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Made in USA: Could Google return manufacturing from China?

Published time: June 29, 2012 13:44
Edited time: June 29, 2012 17:44
Photo from trendymen.ru

Photo from trendymen.ru

Google's new media device the Nexus Q is making headlines not just because of its technology, but due to the one noteworthy feature: unlike most of today’s hi-tech products, it is being manufactured in the United States.

­The Google team decided to build the device in the US as an experiment in American manufacturing which has been in decline for decades. “We’ve been absent for so long, we decided, ‘Why don’t we try it and see what happens?” Andy Rubin, the head of Google mobile unit, told the New York Times.

Google’s management, however, didn’t reveal the location of its plant in Silicon Valley. The company uses a contract manufacturer to make the Nexus Q.

Since the 1990s, most of the US hi-tech companies moved their manufacturing to China, lured by cheap workforce and energy costs. Also China’s monopoly on supplies of rare earths, which are necessary for producing tech products, contributed to the trend. Moreover, when US President Barack Obama asked then Apple CEO Steve Jobs, what it would take to make iPhones in the United States, Jobs said: “Those jobs are not coming back.”

But rising labor costs, intellectual property risks and the issue of time-to-market made some US companies consider moving back to their roots. Some experts even predict that most of the American hi-tech companies would move their manufacturing home in a few years. However, the question remains, if Google’s example will kickstart a US manufacturing renaissance.