back to article How is Trump's anti-Chinese rhetoric playing out? 70% of smartphones sold in the US are – surprise – made in China

As US President Trump pats himself on the back for disrupting Huawei's business outside of China, he may be interested to discover more and more smartphones purchased in the US are made in the Middle Kingdom. Venerable box counter Canalys said that figure is rising too: 60 per cent of the blowers sold to the good folk of …

  1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Joke

    Build your own phone

    Virtually all phones are made in China even though the US started the designs, let's return to the old days. - LOL.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > American citizens are buying more and more Chinese-made phones, just as they are in China.

    Of course they are. They're largely being dumped below cost price and helped by an artificially lowered currency.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Pirate

      They're largely being dumped below cost price and helped by an artificially lowered currency.

      I'm not completely convinced of that. But worth pointing out: there is a bit of a difference between Huawei as a phone network provider, and Huawei, Foxconn, etc. as manufacturers that build phones for the U.S. market. The biggest concern with Huawei's 5G network is similar to concerns regarding things like Tik Tok - having data and conversations for U.S. citizens routed through servers owned by Chinese companies that are OBLIGATED to cough up data for the Chinese Communist Party upon demand.

      If the U.S. government did this for U.S. companies with U.K. data, you'd be mad. [they tried demanding data from Microsoft, but Microsoft actually stood up for customers, and so has Apple in its own way]. OK so the U.S. government has occasionally TRIED this sort of thing themselves, and that's the point. Our laws and courts kept them from being able to get away with it. Under COMMUNISM, that ain't gonna work.

      I'd still like to see the phones made in the USA though. Not too far into the future, it may even happen with "lights out" factories. The only reason it doesn't happen now, is that the component and raw material supply lines have all (effectively) been "cornered" by... you guessed it... China.

      1. smudge
        FAIL

        If the U.S. government did this for U.S. companies with U.K. data, you'd be mad.

        The US PATRIOT Act - and probably its equally stupidly-named successors - did exactly that. I was working on the last Census in the UK, and know damn well the steps that had to be taken to make sure that no one from the prime contractor - Lockheed Martin - had any access to live data or systems.

        OK so the U.S. government has occasionally TRIED this sort of thing themselves, and that's the point. Our laws and courts kept them from being able to get away with it.

        No. Your laws enabled them to do this. And probably still do.

      2. Mage Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        If the U.S. government did this

        They do. And have been. It rose to fame (infamy) with Echelon. GCHQ helps the US TLAs and vice versa.

        The Chinese government is horrible. But from where I'm sitting the UK & USA are hypocrites. Also I doubt as a percentage, the Chinese State is as much interested in European and North American people, their beliefs and activities as GCHQ, the London Met and the USA TLAs.

      3. Youngone

        Nope.

        1: How would you know what the US government is up to? Your secret courts are secret.

        2: The Chinese government is not Communist. Not even close, despite the name.

        3: The "cornering" of the component and raw material supply lines was done with the active help of all the western companies who are also profiting from the situation.

        Phone manufacture is not coming back to the West, because those same companies don't want to pay reasonable wages.

        1. SundogUK Silver badge

          Re: Nope.

          "The Chinese government is not Communist. Not even close, despite the name."

          They are, however, authoritarian in the extreme.

          1. Youngone

            Re: Nope.

            True, but that's not unique to China. You should go to Thailand (for example).

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Coat

      OTH, Apple?

      Why do about x3 as many Americans as a percentage of population buy the 70% + margin walled garden early obsolete iPhones?

      Their innovation consists of making them less useful and less compatible.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OTH, Apple?

        Whilst some people buy Apple because they see it as the premium brand (for bling appeal), others buy it because it works without much hassle. Updates come through to phones that are 5 years old (automatically and usually without more than a message telling you it's been updated) and they work well straight from the box. There are some defaults that don't suit everyone but. for the person that just wants a phone/portable internet device, they just work.

        Also, Apple's walled garden (whether you like it or hate it) suits most people who don't get excited about tinkering with configs. Especially if they also have a Mac and iPad, they link up with little fuss and, for corporations, need much less support in the long run.

        One reason Linux hasn't taken over the desktop scene is the perception that you need to be a geek to use it. By existing users flaunting how easy it is to tweak to suit it to your needs sends the message that you need to tweak it to get it to suit your needs. You don't as distros like Ubuntu install and run "straight out of the box". I install it onto older laptops as loan machines with almost the default settings and even computer-phobes find them easy to use. But they wouldn't choose it themselves because of its geek-appeal.

        The market is big enough to go around and, personally, I'd vote to let Apple keep its walled garden as there are plenty of alternatives for the rest of us.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: OTH, Apple?

          The iphone is basically a high tech granny phone - it works out the box and you don't need to be a nerd, or even remotely interested in technology, to use it.

          So it meets a lot peoples' requirements.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: OTH, Apple?

            The iPhone works.

            As a company Apple is less evil than Google. (When was the last time Apple was caught War Driving and snarfing unencrypted traffic?)

            It does fit the eco system so it works seamlessly w Mac and iPad.

            Think of it this way.

            Most people want a car that just works. Then there are those who want to tinker with their car.

            Which person are you? The phone is a tool and most just want something that works.

    3. veti Silver badge

      1994 called, they want their complaint back. Neither of those things has been true for a generation.

    4. jgarbo
      Facepalm

      Below cost?

      The Chinese are so rich they can make phones and sell them at a loss? How generous.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Below cost?

        They are trying to corner the market. Eventually when they've put everybody else out of business ( that's the plan, anyway ), they'll put the prices up and make loadsamoney.

        It's the Chinese government's way.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    How long?

    Tensions between the US and China have escalated in recent years. Call it 3.5 years, we shouldn't discuss what happened then...

    1. BigSLitleP

      Re: How long?

      Well, i doubt it will escalate for four more years....

  4. LDS Silver badge

    The reason is exactly that...

    ... and the pandemic too showed we (Western countries) are too dependent on Chinese-made stuff.

    As China became less and less reliable, especially since Xi became "president for life", something his predecessors didn't attempt, actually moving back and not forward, this is a big issue.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: The reason is exactly that...

      Well, Deng was it in all but name, and he was perhaps shrewder: for all the talk of "Qi thought", it still looks very much like Deng's China.

      Moral: don't mess with the president of bridge club!

  5. James 47

    It seems the article author is unwittingly proving Trump's point. If 70% of smartphones sold in the US were made in the US would that be a bad thing?

    But hey "LoL @ tRuMp"

    1. iron Silver badge

      Well that depends, do you want to pay $5k for your next iPhone or $3k for your next Pixel?

      1. Paul 195

        I'm not convinced more expensive devices would be a bad thing. It would greatly slow down the environmentally damaging upgrade cycle, and would lead to a push to devices that are more repairable and supported with OS updates for longer.

        Let's face it, at this point the actual practical advantages of a 2020 device over one from 3 years ago are minimal.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: slow down the environmentally damaging upgrade cycle

          No, it wouldn't. It might even be deliberately shorter. There is nothing wrong with a 32 G byte iphone 4S except you can't even install the originally available apps, and it can only load MP3s via iTunes program unless a 3rd party player was ever loaded, if it was, you can copy via USB without any Apple software.

      2. DS999 Silver badge

        They wouldn't cost that, BOMs suggest the percentage of overall cost for high end smartphones attributed to assembly is much less than 10%. Even if you say it was 10%, and you say it costs 5x more to do it in the US, that only increases cost by 50%. Worst case that means the sales price increases by 50%.

        In the real world there's no way Apple/Foxconn would use the same number of people to assemble iPhones in the US that they do in China if they were forced to make them here. It would be far more automated, meaning more capital cost but much less not more labor cost. Apple already builds a robot for each model of iPhone to disassemble it for recycling. While robots to do the reverse would be more difficult to make, they are certainly not impossible.

    2. Hollerithevo

      Then let him do something about it

      If Trump have government loans or grants for factories to be tooled up in the USA, and then had other specific carrots to dangle to make sure American workers were hired, got US-made phones rolling off the conveyor belt, and then started closing off the Chinese pipelines, then there would be a choice.

