Apple Inc. (AAPL) is distancing itself anew from China as it shifts some production of MacBooks to Vietnam from the world's most populous nation.
- Apple will reportedly move the production of some its MacBooks from China to Vietnam in 2023.
- The company has already partially shifted manufacturing operations of its iPhones and other top products out of China.
- Apple is distancing itself from China amid the country's ongoing trade tensions with the U.S. and stringent COVID protocols that have interrupted production.
- Other tech firms including HP and Dell have made similar plans to relocate.
Taiwan's Foxconn, a top supplier of Apple products, will make the shift as early as May from China, previously the hub of the tech behemoth's supply chain, as early as May amid rising tension between Beijing and Washington and a sudden loosening of COVID restrictions that many analysts expect to bring a rising death toll and slower-growing economy.
MacBooks are the last of Apple's product lines to add manufacturing sites outside. The tech giant has already added Vietnamese factories for its iPads and Apple Watches, and iPhones are now being built in India as well as China. Apple makes up to 24 million MacBooks each year, now mostly in Chengdu and Shanghai.
Though Apple is adding operations elsewhere, it may remain tied up with Chinese production for years to come. The company employs hundreds of thousands across the country, potentially giving it leverage with the Chinese government to avoid tariffs or other penalties directed at U.S. firms. China nonetheless faces a possible crisis as other U.S. electronics makers including HP and Dell have also begun to shift manufacturing to other countries.
News of Apple's plans comes amid a broader 40% drop in U.S. manufacturing orders from China, plunging demand for Chinese goods, and a growing blacklist of Chinese companies working on producing advanced chips and other technologies.