The future of tech: Designed abroad, made in U.S.?

Summary:For China's Lenovo, a twist on Apple's "Designed in California" formula.

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Apple famously designs its products in its home state of California but manufactures and assembles them in China.

The company has declared publicly its desire to bring manufacturing back to the U.S., but for now, the numbers don't add up.

That's not the case for China's Lenovo, the No. 1 computer maker in the world, which has opened a manufacturing facility in North Carolina. 

Bloomberg TV recently stopped by to take a tour. In a video, here's a look at what's going on there.

The benefit for such a facility? Shortening the supply chain. Components are imported but products (primarily laptops, though servers and tablets are on deck) are assembled closer to their customers. Labor costs are higher, but clearly the time-to-market savings makes the multi-million-dollar investment worthwhile.

If the story sounds familiar, it's because we've seen the same thing in the U.S. auto industry. For years, American companies such as General Motors made their vehicles across the border in Mexico at the same time that Asian automakers like Japan's Nissan and Korea's Hyundai opened plants in Tennessee and Alabama, respectively.

This dynamic has been repeated by nearly every global industry. In technology, the outsourcing trend often comes full circle, with suppliers turning into outright competitors. One famous example? Lenovo.

Topics: Tech Industry

About

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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