Why Are Apple Products Made in China?

"Nightline's" Bill Weir reports: Foxconn offers huge operations and low wages.
5:30 | 02/23/12

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Transcript for Why Are Apple Products Made in China?
Last night we devoted our entire program to my co anchor bill -- exclusive report. About the factors in China -- apple manufactures most of their products sold here in this country. For the record our parent company Disney and apple have strong ties are CEO sits on their board and the Steve Jobs trust is the largest individual shareholder. Of Disney stock but we agree to go forward only if we could do so independently. Well tonight we continue -- tour of the ice factory is he asked a controversial question. Why does apple manufacture these products in China instead. Of the United States. The chairman and it's also start. The -- through schools. Did you touch screens all the more comfortable since the company that makes -- has been shrouded in tantalizing secrecy. Until now. This is the first time anyone has ever been able to record the manufacturing process of the iPad and the -- -- And it is staggering. To understand why these machines are made here in -- and not in the U us. The first and most obvious reason is the sheer scale. -- -- the company that makes most of Apple's products is not just a factory. It is a manufacturing city. The population the size of Scottsdale Arizona us and it's it's in the middle of Shenzhen a manufacturing. Metropolis. With a population well above New York city's. And these masses soldiers work. So this is home they live here. Bulking up in dorm -- was seven strangers. Or to imagine the average American employee going to these links -- to be close to the factory floor. Their work ethic is also supercharged but the fact most like jogging. Are providing for distant family sometimes entire villages. She -- -- saving Stewart cute kids and parents and gets back to see them about once a month. What are you thinking about all your work a lot of times I think about how tired I am she tells me and I think about resting. But it beats the garment factory jobs she had before and by making just over two dollars an hour. She is the envy of the thousands of applicants who line at the recruiting center each morning. -- all. -- and more -- is effective Foxconn will hire almost all of the today. And have them working on a line in three days and if they need a hundred manufacturing engineers to supervise them they can hire them just as fast. A year ago this month Steve Jobs complained to President Obama. He would never find -- engineers and American runs some lines but over here apple could wrap -- -- the product assembly without missing a beat. It's easy to -- -- on the staggering difference in wages a new Foxconn worker. We'll make a dollar 78 an hour while the average American assembling electronics. Pulls down 23 dollars an -- But cheap labor is just one piece. What makes it even harder to compete is that as a nation China has built the greatest manufacturing ecosystem. The world has ever seen. Once they decided that they would feed their masses by building our stuff. The Chinese Government spent billions. Building factories. Moving workers and yes educating the kind of engineers can run this line. But here's the twist. Inside the most gee -- top secret factory at Foxconn. The most expensive machines in here are made in America. Like this and and they are replacing Chinese workers. On this line you only need for skilled employees instead of 4400. Unskilled. And they -- to study hard and keep moving up the value change as automation replaces -- groups. And once they get more skills chances are they'll realize. They have a lot more power what would happen. If for example the people we saw on the -- line this morning. Got together at lunch and said we have some demands. What what what would happen to them well so far we haven't seen the massive one. While labor union organizer by individuals thought I do see hope in all labor union becoming. More powerful. And more at the Houston open labor rights him but he's not here yet. Years ago Henry Ford dreamed of meeting entire state to do his product. These days fox gutsy coach Harry woe is the modern Henry -- -- who started making plastic knobs and now makes iphones apple. But here's a big difference Ford hoped to pay his workers enough to buy the products they built. We'll -- all Lucci -- is reportedly fond of saying hungry people have especially clear mines. Most of his workers can imagine ever owning the product they build have you ever actually use an iPhone. No she says but we admire the people who have them. Sorry I didn't mean to be showing off when I pulled out alive but I love it and if you -- thank you weren't sure to fox -- seems to prove that the world as it is. We continue to be the country that lines up to make phones. We could be the country that lives up to five. Students and solicited. -- -- --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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