The general notion as to why Apple’s products are mostly made in China is because labor in China is cheaper. However, the Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, cleared up all these doubts during his interview on ’60 minutes’.
He was very clear on the reason as he told Charlie Rose on the segment aired on Sunday evening, “It’s skill.” Rose questioned if the Chinese workers are more skilled than American or German workers and Cook replied, “Let me be clear. China put an enormous focus on manufacturing, in what you and I would call vocational kind of skills. The US over time began to stop having as many vocational kind of skills. I mean you could take every tool and die maker in the United States and probably put them in the room that we’re currently sitting in. In China you would have to have multiple football fields.”
Tool and die makers are responsible for building and operating tools that are used in manufacturing. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 75,950 tool and die makers in the US in May 2014. As per report of ‘60 Minutes’, about 1 million folks in China are making most of the Apple products with a majority of them working for the Apple contractor Foxconn.
Cook told Rose that the reason why China is ahead of US when it comes to manufacturing is, “Because it was a focus of them. It was a focus of their educational system. That is the reality.” So contrary to common belief, it is not just about cheaper labour, its also about skill and availability.
See the complete Apple interview here: