Apple’s key assembler of AirPods, Luxshare, is reportedly trying to move into the business of iPhone manufacturing ahead of schedule, starting with the production of iPhone 12 mini. This may be an attempt at challenging Taiwanese rival Foxconn’s market share in the iPhone supply chain.
Earlier this year, Luxshare bought Wistron’s iPhone assembly plant in Kunshan, China, for $499 million to take advantage of its manufacturing links with Apple. The Cupertino tech giant reportedly asked Wistron to share some of its knowledge of iPhone production with Luxshare as part of the deal.
Luxshare could begin production of iPhone 12 mini earlier than planned
Earlier this year, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo mentioned the possibility of Luxshare shifting into iPhone production business, starting with small-scale production of older iPhones and Apple Watch models by the second half of 2021. However, Nikkei cites multiple sources claiming that Luxshare is already studying the production of new iPhone 12 mini:
“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.”‘
iPhone 12 mini offers most of the high-end features of Apple’s flagship iPhone 12 lineup, at a lower price point. Starting at $699, the smartphone features 5G connectivity, Apple’s A14 processor, and a new iPad Pro-like flat edge-to-edge design. It comes in a smaller 5.4-inch form factor which is ideal for users who prefer a more compact device.
In related news, Apple recently suspended work with Pegatron, one of its biggest iPhone suppliers after Foxconn, due to labor violations. Though Pegatron went to great lengths to hide this from the company, it was caught and put on suspension until further notice.
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