New insight from supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Apple now has an “action plan” to build new product introduction sites outside of China to diversify its supply chain supply.
In a tweet on Thursday, Kuo said that currently almost all of Apple’s new product introduction (NPI) sites are in China. Apparently, Apple first considered building sites outside of China in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which first underscored Apple’s need to diversify its supply chain.
Now, Kuo says Apple has gone beyond considering an action plan for the move:
However, after recent lockdowns in China, to diversify supply chain management risks, building NPI sites outside of China is no longer a proposition but a plan of action.
An accompanying tweet of the same information in Chinese translates the locations as “new product development bases.” This suggests that Apple is working to change the locations it uses for creating and prototyping new products before they go into production. Indeed, one of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Apple’s supply chain in 2020 was that Apple could not send engineers and executives to China to make key product decisions. , a factor that led to the delay of the iPhone 12 that year.
This could mean that future products beyond devices like the iPhone 14 could be developed and tested in other locations outside of China to reduce Apple’s supply chain risk. Kuo did not provide any further information on the nature of the action plan.
Reports in recent weeks indicate that Apple is once again feeling the strain of supply chain disruption, particularly in China where COVID shutdowns have forced some factories to suspend operations, impacting MacBook Pro (2021) and iPhone SE supply.