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Lenovo Building Manufacturing Plant in North Carolina

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the unknown-lamer-sent-to-the-factories dept.

United States 120

An anonymous reader writes "One of the major themes of the ongoing presidential election in the United States has been the perceived need to bring product manufacturing back to the United States. A recent announcement from Lenovo is going to play to this point; the PC manufacturer said today that it's building a U.S. location in Whitsett, North Carolina. The new facility is small, with just over 100 people and is being built for a modest $2M, but Lenovo states that it's merely the beginning of a larger initiative." It makes sense: their U.S. HQ is a stone's throw away in RTP.

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120 comments

Not a new building... (4, Informative)

alphax45 (675119) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540603)

Just a new line inside an existing facility. Still good news :)

Re:Not a new building... (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540827)

Another Chinese mega-corp, exploiting cheap labour conditions in a distressed 3rd world economy.

Re:Not a new building... (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541113)

Well, it is ironic...will the rich Chinese follow with massive outsourcing to the third-world US in all areas of industry? :-)

Re:Not a new building... (2)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541301)

Given that the average monthly salary at Foxconn is $350 and the working conditions are miserable and that this is still considered a great job in China where there are waiting lists just to apply, there is still some way to go until US workers are competitive to their Chinese counterparts.

Re:Not a new building... (2)

jopsen (885607) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541905)

this is still considered a great job in China where there are waiting lists just to apply, there is still some way to go until US workers are competitive to their Chinese counterparts.

[Citation Needed]
And you should probably find a source from 2012.

Re:Not a new building... (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#41542041)

Given that the average monthly salary at Foxconn is $350

That is a meaningless number. When I was in Thailand in the USAF, it was a 3rd world country (since industrialized). The bungalow I rented cost $30 per month, woman included. I could feed four for a dollar in a nice restaraunt. I could take a bus anywhere in the coutry for five cents, a taxi for a buck. A tailored shirt was five bucks. When I was in Delaware I lived like a pauper, eating in the mess hall and living in a barracks and was always broke, same salary in Thailand and I lived like a king.

I'm twice as rich as someone in Chicago earning the exact same amount as me, because prices there are twice what they are here, especially for essentials like food and rent and utilities.

Without pricing info, the monthly salary is a meaningless figure. They most likely indeed do live terrible, poverty stricken lives, but otoh $350 may be a lot of money there and they could possibly be living better than me.

Re:Not a new building... (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year and a half ago | (#41542223)

It is not meaningless in the context of the conversation, which is about how much the company must pay those workers, versus how much it must pay a US worker to do the same or probably worse job. An equivalent US worker would cost the company at least 10-15 times as much when you include salary, benefits, taxes and increased overall cost of doing business in US (rent, supplies etc).

Re:Not a new building... (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541269)

This was interesting to me regarding $.23/hour labor from prisons in US

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/419674/october-01-2012/the-word---supply-chained [colbertnation.com]

Re:Not a new building... (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541835)

The plan to re-build America's manufacturing base?
Shifting funds from education to penal corrections.

It's been going on for years, now. Like the history of Australia, in reverse.

Re:Not a new building... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41540833)

Just a new line inside an existing facility. Still good news :)

Crumbs or the peons.

Maybe the quality will improve? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41540659)

From what I have heard there is a consensus that Thinkpads used to be much better back in the days. Before they got branded/involved with Lenovo.

Maybe they are going to be better built now?

Re:Maybe the quality will improve? (4, Interesting)

walshy007 (906710) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540993)

I'm typing this from a thinkpad x201, and have failed to see any issues. Design wise very little has changed on it since the owership changed.

Some people could consider it stagnation, but I consider it "don't fix what isn't broken"

It still has all the features nobody else is willing to do in a single package, like a quality nub, reading light, waterproof keyboard, etc.

The connectivity options are impressive, not only the usual wifi/ethernet/cellular but it even still comes with an in-built 56k modem.. on an i5 :)

Re:Maybe the quality will improve? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541587)

Is there a 9 pin rs232 serial port?

Would be way more useful to me than a 56k modem.

I don't expect so. (2)

Let's All Be Chinese (2654985) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541007)

This is a small plant, so really only suited for assembling from parts, not creating new parts. Think batches of desktops assembled to spec, in the tens or hundreds, not thousands. If laptops, probably limited to swapping out keyboards for a different layout, change the hard drive, add more memory, or perhaps other warranty replacements.

Beyond that, the strong points of thinkpads were quality build and eclectic design focused on getting things done, like non-glare high-resolution high-quality 4:3 screens. That's not something fixed by swapping out a few parts in a laptop.