      People would object to their tax dollars being used to support/prop up an industry not viable unless heavily subsidised and protected. But if Trump seriously wanted to support American manufacturers, he'd do a lot of this and stare down his enemies.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Then let him do something about it

        @Hollerithevno

        You do realise that Trump is a Republican? You're asking him to take on Democratic (socialist) policy. That, right there, is the issue with the general voting US population. You voted the idiot into office to MAGA by investing in American businesses to make them competitive in the marketplace. Yet, you want him to pump public money into financially nonviable industries?

        1. Richard Plinston

          Re: Then let him do something about it

          > Yet, you want him to pump public money into financially nonviable industries?

          Corporate Socialism is a Republican thing. They are pumping subsidies into coal, oil and fracking. The Federal Reserve has pumped 7 Trillion into corporate bonds by just printing money in the last year or two to support the stock market.

          1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: Then let him do something about it

            "Corporate Socialism is a Republican thing."

            It really isn't. ALL US politics is about capturing the treasury and regulatory levers. Whether it is the military contractors, big pharma, banks or the silicon giants.

        2. veti Silver badge

          Re: Then let him do something about it

          You're thinking of the old Republican party, as built by Reagan. That party is gone. There's no place in Trumpism for fiscal conservatism, because Trump realised - ahead of the rest of his party - that only a vanishingly tiny number of people ever cared about it.

    3. hoola Silver badge

      I am not sure that the supreme commander has twigged that the US cannot make smartphones (or pretty much anything else) for the same cost as China.

      There is a reason why so much manufacturing has gone to the Far East, cost. So unless he is assuming that workers in the US are prepared to work for the same real money as those in China it is going nowhere. He will then have to remove all the other restrictions that make it cheaper to produce in China:

      Scale, pollution the environment, energy, unions, the list goes on.

      If all you do is assemble a kit of imported parts and call it "Made in the USA" that really has not achieved much.

      I cannot see the public being prepared to pay huge amounts more for the same item just to have it produced locally.

  6. iron Silver badge

    > The adoption of 5G phones "failed to take off", he added, as "store closures and virus fears limited interaction" with demo models

    With limited 5G coverage in UK, Europe & USA, which is not about to improve soon thanks to throwing Huwawei out of various networks, I see no point in buying a 5G handset. My next phone may have 5G but it will only be because the manufacturer included it in a model that I otherwise want. Given a choice between identical 4G and 5G models I would pick the former. Why pay extra for something you can't use?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Worse, what kind of 5G will your next phone have? It appears that most new 5G phones lack UWB compatible chipsets or antennas. There are benefits to sub-6GHz 5G over LTE, but they don't become apparent until you have a critical mass of available spectrum. North America and Europe probably won't hit that point until late 2021 or 2022 after the legacy 3G networks are shuttered and their channels reallocated.

      As for the country of origin issue the article mentions, I went back through 22 years of handsets I've owned (I really should toss these things...) and found that I have ones from Mexico, Brazil, and Malaysia. Everything else is from China. Even the old Motorola analog AMPS car phone I used to have was manufactured outside of the US.

      Seems to me that maybe the US hasn't been a viable manufacturer for some time. Maybe instead of trying to fit a size 44 foot into a size 40 shoe, the US should focus on moving that manufacturing back to some of its friendly low-cost neighbors that are within its sphere on influence.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: maybe the US hasn't been a viable manufacturer for some time.

        Didn't the mighty RCA close in 1986?

        I can't think of anything I've bought in the last 30 years that was made in the USA. The USA Brands are just that, largely brands. Even a lot of the "innovation" for "Designed in the USA" is actually bought in by major companies.

        The USA is a culture fuelled marketing Behemoth. Disney, Coca-cola, Macdonald's, Levi, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Starbucks, Budweiser. A lot of the big companies run franchises, or really sell adverts. Or even do development offshore. They bank their money offshore too, sucking it out of the world economy instead of spending it. Yet for all the lack of manufacturing, that 13% of the world's population uses about 75% each of food, energy and other resources.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          uses about 75% each of food, energy and other resources.

