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Apple CEO Says Chinese Have More Skill Making Their Products Than Americans

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On 60 Minutes Sunday, Charlie Rose asked Apple CEO Tim Cook about his company’s manufacturing practices in China. Cook said the decision to use Chinese manufacturing has nothing to do with American workers demanding higher wages. He said it was because the Chinese have more skill. “Let me be clear,” Cook told Rose, “China put an enormous focus on manufacturing in what you and I would call vocational skills. The U.S., over time, began to stop having as many vocational skills.”

Rose then gave a vivid example of how grim it can be on the manufacturing line in China. “Manufacturing in China has brought serious labor concerns to Apple about low wages, long hours, and unsafe conditions,” Rose said. “After a series of suicides at Foxconn in 2010, the company installed safety nets outside its employees dormitories.”

According to a recent Wall Street Journal story, Chinese workers are getting angrier about the way they’re being treated by the corporations that employ them. The article reports that labor strife in the nation is, “larger and angrier than previous rounds.”

Cook says Apple is doing what they can to improve working conditions in China. “We are constantly auditing our supply chain, making sure safety standards are the highest; we’re making sure living conditions are the highest,” he insisted. “All of the things you would expect us to look for and more, we’re doing it.”

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