Alright, a different keyboard is easily swapped in, provided you have better quality ones in sensible layouts--like the lack of windows keys that was a feature for the longest time, leaving ctrl and alt nicely accessible without looking. But if you have better keyboards available, or other higher quality parts, why not stick'em in right away?

So, in a word, no, this isn't likely to magically improve the thinkpad range. For that to happen, lenovo has to realise that just the brand name isn't enough; you have to differentiate yourself. Instead, they've moved to become more like the rest, not less. Thus lessening the brand name in the process.

But they also have a line of desktops. I expect this plant is about order configuration management close to delivery, probably mostly for small bulk orders, likely desktops and perhaps some laptops too.

Re:Maybe the quality will improve? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541071)

From what I have heard there is a consensus that Thinkpads used to be much better back in the days. Before they got branded/involved with Lenovo.

Maybe they are going to be better built now?

The 'ideapad' line is more or less the same schlock you'd see from any other consumer facing brand. Thinkpads see the occasional controversy(I remember the T43 being considered rather a disappointment compared to the T42, among others, and it hasn't been entirely immune from the "Why would you possibly want a high resolution 4:3 panel when you could have a 1366x768 'HD' 16:9?" disease that took the industry by storm.) Overall, though, Lenovo seems to have realized that there wasn't much point in buying the Thinkpad brand and then fucking with it, and they were the OEMs behind many of the IBM Thinkpad models so it wasn't a fundamental shift in manufacturing...

Re:Maybe the quality will improve? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41541665)

From what I have heard there is a consensus that Thinkpads used to be much better back in the days. Before they got branded/involved with Lenovo.
  Maybe they are going to be better built now?

If you ask me this is bullshit.

My last "IBM" thinkpad (T41) died from the infamous ATI BGA packing defect after only two years of use.

Before this CFL tube on my "IBM" thinkpad ??? blew after about the same time.

Current "lenovo" T400 with LED backlight and switchable graphics has been with me for more than 4 years now including origional 4-cell (small) battery still providing >1.5hr. This machine is used every day with no problem of any kind.

Case is solid, keyboard is great and internal magnesium frame in "lenovo" T400 is more substantial than "IBM" T41.

While Lenovo also makes cheap crap you can still get real thinkpads if your willing to pay the slight premium or pick up an older model and save $$$.

As always YMMV, antidotical evidence cuts both ways and is best ignored outright. The assertion there is a consensus that lenovo is worse than IBM is bullshit in my not so polite opinion.

The South Will Rise Again...? (0)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540669)

Relatively stronger opposition to government interference has led to a tax structure which is more attractive to business.

Re:The South Will Rise Again...? (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540845)

So, you're suggesting we should be in a race to the bottom and just eliminate all taxes on businesses?

Re:The South Will Rise Again...? (1, Troll)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541863)

So, you're suggesting we should be in a race to the bottom and just eliminate all taxes on businesses?

Yes. Businesses should not pay income tax on their profits. They will either pay the profits out to their stockholders, who pay tax on the income, or they reinvest it to generate more jobs much more efficiently than the government would. By taxing businesses, we are just discouraging companies from investing and pushing jobs overseas.

Currently dividends are taxed at a very low rate (just as Mitt Romney) but that is because they are already taxed at the company level. But by taxing at the company level we end up taxing a poor shareholder saving for their retirement at the same rate as a centi-millionaire like Romney. If we let it all fall through to the individual investor, we can fix that.

Re:The South Will Rise Again...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41542493)

Funny talking point, but it isn't a taxable profit if it is a deductible expense such as paying salaries, dividends, and suppliers or "investing" in real infrastructure or inventory which has a depreciation schedule. It is only taxable when it is hoarded as capital. I think we'd all be OK with omitting income tax on net revenue if the holdings were instead subject to property tax like real property.

Re:The South Will Rise Again...? (1)

bwintx (813768) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540861)

Perhaps also related to NC's being a "right-to-work" state. TFA didn't mention that as a factor, so I'm just guessing.

The South Will Scooter Again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41540963)

Sorry but according to obesity demographics the south won't be doing any sort of "rising" in the near future.

Re:The South Will Scooter Again! (2)

DriveDog (822962) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541237)

Well, Rock Creek (nearby town is Whitsett), where Lenovo is locating, has another tenant of note: Red Oak Brewery. Probably within scootering distance, too. A small family-owned Italian restaurant near there sells pizza by the slice. Only the slices come from pizzas over 3' in diameter.

