Nikkei Asian Review reported on Friday that Apple is starting to produce some AirPods models in Vietnam for Q3 of 2020, moving away from China. Per the report:
Apple will produce millions of its popular AirPods wireless earphones in Vietnam for the first time this quarter, sources familiar with the matter told Nikkei Asian Review, in a sign the company is accelerating its diversification of production out of China amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Nikkei says Apple will produce between 3 to 4 million models in Vietnam around 30% of its total AirPods product for this quarter. They note that it does not include the AirPods Pro, instead of the 1st and 2nd generation. The Vietnamese government has started to ease social restrictions in the country, allowing Apple to expedite its move of production.
“The mass production of AirPods in Vietnam started as early as in March,” a person familiar with the matter said. “The Vietnamese officials even granted special permits for a key Apple AirPods assembler to help the company bring in engineers to the country for smooth production during lockdowns.” Vietnam began easing some lockdown measures in late April.
Nikkei was first to report that Apple was eyeing Vietnam as a potential assembly point for the AirPods last June. Apple reportedly asked suppliers to investigate the ability to move 15 to 30% of production out of China into other Southeast Asian countries. Apple already produces some products outside of China, notably the iPhone XR in India.
Ever since the start of COVID19, pressure has mounted on Apple to look into other places to produce its products outside of China. Critics and analysts say that Apple’s overly reliance on the Chinese economy will spell out trouble for the company in the long run.