Apple Urges Chinese AirPods Supplier to Expand and Challenge Foxconn for iPhone Assembly

by

Apple has reportedly advised its Chinese AirPods assembler Luxshare to make a major investment in Catcher Technology, a Taiwanese firm that makes the metal casing for iPhone and MacBooks.

According to sources who spoke to Nikkei Asian Review, Apple hopes the move will create a "formidable" alternative to its longtime supplier, Taiwan's Foxconn.

Luxshare-ICT, a fast-rising Chinese tech company known for its aggressive growth strategy, has been in talks with Catcher Technology, the world's second-largest metal casing provider, for more than a year and has recently entered a deeper round of negotiations, said one of the people who is familiar with the situation.

The deal, if realized, would give Luxshare the ability to produce high-quality metal casing as well as access to smartphone assembly know-how, which would take it a step closer to becoming the Chinese version of Foxconn -- a single company with operations that span nearly the entire electronics supply chain. Such a move could ultimately help Luxshare grab a share of ‌iPhone‌ production, which ships around 200 million units each year.

Apple is said to be keen to reduce its reliance on Foxconn, which has accounted for more than 50 percent of ‌iPhone‌ production since Apple launched the device in 2007. Diversifying the Cupertino giant's assembly supply chain would also make it less vulnerable to local economic instabilities and allow it to negotiate better prices with manufacturers.

Apple is continually seeking to broaden its supply options around the globe, and has even gone so far as to invest its own money in companies to keep them afloat. One recent example is its multi-million bailout provision for LCD panel maker Japan Display, which Apple wants to see become a future OLED panel supplier and thereby reduce its reliance on Samsung.

Whether Catcher goes through with any deal remains to be seen. While such a situation would be a win-win for Apple, the benefits to suppliers are less clear-cut as they are likely to shoulder more of the risk of such an investment if consumer demand sours amid the global economic downturn linked to the ongoing health crisis.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
13 weeks ago
Yes please! Let’s keep making Chinese manufacturing stronker. /s

Apple’s hypocrisy on human rights and democracy is getting sickening.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 weeks ago
Translation:folks please fight it out so I can reap more benefits
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 weeks ago
I thought [S]Foxconn was also a Chinese company, and[/S] that Apple wanted to reduce their dependence on Chinese companies?

Edit: Responses have corrected me - Foxconn is Taiwanese, not Chinese. I guess that makes things even worse, as far as diversifying to be less reliant on China.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 weeks ago
Just reminds me of when I did customer support for Apple.

I think they had about 12 companies contracted out to do it (plus their own internal customer support—those were the employees treated nicely).

They had the companies fight over dog scraps. The company could lose the contract at a moment's notice, which we were constantly reminded of and did in fact happen at one of the companies I worked for (I did this as a gig at two different contractors). And actually I didn't even work for the contractor. I "provided work," meaning I worked for myself (same situation with Uber, etc).

Maybe Apple should use their money to build something, like have actual Apple-employed employees build actual physical objects (like manufacturing equipment and products), instead of lobbying Congress into letting them repatriate money they made overseas without paying full taxes on it or instead of all their share buybacks.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 weeks ago


More competition = higher profits for Apple

Fixed that for you.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 weeks ago


Just reminds me of when I did customer support for Apple.

I think they had about 12 companies contracted out to do it (plus their own internal customer support—those were the employees treated nicely).

They had the companies fight over dog scraps. The company could lose the contract at a moment's notice, which we were constantly reminded of and did in fact happen at one of the companies I worked for (I did this as a gig at two different contractors). And actually I didn't even work for the contractor. I "provided work," meaning I worked for myself (same situation with Uber, etc).

Maybe Apple should use their money to build something, like have actual Apple-employed employees build actual physical objects (like manufacturing equipment and products), instead of lobbying Congress into letting them repatriate money they made overseas without paying full taxes on it or instead of all their share buybacks.

Unbelievable. The last thing Apple should do is increase its dependence on China.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Supposed iPhone 12 Display Unit Leaks

Thursday August 6, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
An image supposedly of an iPhone 12 display unit has been shared online by leaker "Twitter user Mr. White". Compared to images of an iPhone 11 Pro display piece, this new unit has a reoriented display connector, reaching up from the bottom of the display, rather than from the left-hand side on iPhone 11 Pro. This may be due to the logic board moving to the other side of the device. A...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

Apple Seeds iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta 4 to Testers

Thursday August 6, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded new public betas of upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group. Today's software releases, which Apple labels as fourth betas to keep them in line with developer betas, are actually the third betas that Apple has provided and they come two weeks after the prior beta releases. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing...

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Google's $349 Pixel 4a vs. Apple's $399 iPhone SE

Wednesday August 5, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by
Google this week launched its newest smartphone, the $349 Pixel 4a, a low-cost device that's designed to compete with other affordable devices like Apple's iPhone SE. We picked up one of the new Pixel 4a smartphones and thought we'd check it out to see how it measures up to the iPhone SE, given that the two devices have such similar price points. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel ...

2020 iMac Benchmarks Surface Online [Updated]

Thursday August 6, 2020 7:16 am PDT by
Benchmarks from the new 2020 iMac have today been shared online by Mac Otakara. The Geekbench benchmarks are from the newly-released 27-inch iMac with 3.0GHz Intel Core i5 processor and Radeon Pro 5300 graphics, compared to multiple specs of the previous 2019 iMac. The lowest spec 27-inch i5 iMac from 2020 performs about 20 percent better in multicore than the lowest spec 27-inch i5...

New 27-Inch iMac's Storage Affixed to Logic Board, 4TB and 8TB Configurations Have Expansion Connector

Friday August 7, 2020 7:46 am PDT by
Following a report from German blog iFun.de that claimed the new 27-inch iMac's flash storage is soldered to the logic board, MacRumors has obtained additional information in an internal document for Apple technicians. In the document, Apple says that the flash storage is indeed affixed to the logic board and cannot be removed. However, for the 4TB and 8TB configurations, Apple says that a...

Microsoft's xCloud and Xbox Game Pass Not Coming to iOS Due to Apple's Restrictions [Updated]

Thursday August 6, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Microsoft's "Project xCloud" streaming game service that pairs with its Xbox Game Pass won't be available on iPhone and iPad when it launches this September, and Apple's App Store restrictions are to blame. Xbox Game Pass and its accompanying xCloud streaming feature offer access to hundreds of games that can be streamed to mobile devices, and Apple says that because it can't review each...

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...

Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Z Fold 2, and Galaxy Buds to Compete With Apple's iPhones and AirPods Pro

Wednesday August 5, 2020 10:07 am PDT by
Samsung today held a virtual Galaxy Unpacked event where it unveiled its next-generation smartphones that will compete with Apple's 2020 iPhone lineup, set to come out in the fall. Samsung announced the launch of the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the two newest devices in the Note lineup, and, more notably, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung's latest foldable smartphone. The...