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Apple Backs AirPods Assembler Luxshare to Move into iPhone 12 Production Early

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Luxshare, Apple's key assembler of AirPods, is reportedly attempting to break into iPhone manufacturing ahead of schedule, a move backed by Apple and aimed at challenging Taiwanese rival Foxconn's dominance in the iPhone supply chain.


Earlier this year, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo mentioned the possibility of Luxshare pushing into the iPhone assembly business, starting with small-scale production of older iPhones and Apple Watch models. However, Nikkei today cites multiple sources claiming that Luxshare is already studying production of the new iPhone 12 mini at a Chinese plant that it is in the process of buying from Wistron.
The plant is in charge of roughly 20% of total orders for the iPhone 12 mini, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

"Luxshare is working with Wistron in making the latest iPhone 12 mini in Kunshan. [But] its pace for reaching a satisfactory production performance is slow. There's still a lot of room for Luxshare to learn," an executive-level source familiar with the situation said.
The move is said to be unusual because the purchase of the plant is not final, and Apple doesn't normally allow outside employees to visit suppliers' manufacturing sites, especially during the height of iPhone production season.

Luxshare bought Wistron's iPhone assembly plant in Kunshan, China, for $499 million in July to shore up its manufacturing links with Apple. Wistron has been an iPhone manufacturer itself since 2015, with plants in China and India, and Apple reportedly asked Wistron to share some of its iPhone production expertise with Luxshare as part of the deal.

Kuo previously said he believes Luxshare Precision will become a key ‌iPhone‌ case component supplier by the second half of 2021. The company is said to have a unique vertical integration advantage because it also provides many ‌iPhone‌ parts and accessories to Apple.

In related news reported earlier this week, Apple has suspended its partnership with Chinese-based Pegatron after it discovered that the major iPhone supplier was committing labor violations at a student workers' program. While Pegatron's current ‌iPhone‌ business is not expected to be affected, Bloomberg reported that it could lose some iPhone 12 orders to Luxshare next year.

Article Link: Apple Backs AirPods Assembler Luxshare to Move into iPhone 12 Production Early
 

mtneer

macrumors 68030
Sep 15, 2012
2,962
2,249
Very interesting to see how the analysis comes out for Apple to move production from Taiwan into the PRC, with all that has transpired over the past few years.
 
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fjfjfjfj

macrumors 6502
Mar 20, 2009
304
100
New York, NY
I ordered an Apple Watch Edition this year, which is finally shipping this week, and I saw from the UPS tracking it was coming from “Luxshare.” I didn’t know what that was until this article.
I’m guessing Apple must be somewhat happy with Luxshare’s work if they are trusting them with models like the Apple Watch Edition?
 
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aaadktda

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2019
75
169
Very interesting to see how the analysis comes out for Apple to move production from Taiwan into the PRC, with all that has transpired over the past few years.
They are not moving from Taiwan to China. Foxconn has many factories in China where it makes Apple products.
 
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JPack

macrumors 604
Mar 27, 2017
6,706
11,256
You don’t need a crystal ball to predict the inevitable. Foxconn doesn’t do Watch or AirPods assembly. And those are Apple’s highest growth businesses.

Inventec and Quanta used to be the sole assembler of AirPods and Watch. Now they’ve been excluded and replaced by Goertek and Luxshare.

This is clearly not about labor costs, rather engineering capabilities. Mainland Chinese companies have higher capabilities because they also supply components for the world’s largest smartphone brands like Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi. And that expertise helped when Apple adopted 5G. As a result, Luxshare now makes the LCP anetnna for Apple.

In the end, this is a numbers game. Largest market in the world means the birth of the largest domestic suppliers. And with China having the largest economy in the world as acknowledged by the IMF, this momentum will only continue.
 
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