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Apple’s U.S. iPhones Can All Be Made Outside of China If Needed (bloomberg.com)
122 points by jason_zig 4 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 165 comments

So this is “made”, not made... assembled somewhere that is not China (so India), but there’s no mention of where all the components they’re assembling are being produced at.

The most recent estimate [1] I could quickly find valued the iPhone X at $600 in components alone (excluding assembly), so any trade war would seem to still be incredibly perilous for Apple, especially on their lower-end products.

I haven’t been following any of this, so perhaps they covered it in another story, but for Bloomberg I really expected a bit more of an in-depth analysis.

1: http://fortune.com/2017/09/18/apple-iphone-x-margins/

Components are not made in China, at least mostly. Chips are from tsmc for example. Mainland China is responsible for the final assembly.

CTRL+F through Apple's supplier list:


China (381) India (9) US (65) Japan (135) Korea (41)

Outsourcing to India will follow the same trend as other Chinese OEMs doing final assembly in India to circumvent 20% import tariff on phones. Most of the materials are still going to be procured from Chinese supply chains.

You need to understand the political difficulty with calling your supplier Taiwanese before reading any list like this.

Pretty sure this list would count tsmc as a Chinese company.

You should at least read the list before making assumptions. The official suppliers list clearly differentiates between PRC (381) and Taiwan (67). From cursory reading, China supplies more materials and components than all other country combined. Some of it is lower tech and can be replaced, but not all of it and certainly not in the short term.

Edit: To add, China's strength is both logistics and the ability to setup new production processes. Mature processes for old phones can be moved to India for production, but major hardware changes in new sku is still only viable in China because only China has the expertise, logistics, capacity to rapidly iterate and trouble shoot new products.

According to the link another commentor replied to my comment with, which includes the actual per-component cost breakdown, the most expensive part is the Samsung display. Where is that manufactured? Well, in 2017 Samsung was planning the world’s largest plant in... you guessed it... China.

Even if some details or price estimates are wrong, the fact that they are dependent upon a third party for the most expensive component with no obvious alternative is a problem.

Even if Samsung plans to put a plant in China, they still have production capacity in Korea. In fact, most of the components that’s come out of China are fungible like that.

Apple tends to have multiple display providers, even for the same phone model (Sharp, LG, Samsung). They are on top of that problem, mostly.

>Apple tends to have multiple display providers

That is only for LCD. Not for OLED, they are only from Samsung.

Until LG's production comes online, that is correct.

Somewhat OT: How do you guarantee for quality/consistency when you have multiple suppliers for a part as sensitive as this?

You provide a very specific definition of "quality" (contrast, brightness, power consumption, color levels, etc, etc) and tell your suppliers to meet it.

Here’s a widely circulated article from 2017 that found the iPhone X components to cost only $370: https://amp.businessinsider.com/iphone-x-teardown-parts-cost...

Component cost guesstimates are not a precise science as more and more components are not sold on open market.

For example, I was astonished when a $1000 IHS report called iPhone 4 battery at ~$10 when the retail price of a replacement is less than that.

iPhone 3 was certainly around just $30 to $40 dollars in cost, but after that, the "arms race" began.

At around iPhone 4 era, all big makers began putting more and more custom and direct sourced components, and estimating costs got much harder.

This works in both directions. Sometimes you can source a part more cheaply than the estimate, in part because the sourced part is lower quality than what Apple uses. Sometimes you can't source a part as cheaply as the estimate, because the estimate is assuming Apple can get the parts at a scale we can't touch.

Basically, these estimates seem like wild guesses.

That’s still a significant percentage to now be dependent upon a country that could end up with huge tariffs. I enjoyed their actual breakdown of price by component, but I wasn’t so much concerned with the actual number... just that being “made” elsewhere was all the mattered.

Note: Unlike what some people will think at first thought, these iPhones are still not likely being made in the US. They're going to invest further into their factories in India.

Sure, to the next "Huawei" stealing our secrets will come out of India. At some point we have acknowledge that cell phone can be made anywhere, and the people making them will surely create their own companies. It is the natural end game.

I think Apple should stand by their human rights mantra and move their production out of China. It should not be a question of where they are sold, the only question a company with their supposed rights advocacy is where they are produced.

China has shown they do not value world opinion.

>I think Apple should stand by their human rights mantra and move their production out of China...

I think you've misapprehended what the article is saying. It's saying that Apple can produce iPhones, intended for consumers in the US, outside of China.

Now I think we can safely infer from that statement that it's possible for Apple to produce any iPhone outside of China.

What we cannot infer from that statement, is that Apple can produce iPhones in places with no human rights violations.

I mean, moving iPhone production from China, to Vietnam, Myanmar, or Malaysia, for the purposes of making a stand against human rights violations is a bit of a head scratcher. But if all we need to do is move out of China, but not necessarily avoid human rights abuses, then it works.

> China, to Vietnam, Myanmar, or Malaysia

One of these is not like the others

Yeah, 2 of those are still on my list to travel to!

