Apple may move some production to Vietnam to avoid trade tensions

The US fight with China may change where your devices come from.

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Your next Apple device might not come from China. A Reuters source claims Apple’s primary contract manufacturer, Foxconn, is moving some iPad and MacBook production to Vietnam to diversify production and reduce the potential damage from the ongoing trade war between the US and China. Assembly lines in Vietnam’s Bac Giang province would be ready in the first half of 2021, and would join manufacturing for products like Sony TVs.

Foxconn said it didn’t comment on work for customers due to policy and “commercial sensitivity,” but Apple reportedly made the request for a production shift. We’ve asked Apple for comment.

The apparent leak follows reports of Apple expanding iPhone production in India, with contractors like Pegatron also considering factories in Mexico.

It’s not a shocking move. Apple has repeatedly faced the threat of tariffs as the Trump administration takes aim at Chinese-made products. China, meanwhile, has launched retaliatory tariffs of its own and has plenty of power over foreign companies operating on its soil. A partial shift to Vietnam would reduce the impact if the trade war worsens, and could be helpful for maintaining output even if the incoming Biden administration eases tensions.