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Why the U.S. trails China in phone manufacturing


A smartphone. It’s the most commonly used device by Americans every day, but domestic tech companies don’t seem to be investing in making these devices at home.

China is the faraway leader in global manufacturing. In a report published by the United Nations, the country accounted for 30.5% of global manufacturing output in 2021, with the U.S. second at 16.8% and Japan a distant third, at only 7%. 

Apple is so heavily reliant on China that in 2019 news was leaked on social media that the iPhone maker was United Airlines’ biggest customer, with the company purchasing 50 business-class seats daily from San Francisco to Shanghai. 

While many tech companies have opted to manufacture products abroad, one U.S.-based company is defying conventional wisdom and building local.

The startup is called Purism, and it was founded in 2014 by Todd Weaver. In its early days, Purism was supported through crowdfunding initiatives. Now, the company has expanded to make electronics like smartphones. Purism makes the Librem 5 USA model phone, which is the only smartphone in the world with the “Made in USA” stamp. 

Watch the video to learn more about why the U.S. trails China in phone manufacturing.

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