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

Publication Date: 
December 11, 2012
National Public Radio - Morning Edition
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.


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.