Rob Marvin is PCMag's Associate Features Editor. He writes features, news, and trend stories on all manner of emerging technologies. Beats include: startups, business and venture capital, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, AI, augmented and virtual reality, IoT and automation, legal cannabis tech, social media, streaming, security, mobile commerce, M... See Full Bio
Any supply shortage and price increases could worsen further as Trump looks to impose up to $50 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports. That plan was in response to U.S. concerns over China stealing foreign companies' technology or forcing those companies to share their innovations in order to get access to Chinese customers. China has countered the anticipated tariffs by announcing $3 billion of additional tariffs on U.S. pork, apples and other products.
CHINESE FACTORIES: Surveys by China's government and a major business magazine showed activity weakened in December as global and domestic demand cooled. Forecasters said that could send shockwaves through Asian economies that supply Chinese factories with raw materials and components. Chinese export growth has held up as producers rushed to fill orders before possible new U.S. tariff hikes in Washington's trade battle with Beijing, but forecasters said that effect may be fading.
Labor violations are an all too common reality in technology manufacturing, and Amazon just made that patently clear. In the wake of a joint exposé between China Labor Watch and the Guardian, Amazon has acknowledged that a Foxconn factory in Hengyang, China has been violating labor laws while making Echo speakers and Kindle e-readers. A March audit revealed that over 40 percent of staff were low-cost agency workers (who don't get holiday or sick pay and can be laid off without wages), or well over the 10 percent allowed in China. Moreover, employees who worked overtime were paid at their regular rate, rather than the time-and-a-half demanded by both Chinese laws and Amazon itself. On top of this, Hengyang workers were paid considerably less than those at other Foxconn factories.
You might want to put your beer down for this. A small factory in China was found making counterfeit cans of Budweiser beer. It was raided by authorities in Dongguan, a city in Guangzhou, south China, early this month. Footage from the factory has emerged since, and has started going viral. It's not hard to see why; in the clips, workers dunk used cans into a tub of beer with their bare hands to fill them up: According to local reports, the factory was churning out 600,000 cartons of fake beer a month, although it hasn't been specified how long it was operating.