Re:The South Will Scooter Again! (1)

DriveDog (822962) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541247)

Oops, make that more like 6'. The slices hang off the sides of large pizza pans.

Re:The South Will Rise Again...? (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540969)

Im pretty sure the Research Triangle has more to do with the fact that it is formed by the triangle of Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, and NC St, which are strong tech/science/research schools. Plus there's the fact that the Triangle has been around since the 50s. This is what makes it attractive to businesses, especially reasearch and tech companies.

Re:The South Will Rise Again...? (1)

butchersong (1222796) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541331)

This is true for states like Texas. I don't know that I've ever heard anyone brag too much about North Carolina tax structure. I didn't look it back up but if I recall correctly they're kind of middle of the pack to high side for a US state if I recall.

Re:The South Will Rise Again...? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541637)

I bet cheap land and low cost of living has even more to do with it. Just wait until those areas get built up. Then the companies will move to the next backwater.

Texas is from what I can tell a terrible place to live. You can't even walk to the bars since everything is either 6 lane or a dry county. I don't mind go there to hunt or visit my family, but I could never live there.

What's Chinese for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41540681)

What's Chinese for "dey derk ur derbs!"?

Very good (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540685)

Just don't put it near any military bases...

Re:Very good (3, Insightful)

Panaflex (13191) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540877)

Oddly enough, the most likely reason they're putting in a plant in the USA is...... (wait for it).... to sell into DOD. You get an instant +5 karma by manufacturing in the USA for contract win purposes.

Good news, to be sure, but on the other hand... (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540719)

..has our dollar really declined that much?

Re:Good news, to be sure, but on the other hand... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41540791)

I would think this would be related to the US Government refusing to purchase computer equipment not made in the US. It's a market that IBM/Lenovo used to dominate and the costs of running this production line in the US is more than outweighed by what they'll make from new government contracts.

Re:Good news, to be sure, but on the other hand... (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541049)

I'm just curious as to who would qualify for a requirement of equipment to be made in the US? And what's the definition of 'made' in this case anyway, since nearly all components except processor and GPU, will still be made overseas anyway and just assembled in the US.

Re:Good news, to be sure, but on the other hand... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541119)

Transportation is probably a factor, as well. For things like warranty work or build-to-order configs, the customer doesn't want to wait for the boat from China or pay for the plane from China.

Companies that sell nothing but prebuilds don't care as much; but if you do customization it isn't uncommon to have a 'slapping FRUs into boxes' plant somewhere in the US or northern Mexico that is supplied with more labor intensive parts from elsewhere.

Re:Good news, to be sure, but on the other hand... (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541183)

From a Chinese company? Hmmm......if they are worried about Wind Farms near drone facilities, somehow I don't see them purchasing laptops made by a Chinese company.

Re:Good news, to be sure, but on the other hand... (1)

jdray (645332) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541481)

It's likely that the "no wind farms near drone facilities" was as much about getting the builder to select US-manufactured turbines over Chinese-manufactured ones for the purpose of encouraging US manufacture of a lot of large, expensive machinery rather than some fear that the Chinese are going to embed spy cameras in windmills.

Re:Good news, to be sure, but on the other hand... (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540929)

..has our dollar really declined that much?

It is not so much the decline of the dollar, as the automation of manufacturing. As factories become more automated, the "labor" component of the cost goes down, and at some point is exceed by the transportation and inventory costs of off-shoring. At that point it becomes cost effective to "re-shore" the factory.

I have been inside factories in both China and the USA. Chinese factories bustle with people. American factories tend to be almost devoid of all lifeforms. Manufacturing is coming back to America, but manufacturing jobs are not.

Re:Good news, to be sure, but on the other hand... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541857)

is not so much the decline of the dollar, as the automation of manufacturing. As factories become more automated, the "labor" component of the cost goes down, and at some point is exceed by the transportation and inventory costs of off-shoring. At that point it becomes cost effective to "re-shore" the factory.

I have been inside factories in both China and the USA. Chinese factories bustle with people. American factories tend to be almost devoid of all lifeforms. Manufacturing is coming back to America, but manufacturing jobs are not.

That's because American labor is pricier, so the more you automate, the less humans you need to produce the product. It's why American labor, as compared to Chinese, is roughly an order of magnitude more productive (i.e., one American can produce 10 times as much as one Chinese worker). All purely due to automatication.

It's good and bad - a manufacturing job is quite a crappy one - it's completely unskilled, dull, menial and boring. As such, it's a low-paying job to begin with, and very few actually want ot "put tab A into slot B" for 8 hours a day. (The more usual American-made goods tend to be cars and other heavy industrial goods, where the volumes are far lower and the work more varied, though you still have pacing issues).

