Foxconn, Apple’s manufacturing partner and the world’s leading contract manufacturer, has confirmed plans to move some of its iPad and MacBook assembly from China to Vietnam at the request of the iPhone maker to minimize the impact of a China-US trade war.
According to sources that spoke with Reuters, assembly lines for iPad and MacBook production are being built at Foxconn’s existing facility in Vietnam’s northeastern Bac Giang province. The Vietnamese facility is expected to become operational in the first half of 2021, though it’s unclear how much iPad and MacBook production would shift from China to Vietnam. TrendForce estimated that all iPad units are currently assembled in China.
“As a matter of company policy, and for reasons of commercial sensitivity, we do not comment on any aspect of our work for any customer or their products,” Foxconn said in a statement. Some of the biggest Taiwanese contract manufacturers have already moved or are considering moving some production from China to Vietnam, Mexico and India.
The development comes as the outgoing administration of US President Donald Trump encourages US firms to shift production out of China. During Trump’s tenure, the United States has targeted made-in-China electronics for higher import tariffs and restricted supplies of components produced using US technology to Chinese firms it deems a national security risk.
As per Reuters in July, Foxconn has moved limited iPhone production to India in response to the coronavirus crisis, a move that was “strongly requested” by Apple. Pegatron, another contract manufacturer that counts Apple as a client, is considering building plants in Mexico.