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Mar 30, 2020 / 12:02

Covid-19 accelerates iPhone makers’ plans to move to Vietnam

Apple partners such as Hon Hai Precision, Wistron, Inventec and Pegatron are eyeing Vietnam as they plan to move beyond China.

As the Covid-19 pandemic is disrupting production and businesses in China, Taipei-listed Wistron Corporation, one of Apple’s manufacturing partners, chose Vietnam as part of its US$1-billlion expansion plan for this year and next, Bloomberg reported.

 Illustrative photo. 

The move followed a statement from Wistron last week that half of its capacity could reside outside China within a year.

The declaration underscored how the Asian assemblers that keep the world supplied with iPhones and other gadgets are shifting to a higher gear after the coronavirus showed the folly of staking everything on one country.

While other Apple partners such as Hon Hai Precision Industry, Inventec and Pegatron are working on a similar move, Bloomberg suggested this could reshape tech supply chains.

According to Bloomberg, Liao Syh-jang, CEO of Iphone assembler Pegatron, said last Thursday the company hopes to kick-start manufacturing operations in Vietnam in 2021 after setting up a new plant in Indonesia last year.

Apple’s main assembly partner for AirPods, Inventec, on March 24 revealed it is preparing to establish a unit in Vietnam.

More than any other assembler, Hon Hai encapsulated how the Covid-19 brought the world’s No. 2 economy to a standstill. Better known as Foxconn, it augurs a potential shift in a global production paradigm that’s governed the electronics industry well over three decades. The company also has facilities in India, where it began churning out iPhones last year, and Vietnam. “Trade, the virus, all these things will make the world very different in the next decade,” Alex Yang, the company’s investors relations chief, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying.

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