Apple shifts Mac Pro production away from US to China

Posted at 11:15 AM, Jun 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-28 13:15:17-04

Apple is reportedly shifting production for its new Mac Pro computer from the United States to China.

The company’s latest Mac Pro computer will not undergo final assembly in Austin, Texas, as its previous version did, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Apple will now partner with Quanta Computer in China — closer to Apple’s other factories. The effort could help reduce costs related to shipping components to the United States for the last production step, the report said.

The move comes amid growing trade tensions between the Trump administration and China.

“Final assembly is only one part of the manufacturing process,” Apple said in a statement to CNN Business.

“Like all of our products, the new Mac Pro is designed and engineered in California and includes components from several countries including the United States,” Apple’s statement said.

The company said it supports manufacturing facilities in 30 states and spent $60 billion last year with more than 9,000 US suppliers.

In 2012, Apple pledged to invest $100 million in the Austin plant.

Quanta Computers and Flex, which runs the plant in Austin, have not yet responded to requests for comment.

Apple’s interest in increasing its plant footprint and jobs in the United States has been a talking point for President Donald Trump. During his presidential campaign, he said he would “get Apple to to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of other countries.”

Trump later said Apple CEO Tim Cook “promised” to build “three big plants, beautiful plants” in the US.

“I said you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success,” Trump told the Journal at the time. “He called me, and he said they are going forward.”

Apple manufactures its iPhone and iPad displays, made by Corning, in a factory in Kentucky, and uses cell and wifi radios built in Texas by Avago Technologies.

The company’s Austin production, where Mac Pro computers are put together and receive an “Assembled in the USA” stamp, is relatively small compared to that of the iPhone, which is manufactured in China and other countries. The Mac Pro, which starts at $6,000, is a niche product designed for professional users who need it for production rendering and video editing.

The Mac Pro computer recently received its first design update in six years. Many social media users lampooned the new look, calling it reminiscent of a cheese grater.

It was designed by Jony Ive, Apple’s chief designer who famously designed the iPhone, Apple’s iconic candy-colored iMacs and its spaceship-shaped headquarters. The company announced on Thursday he is leaving the company after 30 years.

The company has not yet announced the launch date of the new Mac Pro computer.