Apple has asked its suppliers to study the possibility of transferring between 15 and 30 percent of its production capacity from China to Southeast Asian countries and Mexico.
Several knowledgeable sources of these plans told Nikkei News that this effort is driven in part by trade tensions between the United States and China.
But according to the newspaper, even when that commercial war is over, Apple will continue with these attempts as part of its efforts to diversify its network of suppliers and production.
One of the sources attributed the initiative to “higher labor costs and the risk of excessive centralization” of its network of suppliers for the manufacture of iPhone phones, laptops, iPad tablets, and other products.
More than 90 percent of the products that Apple sells are assembled in China. Last year, the company’s suppliers in China and Hong Kong surpassed those of the United States for the first time (41 versus 37).
The alternative countries that are being considered include Mexico, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia. India and Vietnam are among the favorites for diversification in the manufacture of iPhone phones, according to Nikkei.
About five million Chinese depend on Apple’s presence in that country and its network of suppliers. The company has about 10,000 employees in China.
The studies are looking for long-term alternatives and the results will not appear for another two or three years, the executive of one of Apple’s suppliers told the Japanese newspaper.