All jokes aside, can you tell me why one of these is not like the others? As far as I see they are all 3 lower incomer Asian countries or what am I missing?

Malaysia has many of the problems of middle-income countries, but it is in general a functioning democracy with strong rule of law

I think the implication is that one is not a human rights violator.

Still not quite it. US iphones are not all iphones in the world. Foxconn is not claiming that world iphone capacity could be moved out of China. Nor is it claiming that iphone R and D can be moved out of China.

About 850 million people have lifted themselves out of poverty in China since the eighties. It's extraordinary. Just want to be clear the US is not exactly perfect when it comes to human rights. Sure, China had a lot they need to do better, but the improvements are incredible. In the US, look at Indian reservations, border detentions, hate groups, number of people in jail... We are not the human rights poster child.

“hate groups” exist in the USA because this is a free country. In places without our commitment to freedom and human rights those type of groups would have been suppressed by the government.

Edit: just to be clear some of your other points are fair although I find the “Indian reservations” a bit dated - they are treated as local sovereigns (e.g. casinos, being allowed to violate state level hunting regulations) and are even now being allowed to expand their territory in some places .

The US "commitment to freedom and human rights" rings a bit hollow, IMHO. If you look at western Europe, free speech is restricted a little more, so "hate groups" are illegal. Yet in pretty much all other aspects, these countries are better at ensuring human rights for their citizens.

I'm fairly sure that the US is lagging due to historical reasons. Without a war like Germany experienced, there is too much resistance towards a "clean cut" elimination of racism, so you get an exponentially slow decay instead.

So Germany, Japan (and other countries that experienced destructive wars) have eliminated racism?

Well, eliminated is a bit strong, as you can never eliminate an ideology.

The main point, however, is that Europe has shown over a span of several decades that restricting hate speech a) does not lead to any slippery slope where other forms of speech are restricted and b) that restrictions of hate speech are effective at reducing racism in society.

> The US "commitment to freedom and human rights" rings a bit hollow, IMHO.

Another example of this is how many governments we overthrew during the Cold War, and how many dictators we installed in their place.

> If you look at western Europe, free speech is restricted a little more

I wouldn't call that "free speech".

According to the Cato institute, the most free countries in the world are mostly in Western Europe:

> The jurisdictions that took the top 10 places, in order, were New Zealand, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and Denmark (tied in 6th place), Ireland and the United Kingdom (tied in 8th place), and Finland, Norway, and Taiwan (tied in 10th place). Selected countries rank as follows: Germany (13), the United States and Sweden (17), Republic of Korea (27), Japan (31), ...

So, yes, I would call what they have free speech, in any meaningful use of the word.

Source: https://www.cato.org/human-freedom-index-new

Hmph. Citing a libertarian organization founded by, of all people, Charles Koch and funded by the Koch brothers. [1]

1. https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Cato_Institute

I don't think the prevalence of hate groups is necessarily related to any countries' commitment to freedom and human rights.

Virtually everyone outside of the hate groups wishes they didn't exist, but it's precisely the commitment to freedom that makes it hard to shut them down.

Is this a human rights issue? Again, we agree that we don't want these groups to exist, but I don't think there's ever been a "right to not have people hate you". I don't see a direct line from human rights to lack of hate groups.

Germany implemented laws that forbid holocaust denial for example. The US has no such laws pertaining to its groups.

>“hate groups” exist in the USA because this is a free country. In places without our commitment to freedom and human rights those type of groups would have been suppressed by the government.

Looking at the history of the KKK, for instance, I find this assertion frankly laughable. The KKK flourished then withered as a pretty direct measure of its government support, not because of some worthy indifference to the organisation. And if you stand up against them, as the Panthers did, well even the NRA will suddenly support gun control.

>Looking at the history of the KKK, for instance, I find this assertion frankly laughable. The KKK flourished then withered as a pretty direct measure of its government support, not because of some worthy indifference to the organization.

Which level of government are you talking about? The KKK flourished when local and state government turned a blind eye. In both cases the Feds eventually stepped in.

> And if you stand up against them, as the Panthers did, well even the NRA will suddenly support gun control.

The NRA of the 1960s is not the NRA of today. You may as well compare the 1890 democratic party with the 1950 democratic party.

> The KKK flourished when local and state government turned a blind eye. In both cases the Feds eventually stepped in.

The KKK flourished when it was a major power in directing local, state and federal (including Presidential nomination) politics of one major party and generally had a blind eye turned to it by the other, at any level where that party had any influence. There wasn't just s “blind eye” from government as a whole, it was a major active player.

>The KKK flourished when local and state government turned a blind eye.

Local and state governments weren't turning a blind eye back then, they were turning a hooded one.

>The NRA of the 1960s is not the NRA of today.

I'd agree with you there, while they were just as politically insidious, it seems that back then they had some kind of remaining tether to reality.

Or the KKK of the 1960s with the KKK of today.

