Apple suppliers added manufacturing operations close to the California-based tech company in fiscal 2021, a sign of how quixotic COVID-19 responses in various countries, especially China, and geopolitics are reshaping and diversifying supply chains.
Of Apple’s more than 180 suppliers, 48 had manufacturing sites in the U.S. as of September 2021, up from 25 a year earlier, according to a supplier list released by Apple. More than 30 sites were in California, compared with fewer than 10 a year earlier.
Many major suppliers such as chip makers Qualcomm Inc. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., product assembler Foxconn Technology Group and image sensor provider Sony Group Corp., added production sites in the U.S. during the year, the list shows…
Travel between California and China has been difficult since early 2020 because of China’s Covid-19 restrictions. During the pandemic, Apple has relied more on local engineers in foreign countries and adopted technology such as live streaming to help staff at headquarters follow remotely what is happening on the factory floor. However, the supplier officials said there were still occasions when it was helpful to be near Apple’s headquarters, especially when tests of materials and parts for new products were involved.
The California moves by Apple’s suppliers are part of a broader transition in its supply chain. Apple has told some of its manufacturing partners it wants them to boost production outside China, with Vietnam and India among the countries getting a closer look.
MacDailyNews Take: The more than can be done to increase diversification and promote competition, the better.
Apple’s 2021 Supplier List is here.
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