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Apple suppliers want to exit China as geopolitical tension rises

Published Feb 28th, 2023 11:10AM EST
Apple Store customers iPhone 16
Image: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

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Apple has been trying to diversify its supply chain out of China for a few years now. While this departure became more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, BGR has reported several times over these past months how each Apple supplier is trying to move their production to Vietnam, India, or other Asian countries.

Now, a report by Bloomberg says AirPods maker GoerTek, one of the many manufacturers exploring locations beyond China, says lots of Apple suppliers are doing the same due to escalating tension between Beijing and Washington.

“Starting from last month, so many people from the client side are visiting us almost every day,” Yoshinaga said from his offices at GoerTek’s sprawling industrial complex north of Hanoi. The topic that dominates discussions: “When can you move out?”

Besides Apple, GoerTek is also a key supplier for Sony and its PlayStation gaming console. Bloomberg notes that almost all of Apple’s important suppliers may be preparing large-scale moves to countries like India. While the publication believes it could take eight years to move just 10% of Apple’s capacity outside of China, GoerTek executive says it could be made far quicker.

Currently, the AirPods maker is focusing on expanding its plant in Vietnam, but India is high on client’s whish-lists on when the manufacturer plans to expand to that country.

“We get requests from our clients almost every month. ‘Do you have any plans to expand to India?’” Yoshinaga said. “If they decide to build up the production lines in India, we may have to think about it seriously. Currently we are focusing on developing our Vietnam production facilities.”

For the immediate future, reports show Apple is planning to produce the iPhone 15 series in China and India simultaneously. That said, the Chinese country is still the only place Apple manufactures its Pro phones. The company has been diversifying its Mac, Apple Watch, and AirPods production to Vietnam and India, but the main core of the Cupertino firm is still in China.

Whether this will disrupt the supply chain depends on the tension between Washington-Beijing still to be seen. BGR will keep reporting on that matter.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.