> And if you stand up against them, as the Panthers did, well even the NRA will suddenly support gun control.

.. lets not pretend that the Panthers were some mild group either. A group of people advocating along race lines for the end of capitalist exploitation of their race and releasing of all incarcerated people of their race walking around with fully automatic weapons 'for defense' is not exactly 'moderate'

which is not to say that i do not understand the rationale behind the group given the zeitgeist (and really, why do i need to put a parenthetical here)

>lets not pretend that the Panthers were some mild group either.

I wasn't. Gun control isn't usually brought in against mild groups.

>walking around with fully automatic weapons 'for defense'

To be fair, the opposition had previously bombed them from the air. Having automatic weapons is usually overdoing it for defense, but if your opponent can manage a ramshackle air force, then it may be warranted.

850 million people have been lifted out of poverty by going through an accelerated industrial revolution similar to what lifted the West out of poverty, largely funded by the West outsourcing the labor its citizens' expectations for quality of life would no longer allow.

And yet, for some reason, the same has not happened in India. Why is that?

Because India has not served as the primary manufacturing hub for first world countries to nearly the same degree. Also, China has an authoritarian but competent government that very effectively reinvested their newly acquired wealth into infrastructure/development.

Perhaps the government in India hasn't yet figured out how to print money like the Chinese Communist Party?

A lot of stuff missing on this list: death penalty, war crimes, mass surveillance of the whole world including industry espionage

I’m not sure I’d call China running over people with tanks and imprisoning millions of Muslims in concentration camps “improvements”.

From the East India company and the opium wars and the unbalanced treaties, to the Chinese civil war and the invasion of Japan, it's not easy for an outsider to understand just how strongly China considers anything that would bring about the instability that they experienced in the past. Most Chinese people support preventing instability, as in the 80s they had the largest famine in human history. Sometimes they are heavy handed and I think they acknowledge this, and would even tell you that it's not right what they did, but I think the average Westerner does not really get the perspective of the reasoning behind it. Think about how many people we have imprisoned in our so-called drug war. As a percent of our population, it's a lot more than in China.

I don't find those trying to explain away China's disdain for human rights by using historical arguments to be in any way credible. Taiwan alone proves that it's possible for China to be a democracy with respect for human rights. But I suppose you're right, it's not easy for me to really get into the mind of someone like you who is comfortable with explaining away organ harvesting by referring to the need for "stability". That which does not bend, will break.

How many Iraqi civilians did US government forces kill? The US nuclear bomb drops on Japanese ciivilians? Was that fine compared with organ harvesting? My point is not that any of this is okay, but so easy to point the finger and "they" are the bad people and we are good.

It is easy to point the finger, yes, because no Western country is nearly as bad as China when it comes to human rights, and to suggest otherwise is peak contrarianism. I'm not going to suggest the West is perfect, but it's without question that China is much worse. I'd also like to restate that your claim that historical events dictate that China must abuse human rights to lift people out of poverty is nonsense because Taiwan is Chinese, democratic, developed, and doesn't abuse human rights.

There is nothing unique about China's own human rights abuses that rationalises it. Every dictatorship ever has had similar rationalisations.

I don't feel your comment is rooted in a deep understanding of Chinese history, but I hear what you're saying. I personally believe that if the current leader started to exhibit behavior that was crazy, he would be removed. And you might go on to say that what happened in the Muslim territory in the Northwest is already crazy, but the economic track record and the number of people who have been lifted out of poverty is quite good for the current leader.

The big question is what happens when that economic track record hits a road bump or a giant pothole, how will the government react?

Currently in China: largest number of people freed from poverty in human history. Their neighbors in SE Asia are also coming out of poverty, maybe 20 years behind China. I think trade war could make it tough for all, hoping we can avoid it. A bump? Let's hope it's not like the great famine China experienced in the eighties. I doubt it.

The Nazis also pulled Germany out of poverty. This does not excuse their actions towards the Jews any more than your point excuses China's actions towards the Uyghurs.

Scant consolation for the Uyghurs, Tibetans or even HKers.

Minor correction but the Great Chinese Famine was from 1959 to 1961.

> Think about how many people we have imprisoned in our so-called drug war. As a percent of our population, it's a lot more than in China.

Be careful what you're seeking to compare; with 11M Uyghurs and 1M of them in re-education camps, China has far more of a percentage of the underclass imprisoned (9%) than in the U.S. (with 1.35% of the black population imprisoned). This isn't to defend the prison practices of the U.S., which are still generally indefensible, but some heart can be taken in that the number of U.S. imprisoned (of all races, but especially black prisoners) has fallen year-over-year for more than a decade, whereas China's re-education camps are still growing.

> than in the U.S. (with 1.35% of the black population imprisoned)

Interesting. My first thought was that your number was too low, but searching a little it seems you are right, with a couple caveats. The first caveat is that the number for black males is about twice that of the black population as a whole (ie, black females are rarely imprisoned).

