Apple’s Chinese suppliers are planning to move locations outside of China due to rising Beijing and Washington tensions, according to one of the tech giant’s main manufacturers.
GoerTek Inc, known for being Apple’s biggest maker of AirPods, is one of the many suppliers pursuing the exit. According to GoerTek Deputy Chairman Kazuyoshi Yoshinaga, the manufacturing company is investing $280 million in a new plant in Vietnam, while exploring the possibilities of an India expansion.
Yoshinaga, who oversees company operations in Vietnam, added that US-based tech companies have been urging its manufacturers to explore different locations.
“Starting from last month, so many people from the client side are visiting us almost every day,” Yoshinaga explained.
Known for maintaining secrecy among its global supply chain, Apple remains silent on any plans to diversify its manufacturers outside of China. However, 9 out of 10 of its suppliers have been hinting at large-scale exits, with plans to move production to countries such as India.
“I would say currently 90% of them, they’re looking at that,” added Kazuyoshi. “It’s the brand companies’ decisions.”
When asked by clients regarding plans to expand to India, the Goertek deputy chairman explained that the company “may have to think about it seriously” if its clients decide to build up its production lines there. “Currently, we are focusing on developing our Vietnam production facilities,” he added.
While Bloomberg Intelligence says it will take around eight years to move 10% of Apple’s production arms out of China, the Goertek executive claims it can be quicker.
Outside of China, Vietnam exists as Goertek’s sole manufacturing location, with plans of expanding with a 62-hectare complex in Bac Ninh to be operational within one year. The company, with plans to manufacture virtual reality (VR) headsets in Vietnam starting 2024, predicts the country will make more than half of its global revenues in three years.
Currently, Goertek creates Quest VR headsets for Meta and PSVR devices for Sony.