Rumor: Apple Shanghai facility to be supply chain management center, not R&D center

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A new rumor has it that the three-building facility Apple has registered in Pudong, Shanghai, will be dedicated to supply chain management, not research and development as was previously believed.

A report from Chinese language tech site Tencent Tech (via investment news service BrightWire) claims that Apple has begun hiring high-end supply chain management experts in Pudong, with the aim of making the area a central hub to manage its southeast Asian supply partners. The publication reportedly got word from a member of Apple China's marketing department that the Shanghai facility was not being prepped for research and development duties.

Apple Shanghai
Rumored Apple facility in Shanghai, China. | Source: CNET China


Other sources said previous indications that Apple intended the multi-building complex to be an R&D hub were based on flawed reports that CEO Tim Cook had promised to establish such a center in China during one of his previous visits to the country.

The future of Apple's Chinese operations has been a source of rumors for the past several months. Earlier accounts had the company establishing R&D and data centers in Beijing, but those soon gave way to claims that Pudong, Shanghai, would be the site of Apple's new facility.

Recently cited documentation from the Shanghai Municipal Administration for Industry and Commerce revealed that Pudong would be the location for some type of Chinese expansion on Apple's part, though the purpose of the space remains unknown.

Apple's products are designed in California but manufactured by the company's partners in China. Southeast Asia is also home to many of the companies that produce the components that go into Apple's best-selling devices, so locating a supply management center in the region could help the company exert greater control over its supply chain. Supply chain troubles have been a source of trouble for Apple of late, with iMac component issues beginning to impact sales and quarterly results.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17


    Um this would be [email protected] for Apple.  The very type of [email protected] they would want int China.  [email protected] about the supply chain. "A chain about nine miles long" (see William Gibson) Those in power would want this too.

  • Reply 2 of 17
    I wonder what happens to all the opinions in the thread from 2 weeks ago. I presume Tim is still king of supply chain, and therefore have a though time thinking this rumor to be true.

    Um this would be [email protected] for Apple.  The very type of [email protected] they would want int China.  [email protected] about the supply chain. "A chain about nine miles long" (see William Gibson) Those in power would want this too.

    [VIDEO]
  • Reply 3 of 17

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    A new rumor has it that the three-building facility Apple has registered in Pudong, Shanghai, will be dedicated to supply chain management, not research and development as was previously believed.



     


    It makes more sense. Too many companies have lost decades of R&D to China's "cooperative attitude". I can't see Apple making that same mistake.

  • Reply 4 of 17
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,154member
    A few days ago is was reported on AI as confirmed that this was going to be an R&D center.
    http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/01/28/apple-shanghai-rd-center-confirmed-for-summer-2013

    Now it is back to being a rumor again and that this is now going to be for Supply Chain Management. As far as I am concerned, until Apple says something this doesn't exist.
  • Reply 5 of 17


    A bit of a shame if this is only about supply chain management. 


     


    One way for Apple to win over Chinese consumers more is to design a device that is more suited to the needs of the people in China. 

  • Reply 6 of 17
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,500member
    A bit of a shame if this is only about supply chain management. 

    One way for Apple to win over Chinese consumers more is to design a device that is more suited to the needs of the people in China. 

    As opposed to the designs Apple do now that the Chinese people have problems with?
  • Reply 7 of 17

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post


    A bit of a shame if this is only about supply chain management. 


     


    One way for Apple to win over Chinese consumers more is to design a device that is more suited to the needs of the people in China. 





    Beijing has the highest wages of any region in China with an annual wage of roughly $9,000/year. Given this fact, basically you're saying Apple should make budget products so that Chinese can afford them.

  • Reply 8 of 17
    irelandireland Posts: 17,785member


    Makes perfect sense. Having an R&D center located in Shanghai seemed to me to provide no advantage over having it in Cupertino, especially considering the innovation in Cupertino over the years without it. And frankly, it'd be a huge pain and a distraction for Ive to have to travel that far just to really get a feel for what they were up to. They could easily have their R&D centre located in Cupertino in the new building, where they could provide weekly to monthly updates to Ive when he comes around to visit. This would be far more focused, more secure, more efficient and far easier.

  • Reply 9 of 17
    irelandireland Posts: 17,785member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post


    A bit of a shame if this is only about supply chain management. 


     


    One way for Apple to win over Chinese consumers more is to design a device that is more suited to the needs of the people in China. 



     


    Like a more budget iPhone 5 with smaller storage, made from plastic? Yeah, if only they could figure that one out when not working from a building physically located in Shanghai. :D

  • Reply 10 of 17

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


     


    Like a more budget iPhone 5 with smaller storage, made from plastic? Yeah, if only they could figure that one out when not working from a building physically located in Shanghai. :D





    Of course, Chinese wages are going up every year, and unemployment seems to be rising in Western countries. Maybe Apple should just wait a few months until China's the developed hyperpower where everyone needs to have their R&D?

  • Reply 11 of 17
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    philboogie wrote: »
    I wonder what happens to all the opinions in the thread from 2 weeks ago. I presume Tim is still king of supply chain, and therefore have a though time thinking this rumor to be true.

    I don't get it. Why would Tim's expertise in Supply Chain Management mean that Apple wouldn't need people on the ground in China?

    Apple buys many billions of dollars of products. One person doesn't handle all of that - especially if he's the CEO and has other responsibilities. Even before he became CEO, he undoubtedly had a team working for him. Part of the expertise is knowing how to manage the large number of people who need to be involved.

    I have no idea if this facility is R&D or supply chain, but there clearly is a need for a large number of supply chain people in China.
  • Reply 12 of 17
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,154member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post


    A bit of a shame if this is only about supply chain management. 


     


    One way for Apple to win over Chinese consumers more is to design a device that is more suited to the needs of the people in China. 



    Apple to this point has always designed products in California that are basically the same from country to country except for minor internal HW tweaks. Do you think there are Apple R&D centers in every country that Apple sells product in? If Apple were to design a specific product for China it could just as easily be done in California as in China.


     


    An Apple R&D center in China would make sense though because China does have a large pool of engineers to draw from to staff an R&D center.

  • Reply 13 of 17
    gcguygcguy Posts: 14member
    The China bubble will burst soon enough. More production will either move to the US to other cheaper and more accommodating places. I just hope it's sooner rather than later. They've stolen enough already.
  • Reply 14 of 17

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gcguy View Post



    The China bubble will burst soon enough. More production will either move to the US to other cheaper and more accommodating places. I just hope it's sooner rather than later. They've stolen enough already.


     


    Stolen?


     


    Yup... sure... whatever you say.

  • Reply 15 of 17

    Beijing has the highest wages of any region in China with an annual wage of roughly $9,000/year. Given this fact, basically you're saying Apple should make budget products so that Chinese can afford them.

    Not saying that at all.
  • Reply 16 of 17
    As opposed to the designs Apple do now that the Chinese people have problems with?

    You gave an imagination? Try putting it to use
  • Reply 17 of 17
    irelandireland Posts: 17,785member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gcguy View Post



    The China bubble will burst soon enough. More production will either move to the US to other cheaper and more accommodating places. I just hope it's sooner rather than later. They've stolen enough already.


     


    Clueless much? Apple uses China for production because its the only country in the world that can possibly make their stuff. All the factories are near one another and they're far more efficient than any other country. The not understand this is to be ignorant of the facts. Cook has said this himself.

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