The second caveat, which is not one I've seen widely reported, is that the percentage of black males currently imprisoned has dropped sharply over recent years, from 3.5% in 2000 to 2.6% now. This article (with the charts from which I got the numbers) goes into possible reasons: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/12/15/a-mass-incarce...

Right, running people over with tanks and forcing Muslims into re-education camps is fine because “they don’t want instability” and the US has strict drug sentencing. The mental gymnastics for that reasoning are astounding.

Here’s the deal: it doesn’t matter if the US started killing every dissident outright. US behavior is not an excuse for unethical behavior in China. The government and citizens of China are not dumb children that can’t behave ethically if there are other unethical things going on in the world.

Nobody said those were improvements, so what is your point?

Source to running over people with tanks?

The British ambassador to China at the time, Sir Alan Donald, claimed that citizens were mowed down repeatedly by Chinese army tanks, turned to mush, and their remains were scooped, burned, and washed away.[1] There also exist individuals who claim to have narrowly survived the tanks in Tiananmen Square but had limbs crushed and amputated. They have been pressured by the Chinese government to change their story.[2]

[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/tiananmen-squa...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fang_Zheng

Even the people claiming Iraq had WMDs provided better evidence than that.

Tiananmen, And there is photographic evidence

There were no pictures that actually captured people being run over with tanks. The man in the famous photo was the only incident caught on film, he was not run over that day but his whereabouts are unknown.


An interesting fact I learned the other day is that the man in that picture is from after the protests, when the tanks were leaving the square, not when they were entering it.


It may not have been a tank but I have a photo of someone who was clearly crushed by something that definitely wasn't a students bicycle let's say

Not available in China, though...


The actions of a government should come with higher scrutiny than the actions of its citizens.
cat199 4 days ago [flagged]

and where do chinese living in cages 'because crowding' or having organs harvested for political dissent fit into these figures?

>Americans shoot fellow citizens in the dozens

>happens maybe ONCE A MONTH

Not to be a dick but...

Cite. A. Source.

A shooting with 12+ people getting shot is the kind of event that makes the national news even if nobody of dies. That's not the kind of thing that happens about monthly. I am very skeptical you will be able to back up your assertion assuming any reasonable definition of "shoot" and "dozen".

Edit: My skepticism has survived one citation and counting.

I'm in several pages now and don't see a single number of double digit injuries let alone a dozen or multiple dozens.

Several of the ones I've clicked through to the source on seem to be counting people injured in things other than the shooting (e.g. brawl injures X, dude draws gun, shoots one person = 1 dead, X injuries).

The fact that they call the page "Mass Shootings in 2019" when even they say in their about-us[0] that they attempt to catalog each and every shooting seems to indicate a bias (to put it mildly). Edit: actually I'm wrong, I was only looking at the "Mass shootings" portion of their data. Their definition of "mass" seems to be "4+ people injured and/or killed including people not injured/killed" which seems slimy considering how they seem to be counting injuries. That said, they seem to be a pretty damn good source for raw information and generally unbiased with their numbers.

Edit: got through all the 2019 results (couldn't get CSV export to work with my browser) and found exactly two results for a dozen.

One event[1] has 6 dead, 6 injured but the source doesn't mention any of the people injured other than the 5 victims and one gunman who died, maybe an error in the data?

The other event is the Virginia Beach shooting.

In any case I think it's safe to conclude that events where a dozen people get shot happen less than monthly.



According to the source, the shootings on the following days have 9 or more injuries or deaths in 2019: Jan 15 (12), May 7 (9), May 18 (9), May 25 (9 and 10), May 31 (13).

So obviously I was wrong that people were killing DOZENS every month. It is more like mass shootings involving 9 or more people are happening ONCE PER MONTH on average.

Thank god things are better than I thought!


Don’t move the goalposts. Your original claim was proveably false, and needlessly flame bait.

Better to admit that was wrong if you’re interested in having a discussion, and maybe even influencing some people’s opinions.

Gun violence is a absolutely a big problem in the US. The interesting twist is it’s a Constitutional right to bear arms in the US, so this is a case of a limitation of government power leading to an adverse outcome. It’s a difficult and widely debated issue in American politics, and in fact the American people will ultimately decide how the rules around gun ownership will evolve over time in the hopes of reducing that number in pursuit of a safe and free society.

Calm discussion is good. I was wrong that people were killing dozens every month. It is more like mass shootings involving 9 or more people are happening once per month on average.

I would still maintain my point that personal safety-wise, China is pretty good by today's standard.

Yes we are.

Love to note that while I receive a few minus, no effective points for the above are found.

I think I'm playing for par but happy to hear something more engaging than "the us isn't the poster child blablabla" get the real stuff out if you're going to make such a large claim with no meat/fauxmeat to it..

kortilla 4 days ago [flagged]

China doesn’t have Indian reservations because it just forces integration or kills ethnic groups not approved by the government. The government itself functions as a massive hate group against Muslims. It just has a monopoly on which hate groups get a voice.

