(Reuters) – Apple Inc is working with more Chinese suppliers to produce its latest iPhones, Japan’s Nikkei newspaper said on Wednesday, as a tech feud stemming from a trade war with the United States prompts Beijing to strengthen domestic firms.
The iPhone maker has warned of supply shortages as the U.S.-China trade tensions and the coronavirus pandemic have intensified pressure on global supply chains.
Beijing is also strengthening efforts to create world-leading local tech firms, with apparently government-supported Chinese firms working to manufacture products for global firms including Apple.
According to the Nikkei report, China’s Luxshare Precision Industry Co Ltd is set to build up to 3% of the iPhone 13 series, Lens Tech Co Ltd will supply metal casings and Sunny Optical Tech Group Co Ltd will supply rear camera lenses. BOE Tech Group Co Ltd will also supply components.
Apple boss Tim Cook in July said there were “some shortages” and that it was difficult to get the entire set of parts within the lead times.
“The company is pulling all the levers it can, from a global supply-chain standpoint (including China) to minimize the disruption to its sales,” said Tom Forte, an analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co.
“Tim Cook is part CEO and part diplomat… Cook has proven capable at enabling Apple to continue to leverage China from a supply-chain standpoint and generate a lot of revenue from selling products to Chinese consumers.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Taiwan-based Foxconn has set up a task force to fend off the growing clout of Chinese electronics manufacturer Luxshare to look into whether the company is supported by any Chinese government entity, Reuters reported last year.
Luxshare won orders over Foxconn and Pegatron Corp, and will start building the iPhone 13 Pro this month, the paper said.
(Reporting by Derek Francis and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)