December 14, 2012
Last week, Apple CEO Tom Cook announced to Bloomberg Businessweek that Apple plans to bring some production of Mac computers to the United States from China.
Cook did not give details about which line of Macs it will be or where the plant will be located. Nor did he say exactly what prompted the move, but he did tell NBC’s Brian Williams: “We’ve been working for years on doing more and more in the United States.”
Foxconn Technology Group, one of Apple’s largest suppliers, has recently been at the center of a media firestorm for poor factory working conditions in its Chinese plants, forcing Apple to defend its manufacturing practices there.
Monitoring their suppliers has been a challenge for Apple for several years. 2012 Goldman Prize recipient Ma Jun led a coalition of NGOs on a “Poison Apple” campaign in 2010 to protest the company’s lack of supply chain oversight. Ma Jun and his team at the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) continue to work closely with Apple.
While Apple’s exact reasons for the move are still unknown, the Forbes article, Why Apple Is Bringing Manufacturing Back to the United States says, “it’s a good bet that, for a company obsessed with design and quality control, proximity and the ability to manage every aspect of the manufacturing process will yield economic benefits.”