To clarify, China doesn't "hate muslims" in the way some westerners do. Their current policy towards the Uyghurs in Xinjiang is a variation of a long-standing policy of sino-fication (also known as the "one china" policy). A policy that has existed in one form or another for over a thousand years. And it's why China is China today.

Other, more benign aspects of this policy are things like calling the various languages in china "dialects", even if they are mutually incomprehensible. Even "autonomous ethnic regions" are part of this policy... giving time for some minorities to slowly adapt chinese culture. You have to understand that recent western ideals of cultural pluralism is not widespread in there. Those in power in China view it as good and moral to move uyghur culture into something more closely resembling the broader chinese culture.

I get that most westerners would view this ethos as reprehensible, but if you have goals beyond simply being shocked and angry, then an understanding of their perspective is important.

> To clarify, China doesn't "hate muslims" in the way some westerners do.

Yes, they do.

> Their current policy towards the Uyghurs in Xinjiang is a variation of a long-standing policy of sino-fication

Yes, an attitude of compulsory conformity to common tribal identity and the norms, rituals, and behaviors associated therewith is a particularly common thing in human societies, and it's exactly the main reason Muslims are targeted in the West, as well as in China.

> I get that most westerners would view this ethos as reprehensible

A sizable and politically powerful subset of westerners actively support the same kind of ethos and keeping pushing it into government in much of the West, and object to sinofication not because of a drive against such conformity but only because not doing so for any other culture undermines the propaganda supporting their own cultural conformity efforts.

>> To clarify, China doesn't "hate muslims" in the way some westerners do.

> Yes, they do.

I'd like to read more about this - what reason would they have to hate Muslims?

My understanding is that the CCP's current goal, however ill conceived, is to revert elements of Salafi/Wahhabi Islam imported from Saudi Arabia to Turkey, and subsequently to Xinjiang (by mostly ethnic Uyghurs) post-1985, back to the pre-1985 Sufi Islam. The primary goal is to contain the spread of jihadist doctrine [1] to prevent incidents such as the 2009 Urumqi riots [2] (where hundreds of ethnic Han and Sufi muslims were slaughtered in the streets) as well as other extremist-Islam inspired terrorist incidents [3][4]. By contrast, the Hui Muslims living in the region are extremely well integrated both economically and socially [5] and the Kazak, Dongxiang, Khalka, Sala, Tajik, Uzbeks, Bao’an and Tatar Muslims seem to be doing just fine.

> Yes, an attitude of compulsory conformity to common tribal identity and the norms, rituals, and behaviors associated therewith is a particularly common thing in human societies, and it's exactly the main reason Muslims are targeted in the West, as well as in China.

During the pre-1985 Sufi-majority period, ethnic Uyghurs were allowed to express their traditional culture just like any of the other dozens of ethnic minorities in China do in the present day (for example by wearing brightly coloured clothing, traditional dresses, performing traditional music and dance, eating traditional food). That was the mostly peaceful, secular version of Islam that has been tolerated by the CCP. My understanding is that constructs of the more extreme Wahhabi/Salafi Islam such as burkas, suppression of women's rights, (non-Islamic) education, music, consumption of alcohol, pork, etc., are the kinds of things the CCP is trying to eradicate owing to their belief that these practices lead to extremism which undermines their holy grail of societal stability.

[1] https://www.iris-france.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Asia-...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_2009_%C3%9Cr%C3%BCmqi_rio...

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_China#Chronology_...

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdullah_Mansour

[5] https://www.ft.com/content/08b19a76-f389-11e8-ae55-df4bf40f9...

Moving production back to the U.S. would not solve the human rights issue. The UN has called out the homeless crisis that’s right in Apple’s backyard as being a human rights violation. Other commentators compare ICE detention centers to concentration camps or chastise the high number of prisoners the U.S. has even outside of ICE detention centers.

Clearly no country is perfect, but if Apple were to relocate production based on human rights, it seems like a Northern European country would be the most appropriate place.

This isn't an apples to apples comparison. I'm curious what the UNs solution is to homelessness?

get a loan from the world bank and imf, obviously..

>Moving production back to the U.S. would not solve the human rights issue...

You didn't read the fine print. They're not even talking about moving production to the US. Which only makes the idea of solving human rights abuses by moving even more puzzling?

I mean, Hon Hai capacity is in nations with human rights abuses for a reason.

> Other commentators compare ICE detention centers to concentration camps

I find it hard to draw a line between the human rights violations of the Muslims by China and detaining Central Americans for illegally crossing the US border.

Why not to the US, wouldn't that help solve the homeless problem? If ALL countries that were hiring outside right now started hiring here, wouldn't that help?

The different in production cost between the US and the current origin countries is vast, but not even the only factor. There were stories a few years ago highlighting how the iPhone could not have been built in the US on the schedule Apple demanded at any price.

But if scheduling is ignored, then the only issue becomes cost.

