Apple is in talks to make MacBooks in Thailand to diversify the supply chain out of China. According to a report by Nikkei Asia, the Cupertino firm has been mass-producing Apple Watch in the country for more than a year.
The publication says that three suppliers directly involved in the conversations with Apple are discussing the possibility of assembling and producing components and modules for MacBooks in Thailand.
“Ideally, Apple asked us to set up facilities in Vietnam for MacBooks, following in the footsteps of other Apple suppliers, but we offered an alternative option of building the product at our Thailand plants, which still have a massive space that can be reserved for the client,” a senior executive at one of the suppliers told Nikkei Asia. “As MacBook assembly will begin in Vietnam first, we could support the components from our Thailand plants, too. … It will only take two to three days of logistics and custom clearance.”
An executive at another supplier said their company is building new plants in Thailand for Apple, which could produce MacBooks and other products for the company, and will be completed this year.
“What we understand is Apple wants to build an economic scale of production capacity outside of China. … We’ve been helping the company to make the product [Apple Watch] for some time now,” said a senior source with direct knowledge of the production.
With rising tensions between the US and China, Apple has been planning to diversify its supply chain outside China. Northern Vietnam has already had some of the AirPods, Apple Watch, iPad, and MacBook production for a few years now.
Although neither of these countries has the same structure as China, Apple has been pushing its suppliers to open new factories in other countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, and India.
BGR will keep reporting on the matter and how it impacts Apple’s schedule to release new products, such as new MacBooks.