In a sign the company is accelerating its diversification of production out of China amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple will produce millions of its popular AirPods wireless earphones in Vietnam for the first time this quarter, sources familiar with the matter told Nikkei Asian Review,
Some 3 million to 4 million units, or around 30% of total classic AirPods production this quarter, will be “Made in Vietnam,” the sources said. The production relocation does not yet include AirPods Pro, a high-end version with noise cancellation features that Apple introduced last October. The majority of the AirPods range — including AirPods (priced at $159) and AirPods Pro (priced at $249) — are still produced in China, despite some wearable electronics devices being hit with additional tariffs imposed by the Trump administration since last year.
“The mass production of AirPods in Vietnam started as early as in March,” a person familiar with the matter said. “The Vietnamese officials even granted special permits for a key Apple AirPods assembler to help the company bring in engineers to the country for smooth production during lockdowns.” Vietnam began easing some lockdown measures in late April.
Back in mid-January, when the U.S. and China inked a phase one deal to ease the yearlong trade conflict, Apple slowed efforts to shift production out of China, its biggest production base. But the global pandemic has served as an additional reminder for tech companies of the importance of diversification and manufacturing sustainability — not just low costs.
MacDailyNews Take: China should get used to this idea. We’ve long said that Apple has “too much dependence on one country for assembly.”
As we wrote last June, “File under: Don’t Put All your Eggs in One Basket.”
Better late than never on Apple’s diversification of production/assembly points in order to mitigate risk and, potentially, increase competition which would lower manufacturing costs. — MacDailyNews, July 17, 2019
The company will emerge stronger than ever, especially as they continue to diversify production instead of being almost entirely dependent on China. — MacDailyNews, April 16, 2020