Though, the good side is it does produce some good jobs - the robot technicians who work on and repair the assembly line, as well as those who work out how to design for manufacturing.

And if we take Apple, we can probably see that Apple's stretching the limits of the Chinese method - automation will have to be employed in order to keep production up just out of sheer necessity. Every prodruct is pretty much "designed for manufacture" and is heavily automated (hence use of adhesives and other repair-unfriendly techniques) or at least done so each worker doesn't have to struggle to meet production (it's easier to apply a rim of glue than to screw in a bunch of screws, for example).

Even the Nexus Q had issues. It probably was fine for Chinese manufacture (its complexity is fine for a low-volume product). But move it so it's made in the US was folly as it was definitely not optimized for manufacture - it cost way more than it needed to build and assemble. Get rid of the two circuit boards and build it into one, get rid of screws, use some glue, get rid of the complex mechanical assembly and simplify things a bit and it'll probably work for high-volume manufacture in the US without costing much more than competitors. Of course, it would be far less hackable...

Real Time Protocol (4)

tqk (413719) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540755)

WTF does RTP mean, in context with this story?

Re:Real Time Protocol (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41540773)

It stands for Research Triangle Park

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_Triangle_Park [wikipedia.org]

Re:Real Time Protocol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41540779)

Research Triangle Park.

http://www.rtp.org/

It's also home to Genband, and a few other tech companies.

Re:Real Time Protocol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41540865)

Research Triangle Park, NC

Re:Real Time Protocol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41541005)

RTP is between Raleigh, Durham, and Morrisville and is referred as a separate town/municipality. Addresses in the area refer to RTP, not any of the towns/cities that RTP is in.

Re:Real Time Protocol (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541321)

It's an abbreviation for "Slashdot editors are not detail-oriented".

The "makes sense" comment is lame. Proximity to your HQ is not a priority for factories. The right kind of labor pool and low operating costs are far more important. The SE U.S. is known for both, which is why IBM built up there. Both Lenovo facilities are probably part of the the real estate they acquired when they bought IBM's PC division.

(Yes, I am an expert, kinda. Three years on various Sun hardware product teams.)

This is boutique manufacturing. Not particularly newsworthy, since it doesn't represent any shift in Asia's dominance in manufacturing in general and computers in particular. What would be significant is more factories that can compete with Asian factories when it comes time to bid on manufacturing contracts. ("Manufacturers" no longer own factories, beyond a few legacy facilities.) Such factories do exist in the SE; Sun often contracted with them when I was there. But they're a tiny minority struggling to compete with much bigger operations in Asia and Latin America.

Re:Real Time Protocol (1)

alteran (70039) | about a year and a half ago | (#41542231)

Also, the "stone's throw" is like about an hour at highway speeds. Some throw. ;-)

Re:Real Time Protocol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41541629)

Research Tirangle Park is the largest concentration of PhDs in the world. Along with Silicon Valley and Route 128 in Boston, RTP is one of three major centers of innovation in the US. All major tech companies have operations in RTP, including IBM. It is the main headquaters of SAS. My daughter works at an internet advertising startup in RTP. It's the home of coutless startup companies in the computer and biotech field.

Re:Real Time Protocol (2)

RobertLTux (260313) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541635)

as had been said Research Triangle Park (its an area with a bunch of different tech companies i think RedHat is one of them) if you live in NC you would know BUT SOMEBODY SHOULD HAVE EXPANDED THAT BIT for non-locals.

Obligatory (1)

DrData99 (916924) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540757)

I, for one, welcome our new Chinese Overlords!

Re:Obligatory (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about a year and a half ago | (#41542141)

I, for one, welcome our new Chinese Overlords!

Did you know that we got the word 'Obligatory' from the Japanese phrase: "domo obligato mistah ra bahtoo"? Which basically means: "automated comment".

But Outsourcing is Bad! (0)

geoffrobinson (109879) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540811)

Who's going to stick up for all the out of work Chinese?

On a serious note, no one seems to have a problem with insourcing. Concentrate on making your own country more competitive instead of erecting barriers between countries.

Quality (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41540869)

It must be true; Americans are better at sucking corporate disk!

How Funny (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540949)

American companies can not build here, but Chinese can. Just amazing how bad American leadership has become.

