Here's something you don't hear very often: Lenovo, the Chinese computer manufacturer has announced it will open a production line in the US where it will build some of its signature Think-brand notebook and desktop systems. The company is starting small, plunking down $2 million to expand its existing order fulfillment and distribution center in Guilford County, and expects to employ 115 workers once the manufacturing facility opens next year.
Although the vast majority of its machines will likely continue to be built at their plants in China and Mexico, the new facility is reportedly intended to satisfy stateside customers who "demand for flexible supplies and product customization." An added benefit will be to raise Lenovo's profile in the U.S., where it ranks fourth in market share by shipment. But Lenovo says the effort will be the start of something bigger, rather than a one-time made-in-America publicity effort.
Lenovo North America President David Schmoock said that "having a facility here in a home country is a differentiator that people will value." He also likened the move to environmentally-friendly standards, telling the Wall Street Journal that "being green is not necessarily the lowest-cost option for a lot of companies, but you do it because your customers and partners value you being green."
American rivals including HP, Dell and Apple no longer produce any machines in the United States.
Google also dabbled with US-manufacturing recently, announcing plans to build its Nexus Q streaming media player in San Jose, California. Those plans were short-lived, however, as the project was put on indefinite hold before the device's commercial launch in order to "work on making it even better."