Apple is moving some of its iPad production from China to Vietnam, after supply chain disruptions stemming from coronavirus lockdowns, contributed to product and parts shortages.
Nikkei Asia reported the development on Wednesday, and it comes after the tech giant for a while now has planned to move some production away from mainland China.
Three years ago in 2019, Apple was reportedly exploring its options to move between 15 to 30 percent of manufacturing out of China, citing the deepening trade war between Beijing and the United States.
But then the Coronavirus pandemic erupted – first in Wuhan China in late 2019, before rolling out across the world in early 2020.
Worldwide lockdowns ensued as countries sought to protect their population from Covid-19, which as of June 2022 has officially killed 6.3 million people (although the actual figure is likely to much more than this).
In November 2020 Apple reportedly requested that Foxconn move some iPad and MacBook assembly to Vietnam from China, but this was derailed after a surge of Covid-19 infections in Vietnam.
Then in April this year Taiwan’s Pegatron which assembles iPhones handsets for Apple, confirmed it had suspended operations at its Shanghai and Kunshan plants in China, due to the Chinese government’s strict Covid-19 protocols.
Apple has also begun manufacturing its flagship iPhone 13 in India, as it seeks to reduce its reliance on its Chinese supply chain.
At the moment, the only Apple device that is said to be manufactured in Vietnam are some of its AirPods earbuds.
And now Nikkei Asia has reported that Apple (for the first time ever) is moving some of its iPad production to Vietnam from China.
The report cited China’s strict Covid lockdowns in and around Shanghai that led to months of supply chain disruptions.
The report stated that Apple has also asked multiple component suppliers to build up their inventories to guard against future shortages and supply snags, sources said.
In particular, Apple is asking suppliers outside of the lockdown-affected areas to help build up a couple of months’ worth of component supplies in order to ensure supply continuity over the next few months.
The request from Apple applies to all of its product lines, including iPhones, iPads, AirPods and MacBooks, the Asia Nikkei sources reportedly said.
China’s BYD, which is said to be one of the leading iPad assemblers, has apparently helped Apple build production lines in Vietnam.
It could soon start to produce a small number of the iconic tablets there, people with knowledge of the matter reportedly told Asia Nikkei.