At this point, if the west really wants to acknowledge China's gov cold war and take it on, then we should start sending as many MBA's to China as humanly possible. Of course, the Chinese will probably realize it and simply put a bullet in each one of them and then charge the USA for it, while subsidizing and dumping the rest of the ammo on America's market.

Re:How Funny (3, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541089)

Of course, the Chinese will probably realize it and simply put a bullet in each one of them and then charge the USA for it, while subsidizing and dumping the rest of the ammo on America's market.

Hey, fewer MBAs and cheaper ammo. Sounds like a win win to me.

Re:How Funny (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541365)

I share your cynical view of U.S. business leadership, but Lenovo's attempt to PR this as a bold new U.S. manufacturing initiative is pure spin. They're simply expanding a small facility they bought from IBM years ago.

Re:How Funny (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541795)

Oh, there is little doubt of that. However, it is STILL more than what large American companies have done. Hell, you have ppl like Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, Immelt, Rometty, Palmisano, Dell, Gates, Jobs, etc arguing that the best way to help American companies is that they be allowed to bring back tax free the money that W/neo-cons tax breaks gave them. Of course, we did this once already, and NONE of it was used to create new jobs here in the USA. So it is twisted that it is even being suggested.

Yeah, I have little faith in Chinese companies, since 99% of them are controlled by the Chinese gov, OR are loyal to their nation (and I do not blame them for that). BUT, America's large business leaders are the worse scum on this planet.

Re:How Funny (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41542559)

No argument, though my ire is directed less at the leadership of big business than at a tax and financial system that favors the megacorp. If we're ever going to start re-importing manufacturing jobs, we need small and medium businesses to be able to finance their ops, something they can't do now.

And I think it's a little simplistic to think of Lenovo as an arm of the Chinese government. Their actual equity is only about 15%, and even that's indirect. Now, you might think the fact that they're an ideological dictatorship that doesn't tolerate serious dissent would still give them a lot of control. But in fact the Communists have devolved a lot of authority to local and private entities. (What private entities in an officially socialist state? Well, the fact that they have no say in "local affairs" in Taiwan has turned out to be an advantage.) You often hear of the central government being stymied by local corruption and politics.

The Red Flag is now little more than a symbol. They've gone from a Soviet-style centralized economy to a modern enterprise powerhouse in just a couple of decades. The only way to do that was for the central government to give up a lot economic control.

re: bringing revenue home tax-free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41542843)

Actually, the idea of bringing back money earned overseas makes a LOT of sense, if you simply place a stipulation on it that it only qualifies for that tax free (or tax reduced would even work here) status if it's provably used to invest in growing the workforce here in the USA.

The rationale for keeping the money overseas is, a given corporation will be better off spending or re-investing the profits in the countries they're earned in than taking a 15% or more tax hit on bringing it back home (only to get taxed on it a second time when it's spent on things here). If you level that playing field by saying, "Bring it back if you like and we won't punish you, AS LONG AS you use it the same way you'd use it over there -- investing in your company's growth with new/improved facilities and more employees)."

Re:How Funny (not really) (1)

drainbramage (588291) | about a year and a half ago | (#41542603)

Didn't Boeing try to build there?
Pretty sure Boeing qualifies as an American company.
Maybe not, the American government squashed them.
Maybe the problem isn't necessarily business leadership....

Lenovo is owned by the Chinese government (1)

ickleberry (864871) | about a year and a half ago | (#41540975)

The worst crowd who could possibly own a company. I'd say this is just a token gesture to lull us into a false sense of security that outsourcing to China has any long term benefits

Re:Lenovo is owned by the Chinese government (2)

lexlthr (2038974) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541181)

The worst crowd who could possibly own a company. I'd say this is just a token gesture to lull us into a false sense of security that outsourcing to China has any long term benefits

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenovo [wikipedia.org] Responding to claims that Lenovo is a state owned enterprise CEO Yang Yuanqing said: "Our company is a 100% market oriented company. Some people have said we are a state owned enterprise. It's 100% not true. In 1984 the Chinese Academy of Sciences only invested $25,000 in our company. The purpose of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to invest in this company was that they wanted to commercialize their research results. The Chinese Academy of Sciences is a pure research entity in China, owned by the government. From this point, you could say we're different from state-owned enterprises. Secondly, after this investment, this company is run totally by the founders and management team. The government has never been involved in our daily operation, in important decisions, strategic direction, nomination of the CEO and top executives and financial management. Everything is done by our management team

Re:Lenovo is owned by the Chinese government (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541873)

The founder of Lenovo (and who still controls the company) was very active in bringing communism to CHina and fighting for the PLA. [wikipedia.org]
He is a high up member of the Communist Party, while Yang Yuanqing (the current CEO) is a member of the same.

