Apple has been manufacturing iPads and AirPods in Vietnam for some time now, and apparently MacBooks and Apple Watches are next. The presence of Apple's suppliers in an economy that's ranked 37th in the world is quite interesting because this has the potential of becoming a relationship similar to that of Foxconn/TSMC in Taiwan.
(Also, technically the title of this post is a little misleading because Apple has been redistributing it's eggs in a couple of baskets for a few years now)
Apple in China
Apple has historically received a lot of flak - and rightly so - for manufacturing in China. Primary reasons for this are China's poor labor laws and human right abuses, moving manufacturing away from America, and so on. They have been muzzled more than once by China as they have relied solely on a single country for manufacturing their major products in the past.
- Apple warns suppliers to follow China rules on 'Taiwan' labeling
- Apple criticised for storing data inside China
- and more
I sometimes wonder how things are measured in a relationship like Apple and China. Clearly Apple has brought billions worth of business to China – probably trillions once you consider the effect of industrial commons. And at the same time, China seems to have an upper hand when it comes to asking Apple to do what they want.
Apple at Home
In 2021 Apple announced that its investing around half a trillion dollars in setting up a new campus in North Carolina, USA. That's a pretty sizable commitment from a company who's market cap was around 2 trillion when they announced this.
Apple in India
India is another place that Apple has turned to make their devices. They have been manufacturing the iPhone SE models in India for some time now, and also the iPhone 13 variants. They haven't had smooth sailing in India, with their Wistron plant hit by workers' rioting.
What does this mean?
I think I look at Apple as the one of the biggest manufacturers of electronics in this article's context. So looking at how they are distributing their risk across the world map is quite telling for how the future might look like. I think we are past the stage of a company have a monogamous relationship with a country or it's government. This also has a lot of implications on how the regions they are picking will influence manufacturing hubs around the world.
For me this also means that there is a version of the world in the future where a thing I decide to buy might actually be made in the same geographical area as me. Everything that I am using to type this article - the laptop, screen, the keyboard, and even the headphones I am listening to music on - were not manufactured in India. So this seems like progress to me :)