Last week Apple published its supplier list for the fiscal year 2021. The document includes 98% of the company’s suppliers that are responsible for materials, manufacturing, and assembling of its products.
Analyzing the names of suppliers and the locations of their manufacturing sites, the Wall Street Journal writes that the tech giant added more manufacturing sites in California, the United States in 2021. However, Apple’s U.S. sites focus on small-scale production.
Of Apple’s more than 180 suppliers, 48 had manufacturing sites in the U.S. as of September 2021, up from 25 a year earlier, according to a supplier list released by Apple. More than 30 sites were in California, compared with fewer than 10 a year earlier.
The increase in Apple’s manufacturing sites in the U.S. is credited to President Biden and China’s policies
As revealed by the document, Apple’s supply chain still remains “overwhelmingly” dependent on East Asia and in particular China; over 150 suppliers of the company are centered in the region. For that reason, the company faced difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic in managing operations between California and China.
Even if operations are not as sophisticated as they are in large factories in China, officials said that it is helpful to have more manufacturing sites near Apple’s HQ.
Supplier officials said the operations in California typically aren’t large factories like those in China. Instead, the operations tend to be smaller-scale production lines, test lines for new products or service-related operations.
There were still occasions when it was helpful to be near Apple’s headquarters, especially when tests of materials and parts for new products were involved.
Boost in domestic manufacturing is accredited to President Joe Biden’s efforts to bring more high-tech manufacturing to the United States and China’s strict COVID-19 policies and tensions with the U.S.
President Biden has been pushing to bring more high-tech manufacturing to the U.S. and in August signed a law that includes more than $50 billion in direct aid for building semiconductor plants.
The California moves by Apple’s suppliers are part of a broader transition in its supply chain. Apple has told some of its manufacturing partners it wants them to boost production outside China, with Vietnam and India among the countries getting a closer look.