          I say the U$A gets away with this because they were the first and only ones to use the big stick that they are carrying.

          It is a BIG country, with all the shit that comes with the law/principle of large numbers.

          It is a Big country, never was great at all. Most U$ citizens seem to not accept it, or even know it.

  7. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Comparatives

    This was on the back of a 10 per cent year-on-year spike in sales to 15 million in a total market that declined 5 per cent to 31.9 million.

    This, and the rest of the paragraph is confusing because it mixes relative growth for different scales. Far better to lead with the declining market and then highlight that not only did Apple grow market share, it also sold more devices. And, while the I-Phones are made in Shenzhen (and who knows what else gets soldered in) the value is earned in the US.

    But I think the US is increasingly an outlier here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Value is earned in Ireland

      Nah, the value is earned in Ireland.

      It's the IP tax dodge, manufacture in China, charge the Chinese subsidiary huge IP license money so it makes no profit, license your IP rights from tax haven country.

      Xi's solution? Force the license of the rights as part of the initial capital transfer. The thing corps label as "stealing our IP".

      Republican's solution? Tax amnesty on capital they move back to the USA. They'll move the capital back from the tax haven and fund growth via tax cuts.

      Republicans did their unfunded billionaire tax cut, the debt climbed, and couldn't be sold, and they had a tax amnesty, that incoming corp money would be used to buy the treasury debt since it has no other place to go. In Mnuchin's head it probably all made sense.

      "The economy is booming, buy our debt" they screamed, but the economic growth was growth in their debt!

      Corps didn't repatriate money, The Fed stepped in to buy the debt after the failed debt auctions. Treasury interest rates would have to increase to make the debt attractive otherwise, which would be a death spiral.

      Money printing presses turned up to 11!

      Then Coronavirus happened, and the incompetent response, now the Fed is in lala land and the economy is 33% fictional.

      And now we're in "look over there" distraction, blaming China.

      Mnuchin is keeping his head down, since he knows a lot of this mess is his.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Sorry El Reg, things don't always pivot quickly.

    From a purely logistics issue, it takes time to implement a massive decision to change where and how products are sourced.

    What the world learned from COVID-19 is that much of its supply chain for medical clothing and protective gear flows from Chinese plants.

    So while 3M which manufactures the N95 masks in China may want to diversify their supply chain, it will take time and investment to move from China to another location.

    Same for companies like Cisco , Apple and others which have built up manufacturing capabilities in China.

    Look at the Foxpro plant in Wisconsin near the IL boarder. Is that built yet? Look at the water usage issues, pollution issues and all of the red tape that exists in the US but doesn't exist in China... think about that for a second.

    The other issue is that China has been lax on pollution laws. So some manufacturing in China can't easily be moved to countries like the US, Canada or even Europe based on the regulations and additional cleanup that has to occur.

    So while Trump is correct and event the 5 eyes agree with the security issue... there has to be a viable alternative not built in China, along with the long overdue process of finding an alternative.

    Just something to think about. Lets look at the world in 5 years ... assuming we don't kill ourselves off before then.

    Mine's the jacket with the Guide in one pocket and a towel in the pouch in the back...

    1. thames

      Re: Sorry El Reg, things don't always pivot quickly.

      Mike the FlyingRat said: "So while 3M which manufactures the N95 masks in China may want to diversify their supply chain, it will take time and investment to move from China to another location."

      3M supplied N95 masks for the North and South American market from their factory in the US. Canada found this out when the US cut off our supplies in the spring and we had to scramble for replacements from the only country that would supply us, which was China.

      Canada was eventually able to get very limited supplies of 3M N95 masks from the US, but only by threatening to cut off the supply of critical Canadian raw materials used to make PPE (including masks).

      The US also sent government employees with suitcases of cash to China to bribe truck drivers and warehouse operators to steal Canadian and European PPE and ship it to the US. Canada had to set up its own supply chain logistics operations in China managed directly by the Canadian embassy to stop this.

      The same was repeated across a broad spectrum of medical supplies related to the pandemic.

