Over the years, companies have wanted to cut costs and increase profits. This lead to a mass-exodus of American companies to cheaper countries – mostly China.
Chances are, you have one of these famous brands in your home. The ads might claim apple pie and bald eagles, but the manufacturing tag says otherwise.
The green company that’s famous for its electric cars (that now have auto-drive, by the way) has its headquarters in the US.
However, Elon Musk moved some of the production to Shanghai. The result is a 50/50 mix with the US have being in Fremont California.
The swoosh logo is synonymous with American sports. Eugene Oregon started things with a base of operations in Beaverton County, Oregon.
It was among some of the big brands to first move to China as it grew more open to foreign business. Now, they are dealing with sweatshops and forced labor.
It should be no surprise another shoe brand is on this list. After all, the Massachusetts company sold everything to Nike in 2003.
And we all know what happened after that. It’s quite common to see impressive rip-offs in many street markets in both China and Indonesia.
Not every flavor is loved around the world.
China bought Lays so they could make their own tastes that appealed to their market. Some notable ones are cucumber, seaweed, and grilled squid. You can get some of the odd flavors in the States, but it’s tricky.
Vacuums are one of those things that people prefer to invest in. They want quality and power.
That’s what the Charlotte-based Royal Appliance brand in North Carolina aimed for. It was bought by the Chinese manufacturer, TTI, in 2013. It’s up for debate if the quality still remains. But the high price tag is certainly still there.
Bought by China’s WH Group six years ago for $4.7 billion, Smithfield Foods now sends meat to China, which produced half the world’s pork before swine fever decimated the industry.
Pigs trucked to the plant have been slaughtered and sliced into thirds for shipment to China, where Chinese workers process the carcasses further.
And i-pads too. Even though the HQ is in California, the entire manufacturing line was sent to China in 2004 to cut costs and increase profits.
Even if future trading and economics force Apple to move to another country, it will be some place cheaper and not relocated back in the US.
Anyone who wanted to rough it or get back to nature knew that this Freeport, Maine brand was the go-to.
Now, only 425 out of 5000 of their products are made in America – that’s less than 10%. The rest is made overseas. Even though they don’t say it’s 100%, the ads certainly try to convince buyers that it is.
This one is so strange. The company faced backlash after they said they would change their operations by 1. Raising the pigs in the States 2. Shipping them to China for slaughter and packaging 3. Shipped back to the US.
The fury and windfall didn’t phase stockholders, who just sold it outright.
These were flying off the shelves at one point – another toy in a long line of “must-haves.”
But even though the name makes people think of red, white, and blue, Mattel would rather see more green. Everything is made in China like the rest of their toys. This includes the clothing sets. Want American? Sew your own.
Green Giant vegetables are sourced from many countries including China.
A shopper posted her examination of frozen vegetables she purchased and wrote: “The first package was Birdseye Mixed Vegetables: Carrots, broccoli, baby potatoes, baby cob corn, and red diced bell peppers. It said ‘Product of U.S.A., Mexico, and Vietnam’.
UBER wanted so desperately to stay independent.
But when you’re working against a multi-billion-dollar Chinese, government-controlled taxi company (Didi) that is determined to put you out of business, there’s not much chance of survival. The ended up selling to avoid losing over 1 billion a year.
“Made in Boston” – at least that’s what the big campaign ads say.
What most people don’t know is that it’s not 100% accurate. Some of the parts are made in the US. Others are outsourced to China, Mexico, and Poland – particularly the handles and batteries.
Even if you don’t have kids, you’ll know the uber-famous toy brand. they are subject to Chinese manufacturing like the rest of the umbrella holder, Mattel.
Things went south fast when there were mass recalls over many years because cheap materials contained dangerous amounts of lead. They’re now scrambling to regain public trust.
Nothing says rough and rowdy America like a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
The Milwaukee, Wisconsin, brand has been around since 1903 and evoked clubs that embrace free living. Even though the plants are in the US, most of the electrical parts are … you guess it. MiC =Made in China.
It will be hard to find a house that doesn’t have a Barbie, or some rip-off of one.
They’re classic, iconic, and ever evolving. Instead of fashion models girls and boys can play with doctors and scientists. But they were never American. The factories started in Japan then moved to other countries.
If you remember Sears (or still happen to have one by some miracle), you’ll know this line of hardware tools and lawn equipment.
But in 2017 they were bought by Black and Decker (and logical purchase). But this meant that the manufacturing got moved outside of the US.
CK brand was born in New York in 1968. The young designer took a chance and spent $10,000 to open his first store in a NY hotel.
From there it exploded into provocative underwear ads and famous jeans. Now, although the leather parts come from Italy, the rest of it is outsourced.
Although Smithfield’s website says: “Smithfield has not, does not, and will not import any products from China to the United States. No Smithfield products come from animals raised, processed, or packaged in China. All our U.S. products are made in one of our nearly 50 facilities across America,” the statement is a bit of a loophole.
While their pigs are not raised in China, the carcasses are shipped there to be processed before returning to the US.
The durable jeans that are in the heart of Levi’s line are a bit of a mishmash in construction.
A few designs are made exclusively in the States – because the denim is sourced in North Carolina. But many other items (like shoes and other clothes) are made in Mexico, Vietnam, China, etc.
Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, the toys certainly will.
Think of those wooden playthings that seem out of the 50s or 60s, bright puzzles, early learning toys, and those food sets that allowed kids to play at grocery shopping. M&D got into trouble when their Chinese factories were caught using excess barium in their paints.
These sunglasses are not only one of the most recognizable names in the field, but their design is also known throughout the world.
Bausch + Lomb sold the brand to an Italian company, who in turn, produces some of them in China. If you want American, you’ll have to get the vintage ones.
This one wasn’t even American to begin with. The Nike competitor resides in Germany but has very firm grip on the Us sports market.
There are workshops all over the world – including Cambodia, Pakistan, Korea, Japan, and India (and many more). About 30% of the factories are spread across China.
Although the well-known athletic shoe brand claims to be an American company, the shoes are actually made overseas.
New Balance materials are mostly sourced from overseas, including their outer soles, which are manufactured in China. However, the shoes are labeled “made in the USA”. Sneaky!
Motorola began as an American company owned by Google, but that was to change in 2014. That year, Lenovo, a Chinese smartphone producer, bought the company.
While Motorola’s headquarters are at least still in Midwestern America (Chicago, Illinois), like so many other products, their manufacturing takes place in Chinese factories.
Segway, the futuristic-looking self-balancing electric scooter, was first released in 2002. Segway is still based in New Hampshire but unfortunately struggled in the American market.
Because of the struggles, the company was passed through several owners until it was sold in 2015 to Ninebot, a Shanghai-based tech company that produces short-distance motorized transport devices.
Oakley sunglasses contain a “Made in the USA” label, but the brand has created some controversy about where their goods are actually manufactured.
Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Oakley was bought by Luxottica in 2007, which moved some of their production to a Chinese factory.
Spotify allows users access to millions of songs and albums as well as customized channels to suit individual tastes — all within the comfort of their own smartphone.
But in 2013, Tech Crunch noted that the music platform announced a share swap with China-based company, Tencent Music Entertainment. This means that Spotify is now partially owned by China.
Forbes Media has had a tremendous influence on its American viewers through its digital media, print, and television outlets. The media giant reportedly reaches 75 million people each month.
Forbes was sold to a Hong Kong investment group (Integrated Whale Media) in 2014, though their headquarters are still in New York and Steve Forbes remains the editor-in-chief.