Product Stewardship Targets a Swarm

What is being said about export for repair?
"It's a loophole for e-waste exports."
"What about after the computer stops working over there? Then the ewaste hits the ground."
"Producers of electronics should take back their old stuff."

Ok, let's see what companies were involved in making a computer. Typically:

1) Intel made the chip and the board.
2) Guangzhou Steel Molding Company might have made the case.
3) Seagate in Singapore made this hard drive.
4) The power supply is made, assembled, designed, etc. by about 5 different companies.
5) The operating system is made by Microsoft.
6) The programs are made by Intuit, Adobe, Sun, etc.
7) The power cords and cables are made by one of a 98 company consortium in Ningbo, China.
8) The CRT may have been made by Samsung, Trinitron, Asahi...
9) The monitor tuner board may have been made by Proview.
10) The components could have been assembled by BenQ or Wistron or any of a hundred other contract manufacturers.
11) Audiotrak may have made the sound card
12) Foxcon or one of a couple dozen others may have made the video card.

Notice the absence of a major brand, such as HP or Dell or Gateway from the list above? Acer was a board manufacturer in Taiwan (like Proview) that, being Taiwanese-Chinese, developed assembly companies (#10, both BenQ and Wistron are Acer companies) and began to manufacture their own products... Rather suddenly, the assemblers of Acer realized that there was no "man behind the curtain" of the brand on the front. The entire computer was a Frankenstein of parts from independent companies.

Acer said, "Heck, I could do that." In no time, Acer became number 2 worldwide in sales of PCs. Lenovo bought the name of IBM's thinkpad, like a twenty-something taking the title and keys to dad's car, without a fight.

Now, notice that the fewer companies are involved in manufacture, the more press is played to the export of the item for refurbishment. No one makes noise about power supplies and cables, but hard drives and software? Very noisy.

The more a producer is trying to protect their market, the more engaged they are in legislation to protect that market, and the more they are participating in the export dialogue. Just noticing.

If I had a band, I'd consider the name, or at least a song title, called "Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain!!!"

Now, back to the beginning of this post, about export for repair. Thought I'd wandered off? Guess who owns the "Big Secret Factories"?

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