Apple's next MacBook production center is likely Thailand

in Current Mac Hardware edited October 2022
Apple's efforts to shift production out of China will focus on shifting more global iPhone orders to India and MacBook manufacturing to Thailand, according to Ming-Chi Kuo.

Workers in a factory
Workers in a factory

Apple is in the process of slowly migrating its manufacturing away from a China-centric approach to one that uses multiple major hubs. In the latest bout of speculation on how that plan could unfold, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has offered his opinions following a supply chain survey.

Apple's plan will probably involve the Tata Group working with Pegatron or Wistron to develop iPhone assembly in India, echoing rumors from early September, Kuo tweeted on Tuesday. With more than 80% of iPhones produced in India for domestic demand, Kuo thinks the potential pair-up could "accelerate the increase in the proportion of non-China iPhone production."

For MacBooks, Kuo predicts that the main non-China production site for the product category is Thailand. Currently, the majority of MacBook assembly takes place in China, though Apple has made efforts to shift some work to Vietnam.

Apple's global supply chain management strategy continues to change in response to the de-globalization trend, mainly to reduce the assembly business in China. Here are the latest major survey updates.

-- (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo)

As for how long this could take, Kuo says the medium-term three years to five years could see the U.S. market supplied by assembly sites outside of China "to reduce potential impacts from political risks."

This is in reference to events such as the imposition of tariffs in the U.S.-China trade war of 2020. Problems aren't just political, as natural disasters and pandemics like the coronavirus can cause big production issues.

In the long run, Kuo feels non-China markets will be served by assembly sites outside of China, while Chinese production will handle domestic orders.

Another report from September 30 estimated it could take Apple eight years to move as little as ten percent of its production out of China. However, it's not just a problem for Apple, as it is believed that 70% of smartphone manufacturing is undertaken in the country.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 4
    cg27cg27 Posts: 207member
    Long overdue.  Too many eggs in one basket.
  • Reply 2 of 4
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,140member
    This quote is especially encouraging:

    In the long run, Kuo feels non-China markets will be served by assembly sites outside of China, while Chinese production will handle domestic orders.
    Once the war is over, perhaps apple could consider Ukraine for European production…
  • Reply 3 of 4
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,389member
    Hasn’t Apple heard the Mekong river is drying up soon China has built 11 dams at the head waters, like the Colorado river which doesn’t make it to the gulf of California, water won’t even make to South China Sea any more, most of the water in Thailand, Cambodia, South Vietnam and Laos will be gone. Stop looking for cheap labor at all cost bring a third of it home Apple.

    China builds infrastructure, and they don’t waste time on doing it. A bigger problem than Taiwan by the way.

    And another river leading to Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma) ….
    edited October 2022 FileMakerFeller
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