Apple Has Relied More on China-Based Engineers During Pandemic
Apple engineers in China have taken on greater responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, as travel restrictions and lockdowns have prevented Apple from sending as many U.S. engineers to the country as it normally would, according to The Wall Street Journal.
While key matters like product design are still handled at Apple's headquarters in California, the report claims that Apple has gradually given its China-based engineers more authority to resolve problems, with less input from U.S. employees.
For instance, instead of sending product- and assembly-related information from China to Cupertino for a decision, engineers in China would also include their analysis. And China-based engineers who in the past generally would have reported problems to Cupertino would instead send proposals for resolving the problem, the people said.
The report adds that Apple has used video calling to remotely communicate with Chinese employees to resolve factory issues and more, in an effort to keep pace with its annual product cycles, including new iPhone models each year.
China has imposed strict restrictions and/or lockdowns in cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Zhengzhou in recent weeks. Last month, Apple warned that its June quarter revenue would be impacted by a number of factors, including supply constraints caused by COVID-related disruptions and industrywide silicon shortages. Apple said it expected those constraints to result in a $4 billion to $8 billion impact on revenue for the quarter.
The disruptions have resulted in lengthy shipping estimates for several Apple products, such as the MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, and more.
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