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  • Kyle Chua

Apple Looking To Move Production of Some Products From China to Vietnam

Apple could be making some major changes to its manufacturing operations as it looks to shift some of the load from China to Vietnam.

Apple CEO Tim Cook in a visit of Foxconn factory in China. Credit: Bloomberg

According to Nikkei Asia, the Cupertino tech giant is already in talks with its Vietnam suppliers, Luxshare Precision Industry and Foxconn, about building more products in the Southeast Asian country. Test productions of the Apple Watch have reportedly already started in the company’s plant in northern Vietnam, with the MacBook said to be next in line.

Vietnam, as the report notes, is currently one of Apple’s most important manufacturing hubs outside China, producing iPad tablets and AirPods, which are flagship products of the company.

Experts, however, claim the manufacturing process of the Apple Watch is way more complex compared to the products Vietnam is already building for Apple, requiring more technological skill. Then again, the move could be a good way for the country to flex its manufacturing capabilities as it continues to attract investments from global tech brands in this sector.

Apple's Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China. Credit: AFP

Xiaomi, for example, in July shipped its first batch of smartphones manufactured in its new Vietnam plant. The Chinese company views the facility as a key asset in its goal of expanding its foothold in Southeast Asia. Intel, LG and Samsung also have plants in the country, with the likes of Google, Dell and Amazon already planning to set up shop. And the goal of all of these companies seems to line up – diversify manufacturing operations outside of China.

Apple’s shift is particularly noteworthy though because the company has largely relied on its Chinese suppliers for its manufacturing needs for decades. But the supply chain disruptions brought about by the pandemic, China's tight lockdown measures and the country’s ongoing trade war with the U.S. likely led to Apple considering other options.

Apple started looking to Vietnam for its production needs starting in 2020 with the launch of the AirPods. The shift at that time was said to be due to the trade war.

  • Apple could be making some major changes to its manufacturing operations as it looks to shift some of the load from China to Vietnam.

  • The Cupertino tech giant already wants the Southeast Asian country to build more of its flagship products, including the Apple Watch and MacBook.

  • The shift was likely driven by a combination of factors like the supply chain disruptions brought about by the pandemic and the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China.

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