There’s a famous story from Jobs’ last few months in his role as Apple CEO. He went to a dinner meeting with Obama and some major names in the tech industry from America. One of the questions posed to Jobs by Obama was why Apple products weren’t developed within the US.
The New York Times have posted a detailed article explaining just this. It goes on to point out that the American middle classes are/will be squeezed by this kind of economy. Americans can’t get jobs to manufacture high-end electronics, but they’re the ones forced to buy them.
The president’s question touched upon a central conviction at Apple. It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.
Basically, Jobs’ answer surrounded the fact that labour is cheap anywhere for a company like Apple – but China can produce more skilled staff, using better equipment and with faster turn-around times than anywhere else in the world. Some semiconductor work does come from the West (including Europe) but the vast bulk of parts for their products comes from Asia.