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Where was the iPhone made? From components to final assembly

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David Amell / Android Authority

It goes without saying that the iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world. Apple ships nearly a quarter of a billion units each year and the company controls a market share of nearly 20%. With so many phones flying off the shelves year after year, you might be wondering: Where was the iPhone made, and how does the latest model reach customers so quickly every generation? Let’s break it down.

Before Assembly: Where Do iPhone Components Come From?

iPhone burst display ifixit

While it is tempting to take Made in China Text on iPhone at face value, not everything that goes into making an Apple product comes from one place.

The iPhone screen, for example, is made by Samsung or LG in South Korea. On the other hand, flash memory and DRAM will likely come from Kioxia factories in Japan. Gorilla Glass that protects the screen could make its way from the Corning factory in the US, Taiwan or Japan. Meanwhile, Apple’s A-series SoC is a custom silicone designed in California but manufactured by Taiwan’s TSMC. We have barely scratched the surface with this list yet.

iPhone is based on electronic components sourced from different countries, including the USA.

Apple also relies on third parties for smaller, sometimes custom-made components such as power management integrated circuits, USB microcontrollers, wireless chips, and OLED drivers. It can be obtained from large companies such as Broadcom and Texas Instruments as well as smaller manufacturers in Southeast Asia. Elsewhere in the world, Apple has even tried to secure raw cobalt directly from miners to make sure shortages don’t affect its ability to manufacture iPhone batteries.

Choosing a supplier is very important and not just for quality control reasons. Apple, along with other Silicon Valley giants, has been accused of relying on child labor and unethical mining practices to cut costs. Needless to say, such allegations can lead to costly lawsuits and negative publicity for the company.

Final production: Where are iPhones manufactured and assembled?

Apple iPhone 14 Plus Back Standing

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With unique components out of the way, who makes the iPhone before it gets to you? Factories in China used to assemble every iPhone, but that’s starting to change now.

However, most of the factories dedicated to iPhone assembly are still located in China. The largest, operated by manufacturing partner Foxconn, is located in Zhengzhou and employs more than 300,000 workers. According to many accounts, the complex is more like a small town than a typical industrial outpost. That’s not surprising given that Foxconn assembles over half a million iPhones in a single day here. But this may not last forever as Apple looks to move some production to neighboring countries such as India and Vietnam.

Apple has recently diversified its iPhone production outside of China, with India and Vietnam emerging as the top choices.

Apple isn’t the only consumer electronics company to diversify out of China recently. Both Samsung and Xiaomi have had great success in other Asian countries as well. The China Plus One strategy is becoming a popular business strategy as companies look to achieve lower operating costs and reduce their dependence on one region.

Both Asian countries offer advantages to foreign investors looking to set up manufacturing facilities. It also provides geopolitical and economic stability – factors that severely impacted Apple’s iPhone production in China. These bottlenecks even forced the company to issue a press release warning of longer waiting times for delivery.

Why does Apple assemble products in Vietnam?

Vietnam is strategically located for global shipping – the country is in close geographic proximity to Apple’s existing supply chain footholds such as China, Taiwan, Japan, and others. It also has free trade agreements with other East Asian countries and is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Finally, Vietnam’s economy is entirely dependent on exports. From agricultural products to clothing to electronics, the country has benefited greatly from the diversification of Western companies outside of China.

Apple moves a large part of the production of iPad, Macbook and Airpods to Vietnam.

Apple isn’t entirely new in Vietnam — the company has already bundled smaller products like wired EarPods into the country. According to a source cited by Nikkei, Apple began assembling AirPods in Vietnam in March 2020. The high-end AirPods Pro quickly followed. Now, Apple is moving a large percentage of the iPad, MacBook, and Apple Watch production to Vietnam as well.

The Cupertino giant plans to achieve these goals through its manufacturing partners Foxconn, Pegatron and Wistron. According to local news reports, Apple began assembly at 11 factories operated by various manufacturers in Vietnam as of early 2022. Around that time, Foxconn also won a license from the Vietnamese government to build a $270 million assembly plant in Bac County. Jiangyin, less than 50 miles from the capital, Hanoi. The facility will reportedly have enough capacity to ship eight million laptops and tablets annually.

Why is the iPhone now made in India?

Foxconn Logo

India, Apple’s second favorite manufacturing destination, offers strong incentives to local manufacturing compared to many of its neighbors. the government made in India The initiative has been a huge success. In 2020, it launched a $6 billion production-related incentive plan that rewards brands for setting up local manufacturing of smartphones and electronic components.

Android brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Samsung have already joined the Make in India initiative with a range of in-house and offshore manufacturing facilities. Some examples of the latter include Bharat FIH and Dixon Technologies, which assembles Xiaomi and Samsung smartphones.

Given these success stories, it’s no surprise that Apple is striving to follow suit. It also helps that its largest partner, Foxconn, has a really strong presence in India. Bharat FIH mentioned above is a subsidiary of Foxconn Technology Group.

The Indian government offers smartphone makers various financial incentives to set up local factories.

Apple’s decision to move its assembly lines to India may also increase iPhone market share in the region. Currently, India imposes a customs duty of 22% on imported smartphones. This makes the iPhone significantly more expensive in the country than in most Western markets.

However, with domestic production, Apple can avoid these high import duties and can pass the savings on to consumers. In fact, the company has already followed this strategy with its previous generation iPhone models, which it is already assembling in the country. Although the latest iPhones are selling at a significant premium in India, older models often get big discounts – most likely due to the aforementioned tax breaks.

By assembling the iPhone in India, Apple could avoid high import duties and build a share in the local market.

With the iPhone 14, Apple started assembling current generation iPhone models in India for the first time. The company hired Foxconn for the job, specifically the last Sriperumbudur plant in Tamil Nadu. However, Apple only opted to move a small percentage of its iPhone 14 production from China to India – an estimated 5% right after launch.

Who will make Apple products like the iPhone in the future?

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Robert Treggs / Android Authority

Even with Apple’s migration to South and East Asia, the bulk of the company’s production facilities will remain in China. Many major electronic components are still sourced from the region. Moreover, China still has a significant amount of manufacturing infrastructure already in place. However, the country’s dominance is likely to diminish over time. However, Apple’s existing factory partners will benefit either way as they will continue to build and operate facilities even outside of China.

We have already discussed why Apple would like to move assembly to Vietnam and India in the coming years. Financial forecasts expect the shift to happen sooner rather than later. In a note to clients of the company, a JPMorgan analyst said the following:

Vietnam is emerging as a production center for components (camera modules) and EMS for smaller size products (Apple Watch, Mac, iPads) and is already a major destination for manufacturing AirPods. For iPhone EMS, India appears to be the preferred place to diversify the supply chain away from China.

The analyst further estimated that Apple will move about 25% of its iPhone production to India and 65% of its AirPods assembly to Vietnam by 2025. Other products that may also see some assembly away from China include the iPad, MacBook and Apple Watch.

In conclusion, there is no single answer as to where the iPhone is made. While final assembly takes place in only two or three countries, the iPhone’s individual components and raw materials come from almost every corner of the world.