Why China and Apple Are a Match Made In Hell: Page 2

Despite Apple's popularity in China, it's time for the company to move its factories out of the country.
Posted February 15, 2012

Mike Elgan

(Page 2 of 2)

This leads to a strange reality in those cities: Police are cracking down on the sale of legitimate iPads, while counterfeit iPads based on Apple's stolen intellectual property are sold freely in the same stores.

Welcome to China.

Worse, the Proview is trying to prevent iPads manufactured in China from leaving the country for sale around the world.

Legal experts say the company is unlikely to succeed in blocking exports. But the reason is unsettling: it’s because Apple is popular in China.

Government authorities said that it "will be difficult to implement a ban because many Chinese consumers love Apple products," Proview's chief told the Reuters news agency.

In other words, legal rulings in China are arbitrary, and subject to fickle and unpredictable factors.

Today, Apple is popular in China. But if some future scandal makes them unpopular, the company could be blackmailed and its manufactured goods held hostage.

China’s Incompatible Worker Culture

Apple is currently being raked over the coals about worker abuse in Chinese factories by human rights organizations like New York-based China Labor Watch.

In fact, factory conditions can be very rough. Some workers have committed suicide, and Apple itself has discovered the employment of child laborers.

Apple recently launched what CEO Tim Cook called "probably the most detailed factory audit in the history of mass manufacturing."

Critics like to pretend that Apple is some evil overlord abusing Chinese workers. The truth is that Apple has simply failed to overcome pre-existing worker conditions in that country.

The only way Apple is going to be let off the hook for abusing factory workers is to become the first company ever to create a bubble of humanity in a culture that abuses workers as just a normal part of every day business.

In fact, worker abuse is one of the key benefits to companies like Apple to manufacture in China. Apple can make a last-minute change to one of its products mere days before the scheduled manufacturing begins, and bosses roust already-exhausted workers from their beds in the middle of the night to start working round-the-clock to effect the change.

Contract manufacturers are willing to expose workers to dangerous conditions and chemicals, work them double shifts without overtime pay, and fire them if they don't devote their lives to the cause.

Chinese worker culture is simply incompatible with Apple's need to avoid association with worker abuse. Sure, if Apple spends enough money, slows down production enough, and micromanages everything, it might be able to protect its reputation. But all that kills the value of manufacturing in China in the first place.

Apple might as well move their factories to other countries. And that’s exactly what Apple should do.

The bottom line is that although China is a huge market where Apple products are very popular, the country is simply incompatible with Apple's needs.

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Tags: iPhone, iPad, Apple

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