Apple CEO Tim Cook says his company will spend $US100 million next year bringing some manufacturing jobs home to the US.
“Next year, we will do one of our existing Mac lines in the United States,” Mr Cook said in an interview to be broadcast today NZ time on US network NBC (which has placed a preview on its website).
“I don’t think we have a responsibility to create a certain kind of job. But I think we do have a responsibility to create jobs.”
California-based Apple employs 73,000 directly, but partners - mostly in China - who make its products employ hundreds of thousands more.
President Barack Obama made headlines last year when he asked the late Steve Jobs what stopped the iPhone being made in the US.
During the second presidential debate, the President Obama appeared to have come around to Mr Jobs way of thinking. Apple in the US handles high-end roles like design and marketing (and of rakes in big profits that make it the world's most valuable company).
Meanwhile, Foxconn - almost by definition a low-profit company given it has to compete for Apple's business on price - eeks out a living at the bottom of the food chain.
On September 25, Foxconn was forced to temporally close a giant plant outside Beijing after thousands rioted, allegedly after security guards beat workers. The company has pledged to drastically scale back working hours and raise wages.
Asked by the iPhone, iPad and Macs are made in China, the president replied, "There are some jobs that are not going to come back. Because they are low wage, low skill jobs."
Now, some of them are.
For Apple, it could make political if not economic sense.
Investors seemed unfazed, perhaps because the new initiative accounts for only a token amount of Apple's total manufacturing.
Apple shares [NAS:AAPL] were up 0.89% to $US543.58 in late trading.
The stock has fallen around 20% since hitting an all-time high of $US7.05.03 in September.