By Khurram Aziz | Dec 07, 2012 10:19 AM EST
Apple's CEO Tim Cook has promised to shift production of some portion of its Mac computer line away from China and back to the U.S.
The company plans to spend more than $100 million shifting production to the US next year, said Cook in an interview with BusinessWeek. That stands in contrast to the billions of dollars it invested in its Asian supply chain over the past year in the run up to the launch of an updated range of iPhones, iPads and Mac computers.
"Next year we are going to bring some production to the US on the Mac. We've been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013," Cook told BusinessWeek.
"This doesn't mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we'll be working with people and we'll be investing our money," he added.
In a separate interview aired on NBC, Cook elaborated that the decision is not so much about price, it's about the skills.
"Over time, there are skills that are associated with manufacturing that have left the US. Not necessarily people, but the education system stopped producing them," said Cook, in a transcript of the NBC intervied posted on the LA Times.
"The consumer electronics world was really never here. It's a matter of starting it here."
Some analysts have said the move could help Apple better protect its intellectual property, which has been the subject of countless lawsuits around the world.
"Apple is taking steps to control the last pieces of the value chain it participates in," Asymco mobile industry analyst Horace Dediu told the Financial Times.
"It's a baby step and perhaps it's going to remain symbolic, but one can imagine a trajectory for this effort which will pay off, as well as retail has paid off 10 years after the first Apple store opened."
Until the late 1990s, Apple made and assembled many products in the U.S. before moving manufacturing to Asia to take advantage of the region's lower labor costs.
Its major manufacturing partner in China is Foxconn, which puts together Apple's iPhone and iPads.
However, the company has been mired in controversy, with accusations of poor working conditions and suicides at its facility in Taiyuan.
In October, Foxconn workers went on strike over the strict quality standards for the iPhone 5 placing pressure on working conditions. As a result, the factory had to scale back production for Apple's flagship smartphone.
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