(Reuters) – Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) suppliers are in talks to produce Apple Watch and MacBook in Vietnam for the first time, Nikkei Asia reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Apple’s Chinese supplier Luxshare Precision Industry (002475.SZ) and Taiwan-based Foxconn (2317.TW) have started test production of Apple Watch in northern Vietnam, the report added.
Apple has asked suppliers to set up a test production line in Vietnam for the MacBook, the report said, adding that progress in moving mass production to the country has been slow partly due to pandemic-related disruptions but also because notebook computer production involves a larger supply chain.
Apple has been shifting some areas of iPhone production from China to other markets, including India, where it started manufacturing iPhone 13 earlier this year, and is also planning to assemble iPad tablets.
India, the world’s second-biggest smartphone market, along with countries such as Mexico and Vietnam, is becoming increasingly important to contract manufacturers supplying American brands, as they try to diversify production away from China.
Apple, Foxconn and Luxshare Precision did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Last week, Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn gave a cautious outlook for the current quarter after posting results that exceeded expectations, citing slowing smartphone demand after a pandemic-fuelled boom.
Like other global manufacturers, Foxconn – formally called Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd – has dealt with a severe shortage of chips that hurt production, as bottlenecks from the pandemic lingered and the Ukraine war further strained logistical channels.