Apple expands US manufacturing sites for small-scale production

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Last week, Apple released its list of suppliers for fiscal year 2021. The document includes 98% of the company’s suppliers who are responsible for the materials, manufacturing and assembly of its products.

Analyzing the names of vendors and the locations of their manufacturing sites, The Wall Street Journal writes that the tech giant added more manufacturing sites in California, United States, in 2021. However, US sites of Apple focus on small-scale production.

Of Apple’s more than 180 suppliers, 48 ​​had manufacturing sites in the United States as of September 2021, up from 25 a year earlier, according to a list of suppliers published by Apple. More than 30 sites were in California, down from less than 10 a year earlier.

Apple’s Rise in US Manufacturing Sites Attributed to President Biden and China Policies

As the document reveals, Apple’s supply chain still remains “massively” dependent on East Asia and particularly China; more than 150 of the company’s suppliers are concentrated in the region. For this reason, the company encountered difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic in managing operations between California and China.

Even though operations aren’t as sophisticated as at large factories in China, officials said it’s helpful to have more manufacturing sites near Apple’s headquarters.

Supplier officials said California operations are generally not large factories like those in China. Instead, operations tend to be smaller-scale production lines, test lines for new products, or service-related operations.

There were still occasions when it was useful to be close to Apple headquarters, especially when testing materials and parts for new products was involved.

Apple Store

The revival of domestic manufacturing is attributed to President Joe Biden’s efforts to bring more high-tech manufacturing to the United States and China’s strict COVID-19 policies and tensions with the United States

President Biden has pushed to bring more high-tech manufacturing to the United States and in August signed legislation providing more than $50 billion in direct assistance for building semiconductor factories.

The Californian steps taken by Apple’s suppliers are part of a broader transition in its supply chain. Apple has told some of its manufacturing partners that it wants them to ramp up production outside of China, with Vietnam and India among the countries to take a closer look.

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