In fiscal 2021, many Apple suppliers have opened manufacturing facilities closer to Cupertino – the pandemic and geopolitical situation are helping to reformat the supplier structure. Corresponding The Wall Street Journalof more than 180 Apple suppliers, 48 had US manufacturing as of September 2021, up from just 25 a year earlier.
According to the publication, more than 30 venues were located in California – up from 10 the year before. Measured at supplier list According to Apple’s website, key partners including Foxconn, TSMC and camera sensor maker Sony have added US manufacturing capacity in fiscal 2021.
The list doesn’t specify how far each division’s business goes and what exactly each of the many companies does. Also, it contains obvious errors. For example, Shanghai is part of Japan. However, there is a rough idea of what is happening.
A comparison to a list published 16 months ago suggests that Apple is still extremely dependent on East Asian countries, particularly China. About 150 Apple suppliers operate in China. In addition, Apple’s business is closely linked with South Korean and Japanese companies, which are responsible for supplying all kinds of components.
And yet it turns out that American sites are playing an increasingly important role for Apple. So far, according to suppliers, suppliers in California are not as big as in China. Instead, we are talking about small production lines, test lines for new products and related service operations.
In modern conditions, since the beginning of 2020, travel between California and China has objectively been problematic. During the pandemic, Apple relied mostly on the skills of overseas engineers and used new technologies like video conferencing to organize work for headquarters to control what’s happening in production. However, supplier representatives emphasize that in some cases it would be extremely useful to have customer representatives close to the production itself, especially when testing materials and components of new products.
Additionally, for political reasons, it would make sense for Apple and its partners to demonstrate the United States’ increasing role in manufacturing. President Joe Biden has been a strong advocate for boosting high-tech manufacturing in the United States, and in August he signed into law more than $50 billion in direct aid to build semiconductor plants across the country.
The development of Apple’s suppliers’ business in California was part of a broader supply chain shift. In particular, Apple is in every possible way stimulating the development of production outside of China, India and Vietnam are primarily being considered as new partners. For example, the release of the iPhone 14 started in India last week – just three weeks after the release of the new smartphone. For the first time, production of new Apple smartphones outside of China begins so soon after the official release.