Recent outbreaks of COVID-19 are disrupting plans by Apple and Google supply chains trying to shift production from China to Vietnam as governments tighten border controls to contain outbreaks of new variants of the virus.
Firstly, Apple, will start mass-production of its latest AirPods earphones in China instead of in Vietnam as previously planned. Apple is still hoping to move as much as 20% of new AirPods production to Vietnam later this year.
AirPods — both entry-level and high-end models — were among the earliest products that Apple began making in significant amounts in Vietnam, having moved production there around two years ago during the height of U.S.-China trade tensions.
Apple’s plan to bring some MacBook and iPad production to Vietnam has also been put on hold due to a lack of engineering resources, an incomplete notebook computer supply chain.
Multiple supply chain managers told Nikkei Asia that it has been harder for their Chinese staff to apply for business trips to Vietnam, with “more documents and queries” needed in China since earlier this year