I think scale of economy doesn’t affect much for the HDD’s. There may be too many processes for each unit to manufacture that require human involvement. But HDD prices have steadily fallen from like US$1000 to US$500 and to US$200 and now to under US$100. Also, yes, the HDD’s have been manufactured already in the “cheaper” countries like Thailand and Malaysia for more than a decade.
You know, when people buy Intel processors, much of the money go to Intel’s shareholders, especially with the Pentium 4 processors running at premium clocks. There is much room for price competitions but Intel does not allow it because it takes too much, usually billions of dollars, to make one fabrication plant and even though a few companies like Samsung and Mitsubishi are rich enough for such fabs to build, they lack the technological experiences and Intel-like culture. So far, only US companies have been good at leading the non-memory semiconductor industry, like HP, Cray Research, IBM, Intel, AMD, National Semiconductor, Sun Microsystems, etc. One of Samsung’s worst failures was the Alpha processors in the 1990s.