Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Buy American

And what could be more American than Apple’s iPad 2 tablet? Or is it?

The following comes from Grossman-Hart (1986) Goes Global: Incomplete Contracts, Property Rights, and the International Organization of Production by Pol Antràs.
Apple’s iPad 2 tablet is a case in point. Its slim and sleek exterior hides a complex manufacturing process combining components provided by multiplier suppliers located in various countries. Apple does not disclose information on its input providers, but teardown reports (such as those published by isuppli.com and ifixit.com) have shed light on the global nature of the iPad 2 production process. The tablet itself is assembled in China (and by the end of 2011 also in Brazil) by Taiwan-based Foxconn. The displays are believed to be manufactured by LG Display and, more recently, by Samsung, both of which are based in South Korea. The distinctive touch panel is produced by Wintek, a Taiwan-based company that also owns plants in China, India and Vietnam, while the case is provided by another Taiwanese company, Catcher Technologies, with operations in Taiwan and China. A third important component, the battery pack, also originates in Taiwan and is sold by Simplo Technologies and Dynapack International. Apart from these easily identifiable parts, the iPad 2 incorporates a variety of chips and other small technical components provided by various firms with R&D centers in developed economies and manufacturing plants (under various organizational structures) worldwide. A non-exhaustive list includes (again) Korea’s Samsung, which is believed to manufacture the main processor (designed by Apple) and possibly the flash memory, Japan’s Elpida contributing the SDRAM, Germany’s Infineon and U.S. Qualcomm both supplying 3G modules, and Italo-French STMicroelectronics, Japan’s AKM Superconductors and U.S. TAOS each contributing key sensors.
I guess "American" just isn't what it once was. Which means it's difficult, if not impossible, to workout what to buy if one want to "Buy American". In this globalised world the same problems occur for those who wish to "Buy New Zealand".

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