Is U.S. Manufacturing Making a Comeback — Or is It Just Hype?
May 1, 2013
It’s hardly news when a U.S. firm moves its manufacturing operations abroad to China. But what about when a Chinese company sets up a factory in the United States?
That actually happened in January, when Lenovo, a Beijing-based computer maker, opened a new manufacturing line in Whitsett, N.C., to handle assembly of PCs, tablets, workstations and servers.
The rationale? The company is expanding into the U.S. market and needs the flexibility to assemble units for speedy delivery across the country, says Jay Parker, Lenovo’s president for North America.
But also — and this was crucial — the math added up. While it’s still cheaper to build things in China, those famously low Chinese wages have risen in recent years. “We reached the point where we could offset a portion of those labor costs by saving on logistics,” Parker says.