned in those articles for almost any amount of money.

Part of it is a population density thing.  Where could a company here hire up 3000 engineers in a week?

 

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January 23, 2012 8:41:12 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Perhaps, but they seem to be able to make cities pop up overnight as well... and have other needed parts 2 blocks away.

How can they have 3,000 engineers on pop-up as well? There's more afoot than population density... although that's tempting...

I think they are more mobile, too... more willing to relocate? Hell, how do they do it?

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January 23, 2012 9:03:37 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Well, I couldn't care one bit if the iPhone is made in China and here is why. First off I am not a bleeding heart that is going to say its less jobs for us. They need to be made somewhere and there are reasons (some good) why they are not made in our back yard.

At one time I avoided buying anything from China. It was always equated with cheap. Not anymore. I can personally speak from experience after buying several things from China including an expensive watch, camera lens and yes even the iPhone that quality has not been a problem and in some cases I would argue better. Perhaps I am a cold hearted bastard but it is more important to me that when purchasing a product my hard earned money is buying quality and that the product is not going to let me down in the first month of using it. If that means buying something from China, Taiwan or even Munchkinland so be it.  

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January 23, 2012 9:03:45 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I don't care what the reasons are as to why the iPhone is made in China. American based companies should build all their products, every aspect of them, in the US period! Maybe we would not have such a crappy economy right now if they would bring those jobs home where they belong.

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January 23, 2012 9:07:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


From what I've read on Apple's China factories they have workers commiting suicide and most of them work for practically slave labor. No excuse will really fly in my eyes other than they know that American's with low to mid level technical skills won't work for pennies like the Chinese will.

Quoting LightStar,
I don't care what the reasons are as to why the iPhone is made in China. American based companies should build all their products, every aspect of them, in the US period! Maybe we would not have such a crappy economy right now if they would bring those jobs home where they belong.

Nail, on the head, smash!!! Well said, LightStar.

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January 23, 2012 9:10:58 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
Where could a company here hire up 3000 engineers in a week?


Do we need ACTUAL engineers, or can we train some fairly bright people to do the work of an engineer without an engineering degree, and perhaps give them a path to work at becoming an actual engineer? (you know...apprentice, journeyman, master?)  Can't we, in the name of patriotism, hire a few fixer uppers, rather than demanding the full workforce have Ph.D.s, and low wage requirements?  How much of a degree is the actual nuts and bolts of the job and how much of it is simply uppity hoops to jump through so the student thinks they're getting the education they paid for, and the faculty can use THEIR useless degree claiming to be shaping the future.

 

I think they are more mobile, too... more willing to relocate? Hell, how do they do it?

Have you seen the videos of Foxconn?  Relocating seems like a move up, considering most of the workers live in dormitories on the factory grounds, that look a little like our prisons.  When the alternative is peasant wife, I guess factory gulag is the better choice. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/farmers-wives-paying-a-terrible-price-for-progress-616209.html

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January 23, 2012 9:16:50 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting LightStar,
I don't care what the reasons are as to why the iPhone is made in China. American based companies should build all their products, every aspect of them, in the US period! Maybe we would not have such a crappy economy right now if they would bring those jobs home where they belong.

 

That is fine with me LightStar if you will build them better. My comment had more to do with product quality then economy or logistics. I am not American and all i want is an iPhone I will not have to use as a paper weight.

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January 23, 2012 9:25:20 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

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January 23, 2012 9:37:36 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting k10w3,
Why are we demanding this sort of education AND experience, rather than giving out on-the-job training anymore?  The trend is for less government, and that equals less education, which ends up being more outsourcing to countries that provide either free or inexpensive education for THEIR people.

We are going through the same thing down here. The mining industry is complaining about not having enough skill workers, but are not prepared to train the workers. The will import workers from other countries before they put in the time to train someone. It's a lazy, faster way to have a flexible workforce. Good in the short term, hurts Australia in the long term.

