CNN Money published interesting article which shocks the normal people but is not secret for these who do manufacturing, with the high level of automation is not so important where you actually manufacture high end devices – the cost to manufacture smartphone in USA is just $4.
If the high speed assembly lines run in China or USA the difference is not so big, the labor is used just to setup the machines and on the final control box assembly, all other operations cost about same.
Why then the production doesn’t move back to USA? There are advantages to manufacture locally like better logistic, etc. not speaking what sentimental touch will be the “Made in USA” label put on these devices.
The answer: the manufacturing labor in China now is more qualified and skilled than in Western World. Also the labor resources in China are in magnitude bigger than in Western world.
Foxconn can relocate hundreds of thousands of their workers from one line to other in no time and nobody will complain. The workers work and live in the factory dormitories – allowing flexible time and really quick manufacturing, something which would never happen in US or the Western Europe.