Apple is trying to diversify its supply chain, but Chinese suppliers still make up the overwhelming majority, even though shares of US-based companies are growing exponentially.
The updated list of suppliers published by Apple (here in PDF) is based on data from September 2021, and from this it is clear that 150 of the nearly 180 subcontractors of the Cupertino multinational are based in China, compared to 48 in the US states. It should also be noted that some subcontractors may be represented in several countries at the same time. Remember that last year, Apple had only 25 US suppliers.
A few months ago, Qualcomm, TSMC, Sony, and even Foxconn had factories in the United States and especially in California, not far from Apple’s headquarters: there are about thirty locations within the state overlooking the Pacific Ocean.The list prepared by Apple does not provide details about the nature of relationships with different suppliers but these are facts that have an important role, for example in product lines. In relation to Italy, the Lodi office of Flex Limited, and the Lombard and Sicily offices of STMicroelectronics are mentioned.
According to others, the scalar multiplication of Apple’s suppliers in the US can be based on operations of much smaller dimensions, such as prototyping and testing, and therefore not for mass production and assembly as is so widely practiced in factory cities in China.
In any case, China’s days as the “factory of the world” are over according to various observers, merit/blame before the duties of the Trump era, but also to the always-on trade and political tensions between the US and China, and of course the pandemic. Apple has found itself highly dependent on China: a geographic diversification strategy has been known for some time and has already been underway, and now it is focusing heavily on India and Vietnam, but to move a large percentage of its production outside China is planned for years.