AirPods Pro Starting to Be Assembled in Vietnam

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple has been seeking to add geographic diversity to its supply chain for some time now, with a shift of some production of the AirPods lineup to Vietnam being one significant step for the company.

Photo via @alixrezax

Apple reportedly began trialing production of regular AirPods in Vietnam almost a year ago, and it was reported in December that Apple's AirPods suppliers were looking to line up financing to expand production.

And just two weeks ago, Nikkei reported that mass production of regular AirPods in Vietnam had started in March.
"The mass production of AirPods in Vietnam started as early as in March," a person familiar with the matter said. "The Vietnamese officials even granted special permits for a key Apple AirPods assembler to help the company bring in engineers to the country for smooth production during lockdowns." Vietnam began easing some lockdown measures in late April.
At the time, Nikkei said that the production shift did "not yet include" the higher-end AirPods Pro, but it now appears that AirPods Pro production has indeed begun in Vietnam as several MacRumors readers including @alixrezax on Twitter and "rhyzome" in our forums have reported this week receiving their AirPods Pro with "Assembled in Vietnam" shown on the charging cases.

Vietnam has long been a hotbed for Apple's audio accessory production, with even older models like wired EarPods having been produced in the country, and it looks like there's no sign of a slowdown. In fact, a report earlier this week claimed that Apple's over-ear "AirPods Studio" headphones will be partly produced in Vietnam from their debut for the first time, with shipments expected to begin in June or July.

Production of Apple products in Vietnam may also be expanding to the iPhone, as DigiTimes reported yesterday that Apple has asked its iPhone manufacturing partners to expand production in India and Vietnam. Key partner Foxconn already has significant assembly facilities in the country.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: AirPods Pro Starting to Be Assembled in Vietnam
 
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mediacomposer

macrumors member
Jun 21, 2010
31
21
Boston, MA
Doesn't matter really when their firmware (designed in the US) is absolute garbage. The latest one last week made a crackling in the right bud so bad I have to get it replaced - A+ trillion dollar QA team there guys.
 

omenatarhuri

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2010
654
118
Well done Tim Apple!
- - Post merged: - -

I'm not going to buy anything 'Made In China' anymore. It's quite tough and companies like Samsung need to advertise their products are made in Korea. Apple and Microsoft need to do the same.
I mean you can't buy pretty much anything at all in that case. I bet even the on these 'assembled in Vietnam' products the majority of the component supply chain operates in China.
 

m4mario

macrumors regular
May 10, 2017
206
481
San Francisco Bay Area
I'm not going to buy anything 'Made In China' anymore. It's quite tough and companies like Samsung need to advertise their products are made in Korea. Apple and Microsoft need to do the same.
Its cheaper for Microsoft and Apple to lose your business than relocate from China for your sake. They are looking to diversify but not move out completely, and even that is extremely challenging.
 

bry.walkr

macrumors newbie
May 21, 2020
1
0
I ordered my AirPods Pros from Amazon on April 14th and they arrived with the "Assembled in Vietnam" on the back of the charging case.
 

Cole Slaw

macrumors 6502a
Oct 6, 2006
957
1,474
Canada
I wonder about the "Assembled In Vietnam" part, though.
Does that mean the components, or at least some of them, are still from China?
If so is being assembled in Vietnam enough to make them exempt from tariffs in a future U.S. - China trade war?
 
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jk1211

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2018
721
1,791
Its cheaper for Microsoft and Apple to lose your business than relocate from China for your sake. They are looking to diversify but not move out completely, and even that is extremely challenging.
It goes deeper than that. You can blame their government for 99.9% of the issues with China; including this current crisis. The people are mostly friendly nice quiet people; far more than the US as whole population for sure. Most get that but some dont, and that is where you get the China hate.

Its hard to take jobs away from millions of poor Chinese workers just because of their government. Its also hard to shift supply chains in months. It would take years and years since they have been built up.

This is a good first start though
 

Darth Tulhu

macrumors 6502a
Apr 10, 2019
579
861
Stop listening to the top-down American rhetoric, folks. Jingoism is foolish.

