This week, Avram Piltch discusses the impending impact of the trade war between the United States and China. The US imposed a 10% tariff on imports from China a while back, but a new and stronger tariff system is going into place now. The new tariffs will be 25% on billions of dollars worth of products, and will almost immediately be felt by consumers.
These new tariffs were felt in full force during Computex 2019. While it is not unusual to hear a company say that they aren't sure what the price point is going to be for a new product, this year the responses were different. Many companies said that they had a target retail price for their products, but that they weren't sure what the actual price was going to be, because they couldn't entirely predict how these taxes were going to affect the prices in the end.
Manufacturers are already beginning to look for ways to prevent these new tariffs. MSI CEO Charles Chiang spoke with Avram during Computex, explaining their plans. They and other larger manufacturers are beginning to look for new countries to manufacture their product in, such as Taiwan and Vietnam. While this would eventually represent cost savings, it is not inexpensive to move a manufacturing line, meaning that costs will still go up in the short term, but hopefully, less than they would with the tariffs. Not everyone can do this, though, so smaller brands might see big challenges in the upcoming months.
Another challenge to moving manufacturing to another country is infrastructure. Countries like Taiwan have a total population less than that of Shenzhen, the province of China where most manufacturing occurs. Add to that the need for roads, shipping, electricity, water, and more, and it creates hurdles that are not surmountable in the short term. The country could ramp up for production eventually, but it won't be able to handle a large influx in the next quarter.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.