      The premier of Canada's largest province was visibly shaken when he announced the US had cut off our medical supplies at our hour of greatest need. He said that this fundamentally changed the world we live in and it will not be forgotten.

      All of this hit the political establishment across all major parties in Canada like a thunderbolt. Nobody had been "trusting" China, but what really hit home was how we could trust the US even less.

      As a result of this manufacturing capacity has been set up in Canada to create our own supplies under our direct control. Plans are to keep this running in the post pandemic era as a critical national security resource to ensure that we don't find ourselves in the same situation again.

      This isn't just a "China" issue, as much as the American propaganda cheerleaders like to put out. Instead it's been a massive wake up call for all mid-sized countries across the world, showing how no major power can be trusted, and that you have to be prepared to rely on yourself and no one else.

      I can see the aftermath of all this hitting the IT industry eventually. Many countries will come to the realisation of how much they rely on both China and the US in this field, and of how little either can be trusted.

      Solving this by building national champions to sell proprietary technology is probably not realistic in most cases, as most national markets will be too small. Instead, I suspect answers will move towards open source software running on commodity hardware in local data centres.

      I also suspect that if the UK allow ARM to be swallowed by Nvidia, that will be the slow death knell for ARM. Nvidia will move all critical parts of ARM to the US, leaving the UK operations as an empty husk. Nobody will trust ARM any longer if both it and Intel are under US control, as the Americans will start using their total control over CPU supplies to play the same sort of power games they've been playing with everything else. As a reaction to this some other CPU will replace ARM, and ARM will be yet another UK technology that died.

      I'm not sure what the UK are going to do about this, but there have been rumblings out of Whitehall recently expressing concern about the UK losing ARM.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Boffin

        Re: Sorry El Reg, things don't always pivot quickly.

        Silly question... where do most of the world's N95 masks get manufactured? Not in the US even though its a US company. (3M)

        So when 3M can't get masks out of China... how can US ship them out?

        I suggest you take some time to look at the supply chain before being critical of the US and try to understand what has happened.

  9. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Perhaps... just perhaps... ?

    Someone sould tell Trump that he should be setting an example to the rest of his citizens and use a phone where all the hardware and software components are made in the USA. He needs to ditch that NSA approved iPhone at the very least

    What? It is not possible?

    Oh well... What goes around, comes around.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hasn't the CCP already won?

      Only Americans associate socialism with communism.

      In the rest of the Western world, socialism is a complementary choice in a democracy, and is accepted as part of capitalism.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Hasn't the CCP already won?

        @AC

        "Only Americans associate socialism with communism."

        And anyone who realises that communism is socialist

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hasn't the CCP already won?

          A brexitter who doesn't know the difference between socialism and communism. Color me shocked. Still, I thought you Brits were meant to be above believing all the commie propaganda that plagues our media.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hasn't the CCP already won?

            Sadly BREXIT has infected a good percentage of our popluation with the 'Trump Disease'.

            He said that Mexico was going to pay for that wall. Then later said that he had said no such thing.

            I call it being two faced with a straight face and therefore being able to tell the most humungous lies and deny it later IF the audience at the time wanted to hear that lie in the first place.

            Trump and some BREXITeers (esp dear nigel) have take the phrase 'playing to your audience' to new levels of silliness.

            We as a country are about to step off a cliff (31st Dec). no deal with the EU and 2nd, 3rd and 4th waves of CV-19 to contend with plus a winter. If you reach next march with a job and able to put food on the table then consider yourself lucky. I forsee the late 1920's all over again and this time there are no Jarrow marchers to capture the public.

          2. SundogUK Silver badge

            Re: Hasn't the CCP already won?

            Communism is a subset of Socialism, you cretin. The core principle both conform to is the state owning the means of production.