Lenovo is in the same aspect to China/Communist party as IBM/Air America/Perot's Companies was to USA gov. before traitors got ahold of them.

Re:Lenovo is owned by the Chinese government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41543097)

History time kids!

Lenovo is in the same aspect to China/Communist party as IBM/Air America/Perot's Companies was to USA gov. before traitors got ahold of them.

Wut?

Re:Lenovo is owned by the Chinese government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41541223)

I don't know who modded you up, but you fail to realise that people are more stupid than you think. That's why I'm pretty sure they don't need a clever ruse like this one in the first place.

Re:Lenovo is owned by the Chinese government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41541337)

Probably nothing to do with PR. The fact is that producing in China is becoming more expensive wages are on the rise, there are export taxes in China as well. It may actually start to make sense to produce locally for a local market. This helps in optimizing taxes but also can cut the cost of transportation. There is also the factor that producing in China/Asia comes with substantial inefficiencies and waste. Times have changed and things may just swing the other way once again. It will be a slow process,but I see it happening (I live in china btw). Once all of the options for lower wages in Asia have been depleted it will come down to import/export tarrifs and the cost of transporting goods, and companies will move back.
On top of this, China has a serious problem with its workforce. Finding qualified people to operate hi tech production equipment is difficult and people easily move on to other jobs.

Re:Lenovo is owned by the Chinese government (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541519)

The "worst crowd"? I was unaware that Donald Trump was a commie.

U.S. companies don't check with their stockholders every time they add a hundred-empoloyee manufacturing line, so Lenovo doesn't do the same with the Chinese Government. Which, incidentally, doesn't have a direct or majority stake in Lenovo. What they do have is the semi-autonomous Chinese Academy of Sciences, which has a 1/3 stake in Legend Holdings, which has a 1/3 stake in Lenovo. The other 2/3 of Lenovo belongs to private entities, including non-Chinese investors.

So no big conspiracy here, sorry.

Re:Lenovo is owned by the Chinese government (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41541817)

US debt is owned by the Chinese.

Gov't influence (1)

thereitis (2355426) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541011)

Did the US government do anything to incentivize Lenovo to make this decision or did Lenovo make it all on their own? What I'm wondering is whether the gov't is doing more than just talking about doing more manufacturing in the US.

Re:Gov't influence (1)

TimHunter (174406) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541803)

There were no state or local incentives. Around here this is regarded as a major plus. We're feeling a bit burned by PC manufacturers.

Another major difference between Lenovo and Dell is that Dell was lured by a pledge of up to $280 million in state and local incentives, which at the time was a record for North Carolina. Lenovo sought no incentives and received none, said state Secretary of Commerce Keith Crisco, who was among the host of dignitaries who attended Tuesday's news conference.

In 2005 Dell opened, with great fanfare, a PC factory in Winston-Salem that was expected to eventually employ more than 1,500 workers. But slumping sales triggered the company's decision to shut down the plant just four years later.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/10/03/2387334/lenovo-to-manufacture-computers.html [newsobserver.com]

That's some interesting wording there... (1)

twotacocombo (1529393) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541017)

> the perceived need to bring product manufacturing back to the United States

Why would the act of bringing any sort of employment back to the states be considered a 'perceived need'?

Re:That's some interesting wording there... (1)

thaylin (555395) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541727)

Because you can do it with other job sectors, not just manufacturing. It is perceived, because it is not required to bring jobs back.

Re:That's some interesting wording there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41541903)

And what sectors would employ people in the same way manufacturing used to do? I can't think of another type of work that's better suited for the vast majority of people out there. Some people need jobs that consist of "place Part A here, place Part B here, place Fastener 1 in Hole 1, remove appendages, push button." What sector could take these folks and give them meaningful employment?

Re:That's some interesting wording there... (1)

twotacocombo (1529393) | about a year and a half ago | (#41542367)

Explain this to unemployed American manufacturing workers who perceive a need for income. Not everyone has the ability or means to change careers, especially when there aren't many jobs to be found in other sectors these days. With the way the economy is, why would we not welcome any and all domestic employment opportunities?

A Making of a Trend? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41541103)

I'm posting this anonymously to protect the guilty.

I work for a company that makes great products, but isn't exactly a cutting-edge manufacturing powerhouse. I had a suspicion that the pendulum was starting to swing the other way when we moved our manufacturing to China.

Insourcing stones. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541127)

It makes sense: their U.S. HQ is a stone's throw away in RTP.

