MacBook production reportedly planned for Thailand and Vietnam
Shifting MacBook production outside of China for the first time is one of Apple’s key strategic goals for its supply chain, with Vietnam reported to be first in line. A new report today indicates that companies with facilities in Thailand are also preparing for MacBook assembly.
Multiple Apple suppliers are said to be involved in discussions with the company, over both production of components and modules for the machines, as well as final assembly…
We’ve been warning for many years about both the need and the difficulty of reducing Apple’s dependence on China, but the pandemic made even clearer the risks of the company having most of its manufacturing eggs in one basket. COVID-19-related disruption at the world’s biggest iPhone assembly plant was estimated to have cost the company a billion dollars per week.
Apple has been gradually diversifying its supply chain, with assembly plants in India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and elsewhere, but progress has been slow.
In particular, MacBook assembly still happens exclusively within China. We first heard late last year that Thailand could be in the running, but most reports have focused on Vietnam.
MacBook production planned for Thailand
Nikkei Asia gets much more specific about Thailand.
Apple is in talks with suppliers to make MacBooks in Thailand as the company continues to expand its manufacturing footprint outside of China amid geopolitical uncertainties […]
The Apple suppliers involved in the talks already have manufacturing complexes in Thailand for other clients and are discussing possible assembly and production of components and modules for MacBooks, according to sources from three suppliers directly involved in the conversations with Apple.
One supplier said that it has already completed a trial production line for MacBooks in Thailand. A second is already building plants in Thailand specifically for Apple, and will complete the construction of a MacBook factory by the end of the year. A third was approached by Apple for MacBook assembly in Vietnam, and offered the alternative of using an existing plant in Thailand.
The report also says that Apple Watches have been quietly made in Thailand for more than a year.
Thailand has already seen suppliers of US tech companies set up factories in the country, including manufacturing of servers, printers, and car components.
One local analyst said that Apple still favors Vietnam over Thailand, however, as it is closer to China and has more free trade agreements. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
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