Now why hasn’t Foxconn opened facilities next to the ICE camps?

It would be like killing three birds with one stone.

People that compare ICE detention centers to concentration camps are Holocaust deniers. Do you know what a concentration camp is?

Maybe something got garbled somewhere... Comparing ICE detention centers to concentration camps is clearly absurd, but comparing them to US internment camps [0] doesn't seem so far-fetched to me. Note that the Wikipedia article calls these "concentration camps" in the opening paragraph, so I'm not even sure it's fair to automatically assume "concentration camp" implies "Nazi death camp".

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internment_of_Japanese_America...

ICE detention centers are closer to prisons than they are to nazi death camps. Calling ICE detention centers concentration camps is just pushing the "Trump is a nazi/Orange man bad" concept to its illogical conclusion.

> China has shown they do not value world opinion.

So by that definition they'd obviously not be able to move production to the United States of America either.

Taking that moral stand should also go for other things I believe, like not buying oil from Saudi Arabia and as a consumer, demanding to know where the gas you are using is coming from so you could make an informed decision.

To more directly address the human rights issue, they should not give the iCloud keys and data of Chinese users to a company controlled by the Chinese government.


Imagine if that were reversed: A Chinese company refused to give the US government access to the accounts of Americans. Would you protest?

One country sells organs of political prisoners on the black market and imprisons millions for religious beliefs. The other has millions of people including much of the media call the current leader a fool openly with no fear of arrest.

That there might be corruption in a prison system that leads some corrupt officials to do perverse acts like selling organs is one thing, but stating that this is a state sponsored practice is a bit extreme don't you think? Any links to what you are claiming would be good.

China has lifted 850 million people out of poverty. Percentage-wise, we have far more prisoners in the US. The answer lies in the instability that China experienced in the past leading to the largest famine in human history. They will certainly do what they need to do to prevent instability. Sometimes it is heavy-handed, but as I said in another thread we have Indian reservations, border detentions, hate groups, largest per capita prison population, a high murder rate. We are far from perfect it's easy to point the finger about something that you know less about.

I would rather live in a flawed democracy than whatever China is becoming

Much like the Chinese would prefer to live under authoritarian but stable rule rather than whatever balkanized aberration a premature and flawed democracy that a billion illiterate peasants living in abject poverty would have produced.

> Indian reservations

Sovereign ruled.

> border detentions

Of illegal border crossers.

> hate groups

That danged First Ammendment.

> largest per capita prison population

Probably a statement more about valuing human rights. We don't just execute criminals we don't like.

> a high murder rate

I found the US to be about 90th down the list of countries in the world for murder, at 5.35 per 100k [1].

Maybe we are a little more perfect than you think.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intention...

You keep spamming about poverty in this thread. That is 100% irrelevant and an obvious distraction. Do better.

Stop saying “us” when you are referring to the US because it confuses the points you try to sound like someone with inside knowledge of China.

False equivalence - the US government may not be perfect but in terms of human rights it is undoubtedly better than China

We wouldn't even be having this conversation on a China-hosted forum

You're right about that but I don't know that you really understand fully either. In the United States we have a lot of secret money funding agendas in our social media that could most certainly be regarded as propaganda. In China they want to prevent propaganda from being used to destroy their country from within. You'd be surprised how many Chinese people actually support the notion that propaganda can be used for evil, and support preventing division through use of propaganda.

No need. The Chinese company would simply be blocked in the US.

We rightly criticize IBM for selling machines to Nazi Germany after they knew Germany was rounding up millions of Jews and that their machines would be put to use for that purpose. I rightly criticize Apple for giving data to the Chinese government after it knew that China is rounding up millions of Uyghurs and using the data for that purpose. It is to the shame of IBM employees at the time and Apple employees today that they do nothing to stop this, and it is to the credit of anonymous Google employees who sunlighted Dragonfly to stop that despite the risk of employer retaliation.

With Apple putting profits before human rights and privacy, it is up to us as consumers to raise a stink.

Obviously they can be made outside of China. What Wall Street would care about is whether or not the assembly cost would be raised, and how Apple would deal with that (pass the additional cost onto the customer, or take the hit and absorb a little/all of the added cost).

> Obviously they can be made outside of China

From what I understand, this is not so obvious.

There is a ton of parts that only Chinese manufacturer produce at scale, and I wonder if some of them can even be produced elsewhere at any reasonable price in a reasonable time frame (if it takes 10 years to rebuild a factory elsewhere, or if it's only produceable at CERN, I'd conclude it's not an option)

Do we have any single example of a high scale computing product produced without any Chinese part at this point ?

Well, Japanese domestic market stuff? Panasonic and Toshiba take pride in sourcing almost all, but ram and chipset from Japan for their notebooks.

I once had an opportunity to take apart an RZ series, and to my amusement, even capacitors and other passives were Japanese. I never expected Japanese electronics to still be around in 2018.

