Apple manufacturing in Vietnam is set to expand, as the Cupertino company continues working on reducing its dependence on China. The 2023 Mac Pro looks likely to be one of the products assembled there, which would mean Apple dropping the “Made in USA” tag used for the 2019 model.
Foxconn already makes iPads and AirPods in Vietnam, but so far hasn’t begun iPhone or Mac assembly in the country …
We’ve been warning for many years about both the need and the difficulty of reducing Apple’s dependence on China, but the pandemic made even clearer the risks of the company having most of its manufacturing eggs in one basket. COVID-19-related disruption at the world’s biggest iPhone assembly plant was estimated to have cost the company a billion dollars per week.
Apple has been gradually diversifying its supply chain, with assembly plants in India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and elsewhere, but progress has been slow.
More Apple manufacturing in Vietnam
South China Morning Post (SCMP) says that the expansion plans were revealed by a stock exchange filing.
Taiwan-listed Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, has signed a lease with Saigon-Bac Giang Industrial Park Corp to occupy a plot of 45 hectares (111 acres) for around US$62.5 million to meet “operational needs and expand production capacity”, according to an exchange filing on Tuesday.
The site, located in the Quang Chau Industrial Park in Bac Giang province east of Hanoi, was rented through Foxconn’s subsidiary Fulian Precision Technology Component Co. The lease will run through February 2057, the company said.
Likely to be MacBooks and 2023 Mac Pro
The piece doesn’t specify what product line(s) will be made at the new facility, but a pair of reports last year indicated that both 2023 Mac Pro models and MacBooks will be assembled in Vietnam for the first time.
Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman said that Apple had scrapped plans to make an M2 Extreme chip for the 2023 Mac Pro (raising questions about why the product will even exist), mentioning Vietnamese production as an aside.
Gurman also says the new Mac Pro will be manufactured in Vietnam, a stark departure from the “Made in USA” 2019 Intel Mac Pro.
Later the same month, Nikkei reported that MacBook assembly will begin in Vietnam this year.
Apple has tapped its top supplier, Taiwan’s Foxconn, to start making MacBooks in the Southeast Asian nation as early as around May, sources briefed on the matter said.
Apple has been working to add production sites outside of China for all of its major product lines, but doing so for the final one, the MacBook, has taken longer due to the complex supply chain needed for making laptop computers.
It would be the first time MacBooks have been assembled outside of China. The simpler, more modular design of Apple Silicon MacBooks means that there is less need for a supporting supply chain locally, since so many components are now on a single board.
Photo: Anh Nguyen/Unsplash
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