A 2018 Rumor of GoerTek moving AirPods Production to Vietnam is Confirmed today as Apple Reportedly begins Production Tests
In October 2018 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Supplier GoerTech Moving AirPod Plant to Vietnam to avoid Possible Escalation of China-USA Trade War. Today the story resurfaces with more details.
According to the Nikkei Asian Review, "China's GoerTek, one of Apple's key contract manufacturers, will this summer begin testing the resilience of its manufacturing processes for the newest generation of AirPods at its audio factory in northern Vietnam, two sources with knowledge of the plan said.
This will mark the first production of the wireless earbuds -- which came to market in 2016 -- outside the world's second-largest economy. They are Apple's fastest growing product, racking up 35 million shipments last year against 20 million in 2017.
Apple has written to components suppliers to ask them to support Goertek's efforts despite initially very small volumes, according to a communication seen by the Nikkei Asian Review.
"Suppliers are requested to keep the pricing unchanged for the trial production stage, but this can be reviewed once volumes are increased," said one of the sources with direct knowledge of the communication.
"The initial output will be limited, but it is easy to increase capacity once all the manufacturing procedures are running smoothly," the person said.
"Many tech players are relocating or increasing production [in Vietnam] to avoid tariffs, given that it is close to China, and has a relatively complete supply chain compared with other Southeast Asian countries," said Karen Ma, an analyst specializing in emerging markets at Hsinchu-based Industrial Technology Research Institute. For more, read the full Nikkei Asian Review report.
In June Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple is Preparing a Fundamental Restructuring of its Supply Chain that could Shift up to 30% out of China." The shift has been in the works for some time as we reported on the GoerTek move to Vietnam nine months ago.
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