Good point. Other notable companies are Sony, they still have CMOS sensor factories in Japan and will try to keep most of the “secret sauce” in the country, and Samsung who also has founderies in Korea if I’m not mistaken.

Even them will source some of the parts from elsewhere, hut at least they still have advanced manufaturing knowledge. I guess they would be faster to move if they needed to cut ties with China.

Would they really raise prices though? They have $800 billion. They're still the 3rd largest company on the planet. They charge $1000 for their flagship. They could probably easily eat that cost, still generate profit (although less profit) on the hardware and still spin that to make their shareholders happy.

Their phones are already at a premium and there is a diminishing return on customers if they keep hiking prices.

Growth of Iphone sales has stagnated, making Wall St more than a little upset. I suspect this is why we are seeing more investment in the Mac Pro, the Ipad, and OSX after being ignored for so long.

I doubt Apple would be willing to lower their profit margins in such an environment. Apple’s P/E is already well below the S&P 500 (16 vs 21) and I don’t think they want to slip into value territory any time soon.

> although less profit

You mentioned the problem.

Maybe they could eat a few % with some spin, but I'm not sure shareholders would be okay with much more.

This is what I don't get. That's insane. You cannot have infinite growth. At some point, sales will drop. A growing number of people want to fix rather than replace and consume.

How does our society change the goal posts, where increased sales and profits are no longer an end goal? They can't be forever. There isn't room for the 4th largest company to grow larger. It'll just be perpetually switching places with Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet.

Especially given that Apple has significantly raised prices on new phones over the last few years already. I'm no economist, but there must be a limit to how much Apple can keep raising prices while still maintaining the same or similar revenue.

This actually reduces the impact of higher construction costs. If a 1000$ phone with a 300$ profit margin needs say 3 hours of labor to create it’s not that important if the labor is 2$/hour or 20$/hour.

Further, higher construction costs would quickly push automation which is almost competitive at China’s labor rates.

Respectfully, I think you fundamentally misunderstand how companies approach these issues if you think the labour rated you mention don’t matter.

Labour costs are certainly not the only thing that matters, but even the $56 per unit you mention is deeply significant and motivating.

Apple clearly cares about their costs. My point is labor cost is vastly less important than for example long term supply chain disruptions. Moving to another country where it costs even 10c more per phone is not going to happen.

However, if they need to chose between higher costs and being unable to manufacture any phones for 8 months they would be willing to eat much higher costs.

It does if Apple wants to keep growing their profit margin. Its the changes that matter to wall street, not the overall number.

I think you could really sell it as a valuable risk management strategy, even if it does slightly raise costs.

I find that a hard sell to the average consumer. We’re talking people who plaster social media with every detail of their lives already... voluntarily... for free. Do you really think it ever even crosses their mind once where any of it was made, let alone what the consequences of that might mean?

Not that there couldn’t be some kind of compromise where they offer a “pro” model specifically assembled outside of China... I’m thinking a “Blackberry is for serious business” kind of campaign.

While there would no doubt be some serious money available from that market, that’s never been Apple’s MO, so it would be a major shift for the company and would likely skew their mojo. I mean that’s something IBM would do...

Note that there was an article a while ago that claimed that assembling the iPhone in the USA would cost an extra $30-40, and that was mostly due to logistics.

So I would guess the extra cost would be less than that. You probably aren't talking about much difference here.


Just for everyone in world's sake / security it would seem to be a good idea to spread manufacturing out all over the world.

Hopefully we see more of that.

That's what manufacturers are already doing...moving production to places like India and Vietnam.

What's interesting to me is once the trade imbalance with Vietnam tips over to their favor what will the US do. Also it's not like Vietnam is some democratic wonderland in terms of their government.

> it's not like Vietnam is some democratic wonderland in terms of their government

They're not but I don't think the form of government is the key factor as much as how trade works on the ground with China.

Vietnam IMO would likely be more than receptive to lots of new business, possibly making a point not "be like China" in order to assure such business.

Fascinating that business is being done for western countries in communist countries. Ideologically it's curious that there isn't more of a demand from consumers, evidently this underlines how important cost is.

They just go to where there are low labour costs and many suppliers.

It's really expensive to build new production facilities.

These trade wars benefit the lucky rather than those willing to change.

Not every company can afford to create a new manufacturing environment, Apple is Priced luxury so their margins are high enough to compensate.

Certainly not easy, but if we see Apple and others do it I expect it provides some cost savings / patterns for the next wave (if any of it happens).

Since the article suggest the pivot will be to India, keep in mind that India is speculated to be the next US trade war. In the last two weeks India has been removed from the preferential trade agreement and threatened with sanctions via Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act for possible Russian S400 acquisition.

There would be massive global environmental benefits moving the supply chain to western countries. These devices should be more expensive, the hidden cost is in killing the next generation because humanity isn’t handling industrial waste properly (because we outsourced the problem to China.)

vs https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/28/technology/iphones-apple-... "A Tiny Screw Shows Why iPhones Won’t Be ‘Assembled in U.S.A.’"

