2023 MacBooks to be made in Vietnam – an important milestone

Some 2023 MacBooks are set to be made in Vietnam, as Apple continues its push to reduce its dependence on China as a manufacturing base.

MacBook production could begin in Vietnam as early as May, says a new report. The piece doesn’t specify whether the plan refers to the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or both – but the move would hit an important milestone in Apple’s diversification plans …

Background

We’ve been warning for many years about both the need and the difficulty of reducing Apple’s dependence on China, but the pandemic made even clearer the risks of the company having most of its manufacturing eggs in one basket. COVID-19-related disruption at the world’s biggest iPhone assembly plan was estimated to have cost the company a billion dollars per week.

Apple has been gradually diversifying its supply chain, with assembly plants in India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and elsewhere, but progress has been slow.

Some 2023 MacBooks to be made in Vietnam

Nikkei reports on the latest move.

Apple has tapped its top supplier, Taiwan’s Foxconn, to start making MacBooks in the Southeast Asian nation as early as around May, sources briefed on the matter said.

Apple has been working to add production sites outside of China for all of its major product lines, but doing so for the final one, the MacBook, has taken longer due to the complex supply chain needed for making laptop computers.

iPads, AirPods, and some Apple Watch models are already made in Vietnam.

Hits an important milestone

Beginning MacBook production in Vietnam would mean that – for the first time – every flagship Apple product would have a second manufacturing base, outside of China.

Crucially, however, the report makes no mention of planned production volumes. Apple makes between 20M and 24M MacBooks in China each year, and it’s unlikely that 2023 Vietnamese production will make too large a dent in this, given the time needed to ramp up volume production.

Apple faces the same issue with the iPhone. It has significantly ramped up iPhone production in India, including beginning iPhone 14 assembly there just weeks after production first began in China. But current estimates are that 95% of iPhones are still made in China, with a full 80% of global production coming from a single plant in Zhengzhou (aka iPhone City).

2023 Mac Pro also slated to be made in Vietnam

the Nikkei report follows an earlier one that said that the 2023 Mac Pro is also set to be assembled in Vietnam for the first time.

It clearly makes sense from a logistics perspective, given the need to create a Mac supply chain infrastructure in the country, but would mean an end to Apple’s proud “Made in USA” badge for the Mac Pro.

The 2023 Mac Pro is also set to be less powerful than originally planned.

Photo: DLX Media via Unsplash

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