Apple CEO Tim Cook continued his China tour on Wednesday with an appearance at the Fortune Global Forum. He points out that
There’s confusion about China that we are doing business there due to the low labor cost. But China stopped being the source of cheap labor years ago when they started moving up the value chain.
It’s not so well known that China has become a world center of high-tech manufacturing, and Tim gives the Chinese educational system a lot of credit for that. They have created a class of skilled tradespeople who can make advanced tooling for a lot of products we take for granted.
Cook likes the skill and the quantity of skills in certain locations –locations that have become centers of excellence in China for certain things.
In our business for example, we have centers of excellence in the rare earth magnets business. There are geographical centers of excellence in certain parts of the country due to concentrations of ore deposits which lead to mining and processing of the material as value is added.
Then additional geographical centers of excellence arose due to the locations of downstream processing centers, which led to increased study, which in turn led to university and government laboratories creating advanced learning programs in the development of magnetics technologies.
These universities and laboratories then became their own technical centers of excellence, leading to further advances over time.
Cook points out that a major factor in China’s favor is the development of a very large number of tooling engineers. We have some excellent tooling engineers in the US, but China also has excellent tooling engineers –and lots of them!
These engineers in China have now been developing these skills for decades. China highly values these vocational skills, and so does Apple.
BJMT/Ideal Magnet Solutions makes rare earth magnets for many high-tech applications in personal electronics, automotive, green energy and industrial markets. We proudly manufacture our magnets in China where nearly 90% of the world’s rare earth magnets come from.
We have some of China’s top engineers and scientists on our staff propelling rare earth technology forward and powering the world’s most important high-tech applications.
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