×

Apple needs to make more products in the US, former AOL president says

Apple may be renowned for its attention to detail, but there's something major missing from its process: American workers, former AOL president Ted Leonsis said.

"While they are a global company and selling their products and services everywhere, they need to celebrate American craftsmanship," Leonsis told CNBC's "Fast Money: Halftime Report." "They need to make more things here in the United States," he said.

The iPhone maker boasts that its products are "designed in California," but has been dinged for its treatment of Chinese factory workers. Apple has been under pressure from president Donald Trump, who campaigned on the platform of making Apple build plants in the U.S.

Ted Leonsis
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Ted Leonsis

Leonsis is co-founder of start-up investment firm Revolution Growth, which has invested in Shinola, a high-end watchmaker with a factory in Detroit.

"We've been hiring laid-off auto workers and people out of high school, and training them to manufacture and be makers...it's the right thing to do. I think the American buying public will gravitate toward products that are made here in America," Leonsis said.

To be sure, Apple has made strides to improve its global workforce, reforming its practices abroad and assembling the Mac Pro in the U.S. Apple also pays millions to app developers, many of whom are in the U.S., and supplier Foxconn is eyeing a U.S. expansion.

"The most valuable company in the world is Apple," Leonsis said. "It's hard and it's expensive, but it they're certainly a very profitable company."