Apple Set to Start iPad Production Outside of China for First Time Ever

By Thomas Price Friday, February 5, 2021

As trade tensions remain high between the United States (US) and China, even after the transition of power between former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden, many companies and businesses have been looking to transition manufacturing away from the country to places with lower costs. One of the largest companies to begin exploring this front has been tech business giant Apple. In fact, reports coming from the company state that the business will begin manufacturing iPads in Vietnam instead of China for the first time. This could mark a major shift for the manufacturing business in China and could have lasting implications for years to come.

An iPad sitting next to a notebook and coffee cup on a desk.

Apple’s Manufacturing Changes

Since the debut and launch of the iPad, Apple has manufactured the product exclusively in China. However, due to ongoing trade tensions between the US and China coupled with the rising cost of labor, the company has had to look into new locations to manufacture its products at a lower price. This has resulted in the latest Nikkei report, which has the company moving a large portion of iPad production outside of China and into Vietnam.

Apple’s reported move outside of China for production is not entirely unexpected as the company has been slowly shifting manufacturing into new areas for several months now. In fact, the company had begun to relocate 15% to 30% of their manufacturing business away from China since June of 2019. As it currently stands, the company is already doing business in India for the production of iPhones, with even larger plans akin to iPad production in Vietnam in the works as well.

Apple’s Other Manufacturing Changes

While the move in manufacturing of iPads from China to Vietnam is the largest business so far, many other smaller but also notable changes are coming for the company outside of this. In fact, Apple has reportedly already ramped up production of Airpods Pro in Vietnam with even more business for the country planned as some HomePod Mini and Macbook production is set to begin soon as well. Vietnam and India will not be the only countries to benefit from the company’s move away from China either, as some Mac mini production has also begun in Malaysia.

The diversification of production from Apple could simply be the start of many major businesses following suit, especially if trade tensions do not resolve in the near future.

When commenting on this latest shift in business away from China, a supply chain manager close to the situation said, “Apple and many other tech companies all want out-of-China production capacities, and that has not slowed even though the US has a new president. And they are studying not only peripheral products. Apple, for example, aims to build capacity in new locations -- mostly Southeast Asia nations -- for multiple core products, such as iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, AirPods and others. It was hard to imagine that two years ago, but now, nothing is impossible to shift.”

About the Author


Headshot for author Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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