After their annual audit showed a large spike in underage workers, Apple made good on its promise to take more responsibility for its suppliers.
The iEconomy: Apple and Technology Manufacturing. Since January, the New York Times has been running a series of articles "examining the challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries," with a focus on Apple's business practices. The seventh article in the series was published today: In Technology Wars, Using the Patent as a Sword. Related: For Software, Cracks in the Patent System and Fighters in the Patent War. [more inside]
Boingboing has the short version of a sad story in which some young independent designers have an unexpectedly successful Kickstarter for a novel idea for a pen. Young designers turn to Joiga, an American-Chinese manufacturing firm that "minimizes the risk of turning an idea into a market-ready product." Joiga underdelivers, causing massive delays for the designers. One year later, a new "men's gift" company offers a bad copy of the designers' pen made with the same plans at the same factories. The sad and sorry punchline? The manufacturing company and the men's gift company are run by the same guy, Allen Arseneau. Long version at Notcot.
Mark Sweep describes an interesting game from his childhood which helps explain why companies move and keep their manufacturing in China.
Made in America: small businesses buck the offshoring trend - "For US manufacturing to make sense, factories must make extensive use of automation. That's getting easier, given that the cost of robots with comparable capabilities has decreased precipitously in the past two decades." [more inside]
Andrew Shane Huang is a 35 year old hardware hacker, known to some as bunnie, and others as that guy who hacked the Xbox and went on to write a book about it. Finding the hidden key to the Xbox was an enjoyable distraction while he worked on getting his PhD in Electrical Engineering from MIT as part of Project Aries. Since then, he has written for (and been written about) in Make Magazine, has giving talks on the strategy of hardware openness and manufacturing practices in China, as experienced with the development of the opensource ambient "internet-based TV" called Chumby. When he's not busy on such excursions, bunnie writes about hacking (and more specifically, Chumby hacking), technology in China, and even biology in exquisite detail on the bunnie studios blog (previously). [more inside]
Health and safety issues at an 'investment casting' (AKA 'lost wax') factory near Ningbo. Seventh in a series of photo essays (1 2 3 4 5 6) by Hong Kong-based independent photographer Alex Hofford, looking at life and work in the factories of southern China where the world's stuff gets made.
34 industries, 62,000 stalls, 320,000 commodities for sale, 4 million square meters of selling space: welcome to the world-famous Yiwu Wholesale Market in the Zhejiang Province of China, "where Santa Claus comes to shop." [more inside]
Chinese manufacturers are setting up shop in the U.S. due to a weak dollar, energy shortages, tax credits, and a desire to compete globally.
Made in China. A look inside the world’s manufacturing center. Flash video slideshow of the port of Shenzhen (7:00 minutes with sound)
End of an era IBM may sell its PC division to Lenovo, a Chinese company, due to its decade-long dwindling importance in comparison to powerhouses HP and Dell - in a market they helped invent in the first place. Seems like a good enough reason to reminisce about the old bastard.
In China's newly wealthy cities, a research boom is starting. In parts of the countryside, the rivers are black and too toxic to touch.
Another of our industries,one that actually produces something, has started what appears to be a death spiral. This industry survey was used as supporting evidence as they presented their case to the ITC in May, ahead of a report to be submitted to the House Ways and Means Committee this fall. Some of the business owners comments are here. Who benefits? Near as I can tell, This Guy. (Best if read aloud)
Hit back at China Move number one: order black berets for the entire army and toss the one they had. Move two: have the new ones made in China. Move three: We are pissed at China so we now destroy all the berets. Is this a government or what?