Hopefully the stones are made in the US.

They probably just want the tax incentive (1)

Wansu (846) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541195)

Dell opened a plant in NC some years back, pocketed the tax incentives, ran it a few years and then abruptly closed it. It wouldn't surprise me if Lenovo did the same.

Still Made In China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41541351)

Awesome, a new factory in the U.S. filled with robots made in China.

Government contracts (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41541535)

My wife replaced her government issued laptop recently. She was free to get whatever laptop she wanted, as long as it was not made in China. So she ended up with a Dell assembled in Ireland with parts manufactured in China. I assume the NC facility will be mainly a federal government procurement facility to comply with the "not from China" policy.

We're becoming a banana republic (1)

KrazyDave (2559307) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541597)

where we are grateful to our Asian overlords for considering us worthy of manufacturing jobs. Disgusting. Ross Perot was right in '92 about this and about NAFTA. He said there'd be plenty of jobs, alright on both sides of the broder, both paying $7.50 and hour

Nice to see - hope it's a trend! (5, Insightful)

ErichTheRed (39327) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541659)

Even if it's just for PR points, some domestic manufacturing employment is a good thing. The reason why isn't nice, it's not politically correct, but it's the facts:

Not everyone is intelligent enough for knowledge work.

In my opinion, if we continue the way we're going, we're going to spiral into a society with three classes -- business owners, knowledge workers and a huge swath of working poor. If everyone has to complete at least a masters' degree to secure a place in one of the top two classes, that completely ignores the other 75% of the IQ distribution.

Think about the way society was organized in the 50s through the 70s:
- Only the highly intelligent and/or well off went to college. They typically inherited a business, got a technical, science, engineering or other kind of knowledge job, or became academics. Each one of these outcomes guaranteed a stable job for life because that's what business ownership, academia or large corporate employment did back then. This is still the preferred path, minus the guarantees of course.
- For the high end of the medium-intelligence scale, there were plenty of paper-shuffling jobs in corporate environments. Remember that before computers, automation and email, large corporations had to employ thousands of file clerks, secretaries and layers of management that just routed paper reports around. Because US companies were doing so well, and things couldn't be outsourced and automated, a huge upper middle class thrived.
- For the low end of the medium-intelligence scale, there were millions of factory jobs. They were all simple, stand on a line for 8 hours and perform a single task or set of tasks. Because of unionization and a lack of global competition, even those jobs were stable and paid reasonable living wages. This was the bulk of the middle class, and I grew up in a Rust Belt city in the early 80s so I got to watch it all unravel live.
- The screwups, dropouts or just plain dumb people wound up doing menial labor. But even at that end of the scale, there was less downward pressure on those wages, so they were able to scrape by for the most part.

The problem is, in 2012, you can locate a factory anywhere, employ thousands of people for a fraction of the price that 100 would cost you, and pump out products just as quickly as before. All the secretaries and paper routers lost their jobs in the late 80s/early 90s automation and downsizing waves. So now, where do all those people who used to have solid incomes go? They either end up permanently unemployed, or go work menial jobs for just above minimum wage, no security and no benefits. So you have a huge class of working poor, working at Wal-Mart, as a home health care aide, or something else.

It's a really tough problem that might have a very bad ending in the next 40 years or so -- we need to find something for everyone to do and someone to employ them. Conservatives love to tout entrepreneurship as our savior, but do they really think a factory guy whose job was bolting the same two parts together for the last 20 years is going to be a successful business owner? Thinking like that will mean you have a class of bankrupt working poor instead of just working poor as all their little ventures fail.

So yes, I hope manufacturing comes back. And I hope it can be something that someone can build an entire career on, not just a string of $10/hr temp jobs.

Re:Nice to see - hope it's a trend! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41542837)

All the secretaries and paper routers lost their jobs in the late 80s/early 90s automation and downsizing waves.

Only the ones that didn't see it coming. The mailroom clerk that picked up a book on Lotus Notes administration got a big promotion.

Re:Nice to see - hope it's a trend! (1)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#41542849)

No. They think that new businesses hire people. And people working private enterprise job raise more taxes than people working government jobs. Having a huge government is wasteful and expensive and limits our ability as a nation to create wealth.

Also, it is not just intelligence that places people on the scale, but a variety of other factors. My brother is overweight and slightly socially awkward in person, but not on the phone. He has had a string of $10/hour jobs. But he finally excelled at mortgage. Because people can't see him, he gains confidence and does a great job. Then the housing market tanked and he was back to $10/hour jobs. And now, he again makes good money working as a mortgage officer.

