Korean Companies Battling to Enter Apple Car Supply Chain
Apple is in the process of selecting suppliers for its long-rumored electric vehicle, according to a report from Korea's ETNews.
The report claims that Apple representatives visited South Korea in December last year to meet with local suppliers, following a preliminary visit in the summer of 2021. In particular, Apple is said to be looking for a number of vehicle electronic parts manufacturers with experience in mass production to provide core components for the vehicle.
Apple's interest in Korean manufacturers has purportedly led to a heated battle to secure a place in Apple's supply chain, and some suppliers are said to have formed a "Task Force" to actively respond to Apple's requests. Sources claim that Apple offered equity investment to at least one local electronic parts manufacturer in return for doubled production capacity.
Suppliers have purportedly not been given exact information about the vehicle's specifications due to discussions still being at an early stage. Even so, suppliers are said to be conscious of the need for confidentiality with Apple's vehicle project, with there being concern that leaks would likely lead to the company being removed as a supplier candidate.
Apple is reported to have a special interest in Korea's battery manufacturing capabilities and discussed electric vehicle batteries with LG and SK. Apple has allegedly insisted that it wants to develop and manufacture Apple car battery materials directly and requested intense secrecy. Some suppliers have refused the opportunity to work with Apple due to the high level of control it demanded.
After initiating face-to-face contact with some of the suppliers, Apple plans to continue discussions via online meetings. Apple is expected to complete the selection of suppliers for its vehicle by the end of 2022, followed by the initiation of full-scale development, public announcement, and mass production within the next two to three years.
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