Apple’s plans to manufacture MacBooks in Thailand is a strategic move aimed at diversifying its supply chain away from China. According to a report by Nikkei Asia, three suppliers directly involved in the talks with Apple are considering the possibility of producing components and modules for MacBooks in Thailand. While Apple initially asked its suppliers to establish facilities in Vietnam for MacBook production, the suppliers offered an alternative option of building the product at their Thailand plants, which still have ample space. A senior executive at one of the suppliers explained that as MacBook assembly would start in Vietnam first, the suppliers in Thailand could support the components from their plants, with just two to three days of logistics and customs clearance required. This move follows Apple’s previous efforts to create an economic scale of production capacity outside of China by opening new factories in countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, and India. The development also reflects the growing trend of diversifying supply chains in the tech industry, especially amid the ongoing US-China trade war and the COVID-19 pandemic.
An executive from another supplier has revealed that their company is building new plants in Thailand for Apple, which could produce not only MacBooks but also other products for the tech giant. The plants are expected to be completed by the end of this year. The source with direct knowledge of the production said that Apple’s goal is to create an economic scale of production capacity outside of China. The company has been diversifying its supply chain outside of China due to rising tensions between the US and China. Northern Vietnam has already been producing some of Apple’s popular products such as AirPods, Apple Watch, iPad, and MacBook for a few years. While neither Thailand nor Vietnam has the same manufacturing structure as China, Apple has been urging its suppliers to open new factories in other countries such as India, Thailand, and Vietnam. The ongoing diversification of the supply chain is expected to have implications for the release schedule of Apple’s new products, including new MacBooks. BGR will continue to report on the matter and its impact on Apple’s future products.