Vietnam has been chosen by Apple to produce millions of AirPods wireless earphones as a sign that the giant is accelerating its diversification of production out of China in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic.
About 30% of total classic AirPods production this quarter will be produced in Vietnam but the production relocation does not include AirPods Pro, the high-end version introduced last year. Most of the AirPods range are still being manufactured in China, as well as iPhones and MacBooks.
According to Willy Shih, a professor of management practice at the Harvard Business School, the global pandemic will force various tech companies to review their supply chain continuity issues. “So far, in terms of the tech supply chain, China really has the best infrastructure, transportation, skilled workers and logistics. But we will see more diversification in the coming years, certainly for the electronics industry, as now they realize they can’t put all the eggs in one basket.” He adds, “I would say the more likely scenario is these big companies will look for China plus one, China plus two other countries, or even China plus three other countries in the longer term”.