This here is business.

Apple is being smart in diversifying their supply chain because it makes sense to do so given the consequences that the current political climate in the US is inflicting on the business world.

Tim saw this coming roughly 4 years ago, which is why these devices are already coming from #not China.

This is when he figured it out:

download.jpg


:p
 

BaracksPhallusPalace

macrumors member
Apr 3, 2017
80
159
I was pleasantly surprised when the AirPod Pros I ordered off Amazon last week had "made in Vietnam" on the charging case. They also seem to be better quality than the 2 sets of series 1 AirPods I went through where the gaps in the plastic where the housing is glued together you could slide a piece of paper between. Vietnam is only communist in name these days, they aren't the totalitarian monstrosity like China has become under the CCP, so I'd rather my money go there.
 
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LizKat

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2004
6,384
34,793
Catskill Mountains
Some of the posts in here suggest that even if the writers have enough dough to buy a dozen sets of AirPods they wouldn't think of dropping a few bucks into an eye opening subscription to either the Financial Times or the Wall St. Journal.

But carry on. Always interesting to see how long a thread like this can persist on unvoiced political opinions (wrong forum for that, eh?!) rather than on anything to do with either the cost of doing business in the era of global trade or the diplomatic and political considerations of supply chains in East Asia... where China has more influence now than does the USA.... and where China has been engaged for some time in studying how to reduce its own reliance on US technology for the good of its own supply chains and economy... and where Vietnam is still playing catch-up.

Oh and by the way for those unaware, Vietnam is also definitely run by a distinctly communist government that enthusiastically uses a modified form of capitalism to conduct business and help its economy and citizens prosper.

So for those fascinated by abandoning US conduct of business in China primarily because the current US head of state has been engaged in a trade war with Xi, far be it from me to suggest moving this thread over to PRSI, but don't forget who won the right to form a government in a reunified Vietnam when the American war was over. It wasn't France, nor the USA, nor the erstwhile colonialist puppet government of South Vietnam. The main difference between China's president and Vietnam's prime minister is how many citizens say "how high" when either one of those heads of state says "jump". And as Americans have already learned in both countries, that can apply to managers of foreign manufacturing companies that locate supply chains in either one.

Both of these Asian countries (as well as Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and dare I say Taiwan as well) are interested in competitive economic partnerships with the USA and not in being subsumed by any particular US flavor of the month politics. I'd assume that's the case for US companies too, whether considering their business abroad or at home.

Most of us are not CEOs of American behemoths with supply chains in Asia. Talking about moving them is cheap. Way cheaper than getting up to speed on the subject anyway, eh?


Well this one's free for the looking (aka second hand reporting off a paywalled piece)



For those inclined to shell out for a subscription to the FT

or the WSJ

 

Unregistered 4U

macrumors 65816
Jul 22, 2002
1,093
616
I wonder about the "Assembled In Vietnam" part, though.
Does that mean the components, or at least some of them, are still from China?
If so is being assembled in Vietnam enough to make them except from tariffs in a future U.S. - China trade war?
From the original story:
China's GoerTek, one of Apple's key contract manufacturers, will this summer begin testing the resilience of its manufacturing processes for the newest generation of ‌AirPods‌ at its audio factory in northern Vietnam

Sooooo, not made IN China, but still made BY China? Like, the money is still flowing to China. As long as China can get most folks to focus on that “Made In Vietnam piece“, then no trade war?
 

Morgenland

macrumors 6502a
May 28, 2009
753
733
Europe
I'm not going to buy anything 'Made In China' anymore. It's quite tough and companies like Samsung need to advertise their products are made in Korea. Apple and Microsoft need to do the same.
Do you run through the streets naked?
Their share of the world textile market in 2017 was 43.1 %. Export volume 2018: ($ billion: China 118.53; India 18.11; Germany 14.79; US 13.82; Italy 12.72)
 
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CWallace

macrumors 604
Aug 17, 2007
7,163
3,110
Seattle, WA
I wonder about the "Assembled In Vietnam" part, though.
Does that mean the components, or at least some of them, are still from China? If so is being assembled in Vietnam enough to make them except from tariffs in a future U.S. - China trade war?
It sounds like the tariffs apply only to products assembled in China so Air Pods assembled in Vietnam from components shipped from China would not be subject to said tariffs.
 

