The rapidly spreading coronavirus has disrupted many companies’ supply chains in China, potentially making it harder for people to get some of the world’s most popular gadgets in the near future. But even before the outbreak, some gadget makers were already moving parts of their production away from China because of rising labor costs and an escalating trade war with the US.
Here’s a look at where some of the world’s favorite gadgets are coming from these days.
Until last year, Nintendo made all of its Switch consoles in China. Then the Japanese gaming giant started to move some of that production over to Vietnam, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. Nintendo sells about 40% of its Switch consoles in the US, so the company is trying to minimize the risk of tariffs imposed by the US by moving production away from China.
Earlier reports by the Wall Street Journal also suggested that the production in Vietnam was for two new Switch models. In China, the Switch is made by Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn, which also produces most of the world’s iPhones.
Analysts told us that while Apple moved some iPhone production to India through Foxconn, the manufacturer’s facilities there aren’t yet ready to assemble the iPhone 11. Apple didn’t respond to questions about iPhone production in India.
With iPhones now being produced in India, China has a rising manufacturing competitor. Apple has been producing iPhones XRs in India since last year, partly in response to demand in the country, according to Nikkei Asian Review. But some of the iPhones produced in India will also be exported.
Foxconn is reportedly producing the midrange iPhone XR in India. As Apple seeks to diversify its supply chain amid the US-China trade war, reports by the New York Times say that Apple is also eyeing Vietnam as a potential destination for iPhone production. However, the majority of iPhone XRs are still made in China.
Apple’s popular noise-canceling AirPods Pro that launched last year are all made in China. Luxshare, one of the manufacturers of the wireless earbuds, was reportedly asked to double its production for the AirPods Pro to meet surging demand.
The older, lower-cost AirPods are also partly made in China. Two other AirPods suppliers, Goertek and Taiwan’s Inventec, reportedly halted the majority of production during the Lunar New Year holiday because of the coronavirus outbreak, possibly leading to a shortage of AirPods, which Apple hasn’t confirmed.
Apple asked Luxshare and Goertek to start producing the lower-cost AirPods in Vietnam last year when trade tensions peaked, according to Nikkei. But Nikkei more recently reported that there’s no rush to produce the earbuds there with trade tensions starting to ease.
Samsung Galaxy S10
Having closed its last factory in China last year after losing market share to local competitors, Samsung relies less on China than many other smartphone makers. That’s why Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S10 from last year is made in both Vietnam and its home country of South Korea, analysts told us.
Sony’s iconic game console is made in China by two manufacturers, Foxconn and Maintek. Maintek is owned by Pegatron, another iPhone manufacturer.
Sony is also reportedly looking to move some PlayStation production out of China due to trade conflicts. But the company’s plans are not clear yet.
DJI Mavic Mini
The world’s leading drone maker produces its products at home in China, including the new Mavic Mini. But some future DJI drones might come from the US. The company is planning a new production site in California, which is its first outside China, according to reports from June last year.
DJI hopes manufacturing in the US can help mitigate risks from the trade war and suspicion from the Trump administration about the security of Chinese-made drones.
Amazon Echo Dot
If you have an Amazon Echo Dot, or other Alexa-powered Amazon speakers, it’s possible it was made in China… and by teenagers. The company’s hardware was the subject of labor abuse scandals reported in 2018 and 2019, with production taking place at a Foxconn factory in the Chinese city Hengyang. The factory produces Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers and Kindle devices.
Bloomberg reported last August that Foxconn might start producing Amazon Echo speakers in India.
Tesla Model 3
Tesla’s new gigafactory in Shanghai has been producing the Tesla Model 3 just for the Chinese market, but Elon Musk reportedly said that Tesla aims to design a car in China for global consumers.
Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.