Apple’s Shifting Supply Chain

Cheng Ting-Fang and Lauly Li, Nikkei:

Apple is deepening its ties with China even as it further expands production in Southeast Asia and India, highlighting the balancing act the iPhone maker is striking between politics and business.

Apple increased its China-headquartered suppliers and Chinese manufacturing sites in 2023 while using fewer suppliers from Taiwan, the U.S., Japan and South Korea, a Nikkei Asia analysis of Apple’s latest official list of suppliers shows.

Ben Jiang, South China Morning Post:

China’s central Henan province, home to the world’s largest iPhone manufacturing complex in its capital Zhengzhou, reported a 60 per cent year-on-year drop in smartphone exports in the first quarter, showing the impact of Apple’s moves to diversify production outside the mainland.

Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider:

In a China Observer report released on Monday, footage of a Foxconn industrial park in Nanning is shown to be deserted. Once employing 50,000 people, it’s now practically an empty shell. AppleInsider has learned that as Apple’s operations have moved elsewhere, manufacturing capacity was freed elsewhere in China, leading to this plant’s closure.

As Apple’s dependence on manufacturing in China increasingly becomes a liability, and many call for its extrication from the country, it can sometimes be easy to forget just how many people have jobs which depend on this supply chain. It is an unfathomably huge industry made up of hundreds of thousands of individuals. This is too often the story of outsourced labour: rich companies move around or exit entirely, leaving others holding the bag.