There is no reason why US can't have workforce they need. The problem is the Government is not prepared to put the policy in place to achieve it, they(and the people) expect the commercial sector to do so. The commercial sector will always do what is right for themselves and not what is right for the Nation. Nations are strong with strong Governments having a proactive role.

Western Governments are always looking at the next election ...

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January 23, 2012 9:48:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am a panda bear.

In economic and financial circles a bear is someone who thinks stocks are going to go down, and a bull is someone who thinks they are going to rise in value. A panda bear is someone who has a negative China outlook.

There is no shortage of people who point out serious vulnerabilities and flaws in the Chinese economy. Look up china bubble on Google. The celebrated China economic model is just plain old crony capitalism and the command style of government is not a good thing either.  It is a parasite that exists on the actual productive part of the Chinese economy and miss-allocates tons of capital. Introduction of advanced technology to china combined with its demographics, and globalization has simply created the right environment for a huge economic boom. That boom will fade in the coming years if not months for so many reasons that I could list them forever, again look it up on Google.

That said the US will never get it's manufacturing industry back, that ship has sailed. If not China some other country will do it. The huge drop in labor from globalization has hidden other trends, even in China workers are starting to be replaced by cheaper robots! What chance do workers in America have?

Quoting tazgecko,
There is no reason why US can't have workforce they need. The problem is the Government is not prepared to put the policy in place to achieve it, they(and the people) expect the commercial sector to do so. The commercial sector will always do what is right for themselves and not what is right for the Nation. Nations are strong with strong Governments having a proactive role.

Umm no that's not the businesses fault. As others have said the fault their lies with the Education Industry, which is really what you would expect from the weird combination of public and private that make up universities and colleges.

 

 

 

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January 23, 2012 10:34:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DsRaider,

That said the US will never get it's manufacturing industry back, that ship has sailed. If not China some other country will do it. The huge drop in labor from globalization has hidden other trends, even in China workers are starting to be replaced by cheaper robots! What chance do workers in America have?

Well, you could explore this trend of replacing workers by robots. Every branch of industry that has made people redundant because of automation has become more productive. Production has become inverse to the number of employed people. Pretty soon there won't be any technical reason for human labor in most branches of industry. The service sector can't absorb everyone that has become redundant, and it too will feel the effects of automation in the not too distant future. So then what?

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January 23, 2012 10:49:54 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Satrhan,
So then what?

People will then just sit on Facebook and twitter........

Oh....

.......Right......

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January 23, 2012 10:55:02 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

So then what?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wa4U6TQlNI&feature=player_embedded

Luve the people scoops. Good analogy of workers on Wall St  
and the dummies don't even try to jump out of the scoop

 


I think Charles has a Soylent Green alergy

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January 23, 2012 11:12:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Satrhan,
The service sector can't absorb everyone that has become redundant, and it too will feel the effects of automation in the not too distant future. So then what?

That is very true, the truly disturbing trend however is how advanced computer programs are replacing mid level employees, ie they can search databases and do paper work. It is called the great hallowing out.

Really productivity is the most basic and truest way to increase wealth. The more productive its members the richer a society. The introduction of farm machinery displaced agricultural workers into cities, and was incredibly disruptive and harmful to many many people. However eventually the available labor that was channeled into manufacturing and became the basis of modern society. Similarly the economy could adapt to to a huge increase in manufacturing productivity but I don't expect it to be easy and I'm not happy about having to live through it.... Eventually though society will probably be better off, as more people move into other fields. The main problem is our inflexible education system because of the unprecedented amount of skill and education required for people to make the shift. Pretty soon you will need a specialized degree to make more then minimum wage.

Luckily for Stardock programmers will be relatively safe.

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January 24, 2012 12:10:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

In the past every time there was so much eccess population there was a world war to take out a large chunk  and then what-ever countries are left tend to go through a golden growth phase. I think the next WW will probably see US soil being invaded and since that's where I live I'm not exactly routing for that to happen.

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