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  World   Americas  30 Jan 2017  Donald Trump eyes Apple share of iPhone production

Donald Trump eyes Apple share of iPhone production

AFP
Published : Jan 30, 2017, 6:10 am IST
Updated : Jan 30, 2017, 6:10 am IST

Apple benefits in Asia from a network that goes beyond sub-contractors assembling smartphones, tablets or laptops.

Donald Trump has vowed to force Apple to bring production to US.
 Donald Trump has vowed to force Apple to bring production to US.

San Francisco: As US President Donald Trump pushes hard for goods to be “made in America,” how realistic is it to expect Apple to stop manufacturing its iconic devices in China?

The newly inaugurated President had vowed during campaigning that he would force Apple to bring production to US soil.

Yet, as other big companies have sought to appease the new administration with promises of jobs or investments in the US, Apple has stayed low-profile.

Major Apple contractor Foxconn this month confirmed that it is considering a $7-billion investment to make flat panels in the US in a joint project with Japan’s SoftBank.

“I have discussed with my major clients about going to (the US) and they are also willing to invest, including Apple,” Foxconn founder Terry Gou said in Taipei. Taiwan-based Foxconn has given no details, and Apple did not comment.

Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry says moving manufacturing to the US was more logical than a political one. “You need to manufacture local products in local markets,” he said. Making things locally gives better control of distribution networks and lets manufacturers customise goods for local markets, he said.

Whether politically motivated or not, Apple is not in the same position as automakers which relocated US factories overseas to cut costs, according to IHS manufacturing processes chief analyst Dan Panzica. Apple never moved jobs offshore, it created them there. “The Apple jobs were never here,” Panzica said. “The entire supply chain grew in China,” Panzica added.

Apple benefits in Asia from a network that goes beyond sub-contractors assembling smartphones, tablets or laptops.

The California-based firm relies on a dense ecosystem of companies that make components and spare parts for its devices too. China also offers sources of important raw materials, along with cheap, flexible and abundant labour to keep iPhone assembly lines cranking along. It would be “very hard to replicate” that situation with US workers without using “more robotics and less workforce,” undermining the political aim of creating jobs here, according to Endpoint Technologies analyst Roger Kay.

Tags: donald trump, apple, iphone
Location: United States, California, San Francisco