Yes, the claim is "outside of China," not "in the USA."

Perhaps assembled outside of China using Chinese components.

They can manufacture electronics pretty much anywhere, but they will still have to haul all parts from China.

But can they make any products at all without Chinese Rare Earth materials? Production is at the end... I believe that is the Ace in the sleeve. Just jack the price of rare earth minerals 1000%, or temporarily halt production. It won't matter what country they are manufactured in if you can't get all of the parts you need, or get them economically...

Most other rare earth mines closed up because they couldn't compete with China's price (which was rumored to be HEAVILY subsidized to corner the market) if you increase the price of rare earth minerals 1000%, you will quickly see many of those mines re-activate, as they are now profitable to run.

For example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Pass_rare_earth_mine

Rare earth metals are not as rare as their name suggests, and there are plenty of mines outside of China capable of meeting demand for them. There hasn't been sufficient motivation to tap those mines yet, but that if there's money to be made (i.e. Beijing limits supply) then those mines will be up in a hurry.

The threat isn't empty but it's not really a trump card either.

This is all based off what I've read on the topic from mainstream news sources. I'm not an expert in this area.

Here's the register talking about the last time China decided to flex their rare earth monopoly; https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/09/02/western_worlds_only...

Here's the same commentator more recently; https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/23/18637071/rare-earth-china...

Basically, yes, you can make them without Chinese rare earths, and it won't break the bank. You can just dig them up and process them elsewhere.

Yes. The U.S. can reopen the Mountain Pass mine, as was previously discussed on HN:


https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20055069 (Submission looks flagged now for some reason?)

This is about avoiding US import duties, not avoiding Chinese export bans.

How about components for Desktop PCs?

Or will a trade war with China force everybody to buy Apple products?

I really wish shareholder would sacrifice a little profit to allow these to be made in the states. So many US jobs.

Manufacturing in China uses large numbers of human beings because labor is cheap there. Manufacturing in the USA strives to use minimal human involvement through automation because of the high cost of labor there. Companies moving production of goods back to the United States will not necessarily add a significant amount of jobs.

No but the jobs created will be American, feed american families, and those job skills can be transferred to create other American businesses.

I'm so glad I did not choose mechanical engineering as a college major, and instead opted for Computer Sciences. I wasn't around during the 70s and 80s but it appears the jobs in the engineering field has dried up.

Programming appears to be the only field that has resisted globalization, and even then there is still massive offshoring.

You left something out of your calculation:

When industrial production comes back to the US, the price of consumer goods will rise. Consumers will not be able to afford as much at those higher prices, so some American businesses will lose customers. People will be laid off in other sectors of the economy because of the reduced demand.

Overall, your plan would just shift jobs from other sectors of the economy into manufacturing. The average American would be able to afford less, not more. In other words, Americans would likely be poorer as a result of this policy.

There isn't some magic rule that restricting imports leads to greater prosperity. There are costs to restricting imports, and in general, those costs outweigh the benefits (especially for developed countries).

No, the jobs in engineering field has not dried up. I wish people did some research before spewing up lies. "But every engineering occupation has added jobs, the most coming among mechanical engineers." - https://www.forbes.com/sites/emsi/2014/09/12/the-most-in-dem...

If you thought iPhones are expensive now how much do you think they will be built with American labor? How many Americans do you think will want those jobs building iPhones almost nonstop for up to 12 hours a day?

At most about $100 more than they cost now.


At any rate, I think at some point we need to stop looking at the economic argument and do what's best for US labor, US citizens, and human rights/health/the environment worldwide. Just how much are cheap electronics worth?

It would be closer to 5 Americans working as security guards to keep anyone from breaking in and damaging the robots

Well you could get to vote on it by becoming a shareholder. Though, once you became a shareholder, I think you would change your mind on this particular point.

Moreover, Americans don’t want these jobs in the first place. Working in factories isn’t the future of labor in America, and we as a society really need to stop fetishizing this kind of “honest” blue collar work.

Not every Apple customer is US American

that is just not how it works

Does that include rare earths?

This article says China hold 97% of rare earth's production:


Anyway, that's an important argument made to make durable phones, and with lightweight software so that you can do more with less. I wish there was some durability review on products so that consumers can understand what companies do to make products have a limited lifespan.--

My understanding of the rare earths issue is that the reason China controls that much of the production is because all the extraction & production elsewhere shut down due to an inability to compete with China's prices. You basically have to open pit enormous areas to get any quantity of them.

If the global rare earth prices rise enough, or if China continues to try to manipulate its exports to ensure that products using rare earths are manufactured within its borders, then mines eleswhere will open.

Mothballed facilities like the mountain pass mine are already reopening.

That stat is wildly out of date -- its closer to 80%.


There are operational mines in the U.S. and Australia (among others) and processing facilities in Estonia, Malaysia, and 3 processing facilities under construction in the US.

DoD has begun creating large stockpiles, adding >400 metric tonnes per year.

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