Re:Nice to see - hope it's a trend! (2)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about a year and a half ago | (#41543573)

Yeah, this is one of those problems that people have seen coming. Just to tweak your comments though:
While there may be a bell curve to intelligence, education CAN affect where that average lies. Now, there are natural geniuses out in desert that would have been math majors had they had any schooling, and given a chance they can pick up new things later on. And there are those who, despite a massive amount of effort from everyone involved, never quite grasp calculus. But on a society level, education makes more knowledge workers.

And intelligence means almost jack shit when it comes to owning. You seem to be making a few assumptions connecting owning a business, MBAs, and intelligence. Is "social intelligence" or your ability to shmooze really on the same scale?

in 2012, you can locate a factory anywhere

All the secretaries and paper routers lost their jobs in the late 80s/early 90s automation

And these are good things. This is progress. Imagine a world where we make robots do all the work. This could be a paradise. It's probably going to be a bumpy ride getting there. Exactly like there was some contention over where the extra money goes when the factory owners bought industrial tools in the industrial revolution, there will be a question over who gets what when we automate all the work away. But don't let that distract you. Progress is a good thing. It literally makes the products more affordable for everyone. It used to be that when you bought a car, some fraction of that cash had to go to pay for the boss's secretary. No more secretary means that car is that much more affordable. And, hopefully competiton or some other system means the customer reaps some of that efficiency.

[Manufacturing returns] And I hope it can be something that someone can build an entire career on

I just don't see that happening in the long run.
And that still leaves us with the original problem doesn't it?

Personally, I likewise see a division of work in the future. I think/hope it's going to break down like this:

Smart people. STEM jobs. Geeks. Like you said, the intelligent crowd. Everyone needs to be at least a little smart to be functional in society, like the ability to read, but it'll be the focus of these people.

Social people. Like, where they talk to each other and stuff. Polititians, managers, figureheads, correspondants, and yeah even walmart greeters. Anyone that interacts mainly with other peole. Everyone needs to be at least a little social to be functional in society, like the ability to converse with others, but it'll be the focus of these people.

Artsy people. The creative types. Yeah, that's right, I want my utopia to have murals'n'shit instead of featureless concrete. Unless you're into that [wikipedia.org]. Does everyone need to be a little arsty? I dunno. I think someone with a zero value would be a psychology case study though.

Those are the big three ways people make their living. A lot of jobs will be a mix of more than one talent. Hopefully that'll span the majority of society. I don't think there's any upper limit to the amount of effort any of those three could absorb. Sure, the world only needs X amount of sprockets a year. But research? Art? PolitiuuuuhhI'll get back to you on that last one. But there are alternatives:

Menial labor. Sure, eventually robots could take everything, but for a really REALLY long time there's going to be random pidly stuff that anyone could do. Picking up garbage. Washing dogs. Being that person who screems "theif" if you steal shit, but ostensibly is there to "ring you up". There will be some jobs for people who can't do anything else.

The safety net. Hey man, we're approaching a post-scarcity society. Food and shelter can be had for dirt cheap if you're willing to live in that style. And as a productive member of society, I'm perfectly willing to provide the basics for those who simply can't do so for themselves.

Drop outs. You can't save'em all. I mean that. I want to live in a society where I'm free enough to fall. There will be the junkies and the apathetic who can't be bothered to take the free handout.

Fascinating (2)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about a year and a half ago | (#41541675)

I love it. IBM sells Lenovo to china. China decides to come back to the states and build here and people scream. Yet most of the screamers drive a toyota or nissan or volkswagen and have no qualms about supporting these foreign companies. Because... they have factories in the US? Or do they really believe they're US companies?

Re:Fascinating (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41541759)

I love it. IBM sells Lenovo to china. China decides to come back to the states and build here and people scream. Yet most of the screamers drive a toyota or nissan or volkswagen and have no qualms about supporting these foreign companies. Because... they have factories in the US? Or do they really believe they're US companies?

It is because the cost of 100 US factory employees for a highly automated process is less than the cost of distribution from a factory farther away.

wow, 100 more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41541725)

Just what we need to get this economy going again. A hundred minimum wage jobs putting components manufactured in others countries together.

RTP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41542047)

RTP = Research Triangle Park, NC

So they have enough political prisoners... (1)

0xG (712423) | about a year and a half ago | (#41542571)

...to use for labor in North Carolina?

Oh, right, there's an election coming :-)

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41542575)

they are going to 'import' more workers into the US than they employ from the local base of US citizens.

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