iPads Pricier Thanks to Chinese Wage Increases

Cheap electronics or better-paid Chinese workers: which will the American consumer prefer?

A wage increase for the Chinese factory workers producing the high-tech gadgets that drive Americans wild will make those same devices a little pricier, according to reports.

But could it also spell jobs for American workers, as companies seek cheaper-than-China locales to have their digital geegaws manufactured?

Some 21 of China's 31 provinces bumped up the minimum wage, meaning employees at Foxconn Corporation's factories -- where most of Apple's products are made, but where much, much more than iPhones and iPads are made as well -- now earn about $400 a month, according to the San Jose Mercury News. That's still far less than the $2,200 a month an American worker making the pricey devices can make, but enough to get companies to rethink their game plans, according to the newspaper.

The price of imports from China increased 3.6 percent in 2011, according to the newspaper. Experts said this trend is for the long term and "will continue," according to the newspaper.

Companies like Apple, which have a high profit margin on their products, can afford to absorb the cost without passing it onto their customers, experts said. But will they? What would Steve have done?

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