  11. vtcodger Silver badge

    One Possibility

    It's entirely possible that in the working lifetime of those now in the global workforce, the importance of manufacturing as we know it will shrink dramatically. Between robots that actually work, much enhanced 3-D printing and the possibility of shipping much stuff to folks as "kits" that any twelve year old can assemble, the classical "factory" may largely fade away in the next few decades. If that happens, and it could, the social and economic impacts will be dramatic. I doubt the transition will be smooth. Best fasten your seatbelts if that actually seems to be coming about.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: One Possibility

      "Between robots that actually work, much enhanced 3-D printing and the possibility of shipping much stuff to folks as "kits" that any twelve year old can assemble, the classical "factory" may largely fade away in the next few decades."

      Your first two are possible, but your last one seems unlikely to me. That would be nice, but I don't think much will be made in kit form for two reasons. First, companies like their planned obsolescence, and making it easy to assemble and probably disassemble their products isn't going to appeal to that kind of place. Second, the places that do make kits for things often don't make one any twelve year old can assemble. Instead, they make one that twelve year olds who already know how to assemble things because they have all the tools and have broken enough stuff to know how to operate them can assemble into things that still look a bit fragile. With people wanting durability and convenience, I can't see many things going that way, especially things like phones with expensive components (and dangerous ones giving the high-capacity battery) which people would like sealed for water resistance.

    2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

      Re: One Possibility

      " If that happens, and it could, the social and economic impacts will be dramatic."

      Um, I think most Western industrialised countries are well through this transition.

  12. Blackjack Silver badge

    Don't worry, be happy!

    Maybe in about a decade they will get made in India!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HTC Korean

    I was thinking HTC, samsung, and LG were all Korean. Do they use China for manufacturing?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: HTC Korean

      Samsung and LG are Korean, and they manufacture a lot of their components there, but they've been known to use Chinese assembly and even sometimes Chinese components. Should they be forced to move out of the Chinese supply chain, they're better suited for it than most. HTC is based in Taiwan. I'm not sure where all of their stuff comes from. It looks like they have manufacturing capacity for assembly in Taiwan, but that might not be all of it and I don't know where they get components. So they might not have such an easy time if China's components become unavailable.

    2. Dog Eatdog

      Re: HTC Korean

      Samsung assembles its phones in Vietnam, but I don't know where the parts are sourced from.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Backdoors with System level permissions

    The problem with many of these cheap Androids is that they have backdoors which allow apps to be installed remotely with SYSTEM level permissions:

    https://wuffs.org/blog/digitime-tech-fota-backdoors

    And TCL/Alcatel, which can be found everywhere, like at your grocer, Walmart or drug store, has been found to be behind most of the malicious spyware apps found in the wild and on the Google Play store with ties to the Chinese State.

    https://www.gadgetguy.com.au/tcl-and-alcatel-direct-links-to-massive-spyware-operation/

    (But then the US has Google and Facebook so....)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thoughts for the 47000000 unemployed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      47.000.000

      or

      47,000,000

      OR

      47 000 000

      not putting your post down, I just upvoted it, I just wanted to show of my newly learned scientific notation of large numbers, lol

  16. dncnvncd

    Sinophobia or Chicomophobia?

    First, the China of today that gave COVID-19 to the world after the Chinese cornered 86% of the world's medicine production is not the China that would be as sold to the American people by Nixon-Kissinger-Bush-Reagan etal. Trump at least was smart enough to see what China intends after seeing China 2025. To that end, America is starting to mine their own rare earth minerals for the first time in half a century. It is rare Earth minerals that makes the magnets that makes cell phones work. On the business side, if anyone wants to sell in China, they must produce in China. So, if one is building a factory in China with a mandatory Chinese partner, then it just makes economic sense to build for both domestic and export markets. If China is the only place any goods are produced, it's a foregone conclusion that Americans will buy more of China's products. But not willingly. My discard tool bin will attest to that.

  17. mhenriday
    Boffin

    «Made in China» is a misnomer,

    «Assembled in China» would be more accurate. The difference between the two concepts is significant, as shown by, e g, this article from 2018 which discloses how much of the income generated by the sale of an iPhone 7 goes to the respective countries participating in its production. China earned just 8.46 USD for the work done in that country, whereas the US and Japan each earned 68 USD, with both Taiwan and South Korea earning more than China. The situation has hardly changed sinced then - the vagaries of a global supply chain....

    Henri

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