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苹果CEO库克:将重新在美国生产Mac电脑

2012-12-7 23:07| 发布者: 寒夜孤星| 查看: 772| 评论: 0

摘要: Apple Inc. plans to build some Mac computers in the U.S. for the first time in about a decade, investing $100 million next year in an effort that could serve as a high-profile test of American manufac ...
Apple Inc. plans to build some Mac computers in the U.S. for the first time in about a decade, investing $100 million next year in an effort that could serve as a high-profile test of American manufacturing competitiveness.

The world's most valuable company has faced political pressure to bring jobs home and reduce its reliance on foreign subcontractors whose treatment of workers has come under harsh scrutiny.

The investment is a small sum compared with the billions of dollars Apple spends annually on manufacturing world-wide, mostly in Asia, whose factories produce the bulk of its high-tech goods.

Apple isn't providing details about the plans disclosed by Chief Executive Tim Cook on Thursday, beyond stating that it will work with manufacturing partners and do more than assemble parts built elsewhere. It said the investment would go toward production of an existing Mac line.

A company spokesman declined to comment on which parts would be made on U.S. soil.

Piper Jaffray estimates that the sum would amount to 2% of Apple's 2013 capital expenditures. The company spent $9.5 billion on manufacturing process equipment and other corporate facilities and infrastructure in its last fiscal year.

Apple's plan runs counter to a decades-old shift of production of computers, smartphones, TVs and other gadgets to Asia, particularly mainland China.

The Cupertino, Calif., company has built up one of the industry's most sprawling and complicated global supply chains, a feat often credited to the efforts of Mr. Cook before he succeeded Steve Jobs as Apple's chief executive last year. Mr. Cook disclosed the new plan in interviews with NBC News and Bloomberg.

Apple has taken heat from human rights groups for safety incidents and high working hours in factories where their products are assembled, prompting Mr. Cook to invest in improvements. He has also publicly lamented the loss of manufacturing skills in the U.S. and played down the odds of bringing the bulk of production back from Asia, where years of investment have created sophisticated networks of parts suppliers and factories with specialized production tools.

But Tom Mayor, a Cleveland-based expert on manufacturing at Booz & Co., a management consulting firm, says Apple's latest move appears to be 'more than just political expediency.'

He said some technology companies have been rethinking their manufacturing strategies after last year's earthquake in Japan, which disrupted global supply chains.

Some now believe they should reduce reliance on Asia and avoid being caught 'with a supply base that sits on the ring of fire.'

Labor costs in China, which have been rising in the double digits annually, are also changing the equation on the margin.

Still Matt Sheerin, a senior supply chain analyst for Stifel Nicolaus, says doing PC manufacturing 'in a very big way' in the U.S. doesn't make sense.

He says electronics manufactures like Flextronics International Ltd. and Jabil Circuit Inc., which both make parts for Apple, have largely exited the PC business. 'They would have to get major margin and price concessions or they would take a big hit,' he said.

Flextronics and Jabil didn't respond to requests for comment.

Apple faces a series of challenges with the Mac production plan, including likely investments in production tools and training. Apple sold 18.2 million Macs in its last fiscal year.

Another hurdle will be qualifying for a 'made in the U.S.A.' label.

The Federal Trade Commission, which sets standards for such claims, says that products can carry that label only if 'all significant parts and processing that go into the product' are of U.S. origin.

At least some of the parts in any sophisticated electronic device would be likely to come from Asia.

But companies are allowed to make qualified claims about their U.S. production, such as by describing products as being assembled in the U.S. Companies also can specify the percentages of content that come from the U.S. and elsewhere.

Mr. Cook has also identified increasing Apple's manufacturing investment in the U.S. as a priority.

Yet he has also pointed to the challenges, including the shortage of skilled tool and die makers compared with China.

