Made in America: Behind Apple and other U.S. companies’ sudden patriotism

“Apple CEO Tim Cook made headlines last December when he announced in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek that Apple would be making a product in the US this year,” Carl Franzen reports for The Verge. “That product turned out to be the bold, new, trashcan-shaped Mac Pro, first unveiled at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June.”

“In fact, Apple kicked off WWDC with an emotional animated video that ended with the phrase ‘designed by Apple in California,’ which has appeared on Apple devices for years.,” Franzen reports. “But the company is clearly emphasizing its home state more now than ever before. Going forward, new versions of Apple’s Mac OS X operating system will take the names of places in California, beginning with the latest, 10.9 Mavericks, due to hit this fall. And ‘designed by Apple in California’ is now the leading slogan for a new marketing campaign used in Apple video and print ads.”

Franzen reports, “‘There’s no doubt that ‘Made in America’ advertising is effective,’ said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), a nonprofit trade group founded in 2007 to represent steelworkers and other US industrial laborers. ‘It’s not limited to tech gadgets.’ To his point, a recent survey by the Boston Consulting Group found that 80 percent of 5,000 consumers were willing to pay more for products made in America, including electronics. The same study found Chinese consumers were also willing to pay more for American-made products… For now, manufacturing in the US is more expensive than going abroad. But the situation is rapidly changing, and if current trends continue, by 2015, manufacturing costs in China will be on par with the US, according to one forecast by AlixPartners, a global business advisory firm.”

Much more in the full article here.


  1. Looks more like California pride instead USA pride.

    And why not? USA is not going to exist forever – but California is the future location of Startfleet Headquarters.

  2. “…and if current trends continue, by 2015, manufacturing costs in China will be on par with the US.”
    So does this mean Americans will make less and less per hour, or will the Chinese make more and more?

    1. Chinese workers are making more and more. Not the same as US workers but when you include transportation costs to key markets the total cost is similar. If the trend continues Chinese manufacturing will become more expensive than US made.

      I highly doubt iPhone production will be brought to the US anytime soon. The workforce to make these devices in volume is equivalent to a small city of 200K people.

  3. Made in California or Made in USA
    Doesn’t matter, still the USA.
    Do you complain about “product of Michigan” or “made in Tennesee”?
    Or how about the wonderful “imported from Detroit”
    All USA. Get over it.

    1. The “Imported from Detroit”, and “Designed in California” have exactly the same, identical patriotic qualities. Without using the overused and fairly bland-sounding “Made in America” (or “Made in USA”, or “Made in the United States”), this wording is fresh, more original and yet equally powerful and patriotic for the domestic audiences. For foreign audiences, it powerfully projects the overall American appeal without using the well warn-out and generic-sounding “Made in USA”.

    2. Quality is a management issue, not a worker issue. A large fraction of the Hondas and Toyotas sold in the US are made in the US, yet their quality approaches that of cars actually made in Japan. That’s because Japanese senior management won’t tolerate anything less. Same for Apple products made in China. No quality issues there, because Apple senior management won’t tolerate anything less.

      Workers do what’s expected of them by management with the tools and processes provided by management. Usually.

    3. Apple products, even if made in China, are made to Apple standards. I wasn’t thrilled, after selling my Assembled-in-USA Powermac, that my iMac, purchased in 2008, would be Assembled in China. But unwrapping it, I couldn’t help but be impressed with its quality. That said, I’d be thrilled to see more Apple kit made on these shores.

  4. Apple has full page advertisements and TV advertisements with the designed in California tag line running in Australia. Total waste of money as the tag line means nothing to us Australians. But what is well known by Australians is the profit shifting by Apple to avoid paying its fair share of taxes as part of the deal to be permitted to trade, to protect its intellectual property, to operate in a well managed economy and society offered by Australia.

    1. “…by Apple to avoid paying its fair share of taxes…”

      Nonsense, utter nonsense. You’re conflating (legal) tax minimization with (illegal) tax avoidance.

      Apple follows applicable tax laws whereever it operates. Any business aims to minimize its operating costs, it would be insane to do otherwise, and a disservice to its owners/shareholders.

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