JCCL

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2010
763
701
Doesn't matter really when their firmware (designed in the US) is absolute garbage. The latest one last week made a crackling in the right bud so bad I have to get it replaced - A+ trillion dollar QA team there guys.
LOL, exactly my experience. No matter how much amount of sucking and cleaning I have made on the right Airpod, as some has suggested, the crackling sound is getting worse and worse. Now, whenever I go out in a walk with my dog (my only activity outdoors these days) I need to hope no one makes a loud noise that would cause that annoying sound, and I have to remain completely silent not to trigger it.

Quite an experience for 250 premiums earbuds. And can't get it fixed because all the Authorized Service providers are still closed.
 

NavySilver

macrumors member
Aug 4, 2012
39
114
New York, NY
Some of the posts in here suggest that even if the writers have enough dough to buy a dozen sets of AirPods they wouldn't think of dropping a few bucks into an eye opening subscription to either the Financial Times or the Wall St. Journal.

But carry on. Always interesting to see how long a thread like this can persist on unvoiced political opinions (wrong forum for that, eh?!) rather than on anything to do with either the cost of doing business in the era of global trade or the diplomatic and political considerations of supply chains in East Asia... where China has more influence now than does the USA.... and where China has been engaged for some time in studying how to reduce its own reliance on US technology for the good of its own supply chains and economy... and where Vietnam is still playing catch-up.

Oh and by the way for those unaware, Vietnam is also definitely run by a distinctly communist government that enthusiastically uses a modified form of capitalism to conduct business and help its economy and citizens prosper.

So for those fascinated by abandoning US conduct of business in China primarily because the current US head of state has been engaged in a trade war with Xi, far be it from me to suggest moving this thread over to PRSI, but don't forget who won the right to form a government in a reunified Vietnam when the American war was over. It wasn't France, nor the USA, nor the erstwhile colonialist puppet government of South Vietnam. The main difference between China's president and Vietnam's prime minister is how many citizens say "how high" when either one of those heads of state says "jump". And as Americans have already learned in both countries, that can apply to managers of foreign manufacturing companies that locate supply chains in either one.

Both of these Asian countries (as well as Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and dare I say Taiwan as well) are interested in competitive economic partnerships with the USA and not in being subsumed by any particular US flavor of the month politics. I'd assume that's the case for US companies too, whether considering their business abroad or at home.

Most of us are not CEOs of American behemoths with supply chains in Asia. Talking about moving them is cheap. Way cheaper than getting up to speed on the subject anyway, eh?


Well this one's free for the looking (aka second hand reporting off a paywalled piece)



For those inclined to shell out for a subscription to the FT

or the WSJ

Exactly, way easier said than done. Can't believe consumers and stakeholders of one of the most globalized companies in the world can so proudly endorse economic nationalism, without realizing the ramifications.
 

Velli

macrumors member
Feb 1, 2013
62
44
From the original story:
China's GoerTek, one of Apple's key contract manufacturers, will this summer begin testing the resilience of its manufacturing processes for the newest generation of ‌AirPods‌ at its audio factory in northern Vietnam

Sooooo, not made IN China, but still made BY China? Like, the money is still flowing to China. As long as China can get most folks to focus on that “Made In Vietnam piece“, then no trade war?
Exactly. Trump somehow manages to pursuade a big chunk of americans that making american workers pay extra for products from China, at best pushing suppliers to move out of China and into Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand etc, somehow benefits american workers. And somehow China is still the bad guy... Wake up.
 

BGPL

macrumors 6502
May 4, 2016
285
615
California
Anywhere but China. It's going to be rough making that transition, especially in places like Amazon. I'm glad Trump started holding China accountable for their biased trade agreements. There was lots of crying when he started doing that a few years back but now everyone's eyes have been opened and it's plain to see it was the right move. At this point, if we start to lose China, it will force US companies to source elsewhere.

Let it begin.
 
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