MacBook production could leave China for the first time as Apple shakes things up

13-inch MacBook Pro (2022)
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / iMore)

Apple is reportedly ready to move yet more production away from China, with MacBooks set to be built outside the country for the first time.

While all MacBooks are currently produced in Chinese factories, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple may move at least some production elsewhere.

A global game

Speaking via a series of tweets, Kuo said that Apple is set to move production of MacBooks set for sale outside of China to Thailand, while those sold inside China would still be built there. That's something that Apple is also reportedly working to do across its product lines, including iPhones.

Apple has been working to reduce its reliance on China in recent years, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns caused chaos with its manufacturing capabilities. Moving production out of China would also help ease any tariff issues Apple could otherwise have to deal with moving forward.

Beyond the move of MacBook production, Apple is also reportedly looking at using Indian company Tata Group alongside Pegatron or Wistron "to develop the iPhone assembly business." Currently, more than 80% of the iPhones — including iPhone 14 —  made in India are sold there and Apple looks set to try to change those proportions.

Kuo believes that the long-term plan is to have non-Chinese markets catered for by international production facilities, while products sold inside Chinese territories would be built there, too.

Ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in China have caused various supply problems over the last two years, with iPhones, MacBooks, and even AirPods almost impossible to get hold of at times. Things have improved of late, but Apple was warning of iPhone supply chain problems as recently as April this year.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.