Reported by Reuters, Foxconn is planning to move some of its iPad and MacBook production from China to Vietnam. The request for the move came directly from Apple, according to a source with knowledge of the plan. One of the reasons for the move is in response to policies set by the Trump administration.
The development comes as the outgoing administration of U.S. President Donald Trump encourages U.S. 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 U.S. technology to Chinese firms it deems a national security risk.
The assembly lines being built in Vietnam were already earmarked for iPad and MacBook production, but now are set to steal some of the production away from China after Apple’s request.
Foxconn is building assembly lines for Apple’s iPad tablet and MacBook laptop at its plant in Vietnam’s northeastern Bac Giang province, to come online in the first half of 2021, the person said, declining to be identified as the plan was private. The lines will also take some production from China, the person said, without elaborating how much production would shift. “The move was requested by Apple,” the person said. “It wants to diversify production following the trade war.”
The iPad, up until this point, has been exclusively assembled in China, so this move would be a first for this line in Apple’s supply chain business. Foxconn has also recently committed $1 billion in investment for iPhone factories in Inda.
When Reuters asked Foxconn about the move, the company responded with a boilerplate statement:
“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”.