Jessica E. Lessin / James R. Hagerty
苹果公司(Apple Inc.)计划约10年来首次在美国本土生产部分Mac电脑,明年将投资1亿美元用于相关项目,此举可能是对美国制造业竞争力的一项备受关注的考验。

相关报道这家全球市值最高的公司一直面临着政治压力,这种压力要其将就业岗位放回国内,减少对外国代工商的依赖。外国代工商对待工人的方式受到了外界的严格审视。

与苹果每年在全球(主要是亚洲)制造业务中投入的数十亿美元相比,这笔投资数额很小。苹果的高科技产品有很大一部分是由亚洲工厂生产的。

苹果首席执行长库克对于苹果首席执行长库克(Tim Cook)周四披露的这一计划,苹果没有提供详细情况,只是说将与制造伙伴合作,不止是将其他地方生产的零部件组装在一起。苹果说,这笔投资将用于一条现有Mac产品线的生产。

苹果发言人拒绝就哪些零部件将在美国本土生产置评。

美国投行派杰公司(Piper Jaffray)估计,这笔投资额将占苹果2013年资本支出的2%。该公司上个财年在制造加工设备和其他公司设施及基础设施上花费了95亿美元。

苹果的这一计划一反数十年来各公司将电脑、智能手机、电视机和其他产品的生产转移到亚洲(特别是中国内地)的潮流。

这家总部位于加州库比蒂诺的公司已经建成了业内最庞大复杂的全球供应链之一。在库克去年接替乔布斯(Steve Jobs)担任苹果首席执行长之前,这一成就常常被归功于库克。库克是在接受NBC News和彭博(Bloomberg)采访时披露这一新计划的。

AFP/Getty Images苹果首席执行长库克苹果因负责其产品组装的工厂发生安全事件和工作时间过长而受到人权组织的批评,这促使库克投资改善工厂的工作条件。他还公开表示对美国制造技能的丧失感到惋惜,但他对于苹果把大部分生产业务从亚洲转移回美国的可能性做了淡化处理。在亚洲,多年的投资创造了由零部件供应商和拥有专门生产设备的工厂所组成的成熟网络。

但管理咨询公司Booz & Co.驻克利夫兰的制造业专家梅厄(Tom Mayor)说,苹果的最新举措似乎不止是政治上的权宜之计。

他说,在去年日本地震导致全球供应链中断之后,一些科技公司一直在重新考虑自己的制造业务战略。

一些公司如今认为,它们应该减少对亚洲的依赖,避免过于依赖“位于地震带的供应基地”。

中国的劳动力成本也开始改变利润率的等式。中国的工资每年在以两位数增长。

然而,美国投资银行Stifel Nicolaus的高级供应链分析师希林(Matt Sheerin)说,在美国大规模进行个人电脑的制造并不合理。

他说,伟创力国际(Flextronics International Ltd.)和捷普科技(Jabil Circuit Inc.)等电子产品制造商从很大程度上已经退出了个人电脑生产业务。他说,它们必须在利润率和价格上获得重大让步,否则就将受到严重冲击。这两家公司都为苹果生产零部件。

伟创力国际和捷普科技没有回复记者的置评请求。

苹果的Mac生产计划面临一系列挑战,包括在生产设备和培训上的可能投资。苹果上个财年销售了1,820万台Mac。

另外一项障碍将是获得使用“美国制造”标签的资格。

美国联邦贸易委员会(Federal Trade Commission)负责为此制定标准。该委员会说,只有当产品的全部主要零部件及产品的加工都是在美国进行的,产品才能贴上“美国制造”的标签。

任何复杂的电子设备都至少有部分零部件可能来自亚洲。

不过,公司可以对其产品生产过程中的美国元素做出适当的说明,比如说产品是在美国组装的。公司还可以详细说明来自美国和其他地方的元素各占多大比例。

库克还表示,增加苹果在美国制造业务的投资是一项优先任务。

但他也指出了挑战所在,包括与中国相比缺少技术熟练的工具和模具生产商。

Jessica E. Lessin / James R. Hagerty

(本文版权归道琼斯公司所有,未经许可不得翻译或转载。)

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