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Will U.S.-Made Mac Computers Start A Trend?

Publication Date: 
December 11, 2012
Source: 
National Public Radio - Morning Edition
Author: 
Steve Henn

Rock Center Fellow Vivek Wadhwa spoke with NPR's Steve Henn on how Apple's move to manufacture a line of Mac computers in the U.S. may be the begining of a trend for many more companies to move their businesses out of China and back to the U.S. 

Apple's CEO Tim Cook made news by announcing the company will start manufacturing a line of Mac computers in the U.S. But Cook, like Steve Jobs before him, says the main reason Apple produces most of its products overseas isn't about price. It's about a lack of skilled workers in the U.S.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's been years since Apple computers were made in this country, but last week, the company's CEO, Tim Cook, announced that was about to change. He said Apple is spending about $100 million to begin manufacturing a line of Macs in the U.S. NPR's Steven Henn reports it's a tiny investment for Apple, but it could be the beginning of a trend by makers of other products.

...

HENN: Over the past 25 years, U.S. manufacturers were lured to China by the promise of cheap, plentiful labor. But Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford University, believes technologies like Baxter - which use artificial intelligence to create easily programmable, flexible robots - are undercutting that advantage.

VIVEK WADHWA: Five to 10 years from now, you're going to find that most manufacturing begins to move back to the United States.

HENN: Wadhwa says more and more executives are realizing that manufacturing in China has high hidden costs, from public relations problems to piracy to transportation and logistics.

WADHWA: It's not practical to be manufacturing in China, and this is what companies are realizing, that it makes a lot more sense to bring it back to the United States.