Share

UK computing charity opts to manufacture product abroad

UK computing charity opts to manufacture product abroad
News

UK computing charity opts to manufacture product abroad4

Finance | Kirsty Weakley | 19 Jan 2012

Production of a cheap educational computer by UK charity the Raspberry Pi Foundation is underway, but the first batch is to be produced in China to save money.

Eben Upton, founder of the project, said that it if the charity had chosen to manufacture in the UK, as it had originally hoped, the project would have cost more and taken longer.

He said that by manufacturing in China, the charity would make a few pounds profit on each unit which could then be reinvested in the charity's research and development activities, but if it had selected a UK manufacturer the charity would struggle to break even.

Upton is confident that the Chinese manufacturer has adequate workplace conditions. He did not name the manufacturer, but said: “For various reasons we are aware that they are a good employer, but that was not formally part of our assessment.”

Another factor is that it is cheaper to manufacture the product abroad and then import the finished product rather than import the necessary components to build the product in the UK because British companies have to pay import duty on individual components but not on the finished product.

Timescale was another important factor for Raspberry Pi and it could not find a UK manufacturer that could produce the computer in less than 12 weeks, compared to China where the manufacturers can do it in four weeks.

Upton started looking at ways to produce a cheap computer about five years ago when working as a computer science lecturer after realising that computing and IT students had less experience of programming since home PCs had become more sophisticated.

The Raspberry Pi PC is credit card sized and plugs into a TV screen and keyboard and at £16, or £22 for a model with the ability to connect to the internet. Upton hopes children will be able to afford one and use it to learn about programming and code.

Following last week’s announcement by education minister Micahael Gove that IT education in England and Wales is to be overhauled, Upton also hopes that schools might be interested in buying the devices.

The first batch of 10,000 computers should be on sale in February.

 

Don Macdonald
IT Training Partners
13 Mar 2012

I suppose we could do like the Chinese and copy the design of the hardware and assemble it here;

Nick McCloud
Head Boffin
descartes
7 Feb 2012

"UK students lag behind in ICT due to costly hardware sourcing decisions"

Kits would increase the cost, making it here would increase the cost - thereby defeating the object of the exercise - which do we need more, thousands of better skilled students or a short production run for a handful of UK workers.

Speaking as a UK based electronics manufacturer

Jeremy Barker
Specialist Adviser
Scunthorpe CAB
20 Jan 2012

While in many ways I applaude what the people behind Raspberry Pi are trying to do which relies on "open source" software it would have been far better if they also made the hardware "open source" so that anyone who wanted to could manufacture it.

Their comments about the cost and delay in UK sourcing are a sad indictment of the state of the UK electronics industry.

Geoff Baker
Executive Director
Aid-4-Africa
19 Jan 2012

This is in my opinion a total scandal and a sell out to China. With unemployment at it's highest for almost 18 years in the UK it's time to think of all those who need work - and certainly a UK charity should not be supporting Chinese employees.

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Tags

Free eNews

Smart wristbands aim to increase charity giving

20 Aug 2014

A new wristband that will enable people to make faster donations with just a tap of a smartphone, is...

Pallotta plans three-day march in US to scale up Charity Defense Council

19 Aug 2014

Dan Pallotta, the US fundraiser and charity sector activist, is organising a three-day march in the States...

Saxton proposes scheme for charities to claim gift aid on lottery tickets

19 Aug 2014

The research consultancy nfpSynergy has proposed a way for charities to claim gift aid on society lotteries...

Big Society Network parent charity applies to wind itself up

20 Aug 2014

Society Network Foundation, the charitable parent of Big Society Network, has applied to Companies House...

ShelterBox founder charged with fraud

20 Aug 2014

The founder and former chief executive of aid charity ShelterBox has been charged with three counts of...

Pallotta plans three-day march in US to scale up Charity Defense Council

19 Aug 2014

Dan Pallotta, the US fundraiser and charity sector activist, is organising a three-day march in the States...

Smart wristbands aim to increase charity giving

20 Aug 2014

A new wristband that will enable people to make faster donations with just a tap of a smartphone, is...

National Trust to develop new website in £2m digital upgrade

15 Aug 2014

The National Trust has budgeted £2m to update its digital services, including a new website and mobile...

RNLI to accept digital currency donations

1 Aug 2014

RNLI has become the first major UK charity to accept donations in the digital currency, Bitcoin, in a...

Join the discussion

 Twitter button

@CSFinance