The site notes Chinese manufacturer Tianyuan Garments, which makes goods for companies like Armani and Adidas, is setting up a 100,000 square foot factory in Little Rock, Arkansas. This $20 million factory will be equipped with 21 robotic production lines from SoftWear Automation and will be able of pumping out 1.2 million t-shirts a year.
Tang Xinhong, chairman of Tianyuan Garments, reveals these new high-tech sewing machines put the labor cost of US-made t-shirts about on par with those made in Bangladesh:
Normally, manufacturing in the US would be much more expensive than producing in China because of the higher labor costs. But Tang Xinhong, chairman of Tianyuan Garments, told World Textile Information Network (paywall) that, in a completely automated production line, the cost of human labor works out to about $0.33 per shirt. For context, to produce something like a denim shirt in Bangladesh, you might pay about $0.22 in labor costs, according to an estimate from the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights. That same labor would be $7.47 in the US, putting the labor cost for Tianyuan Garments’ American-made shirt about on par with one of the cheapest labor markets in the world.