With the new Mac Pro, Apple has once against shifted manufacturing of one of its products to the United States. Could other products follow? Even, say, the iPhone?
Foxconn chairman and president Terry Gou has hinted yes, saying that the company is actively looking into the possibility of setting up factories for high-end smartphone and tablet production in America. But how likely is it?
Over at Unwired View, writer Vlad Bobleanta has written an interesting piece, saying that it’s not as outlandish as it seems:
The company wants to look to the US in part because of the Obama administration’s focus on ‘bringing back manufacturing jobs’ to the country, but also because of the highly skilled workforce it could find over there. The continuously growing wages and lack of skilled workers are the two main problems it’s identified in Asia. And the even bigger wages that American workers will demand could be offset by using highly automated production tools – thus achieving the same production numbers as in China with much fewer workers employed. Furthermore, stuff made in the USA and sold there would not have any costs associated with imports.
For those who think the labor costs alone would make it impossible to manufacture the iPhone in America, it would not be as much as you think. Google manufactures some Moto X handsets in the U.S. and, on average, it only costs them about $4 extra per handset to make it domestically.
The biggest practical issues in regards to making iPhones in America is actually transportation of components and taxes. The main reason iPhones are made in Asia is because all of the components going into them are already there. If iPhones were made in the U.S., those components would need to be shipped here at great expense. Then there’s the tax bill to take into account: corporate taxes in America are much more expensive than in China.
So there are still practical issues at play here. I doubt we’ll ever see all iPhones made in America. But it’s possible that one day, at least some iPhones will be made domestically, if only for PR points. What do you think?
Source: Unwired View.