Apple's suppliers gain as demand for iPhone X soars

Delivery times for the new iPhone X lengthened to as much as six weeks in the United States last Friday.
Delivery times for the new iPhone X lengthened to as much as six weeks in the United States last Friday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TAIPEI • Apple's biggest suppliers, from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) to Hon Hai Precision Industry, climbed yesterday after delivery times for the iPhone X stretched to as much as six weeks in the United States, underscoring demand for the marquee smartphone.

Shares in Hon Hai, the main assembler of Apple devices, climbed by as much as 3.6 per cent in Taipei.

TSMC, the US company's biggest chip supplier, rose by as much as 2.5 per cent to a record.

Other suppliers, from AAC Technologies Holdings in Hong Kong to Lens Technology in mainland China, also advanced, tracking Apple's own gains last Friday.

Apple, which says demand for its signature gadget is "off the charts", began taking orders for the iPhone X last Friday and - within minutes - shipping times lengthened to as much as six weeks in the US.

That suggested tight supply over the holiday season, when retailers make the majority of their revenue.

The US company was also said to have struggled to make enough of its costliest device, in part because of quality issues with the sensors that make Face ID possible.

The pre-orders situation is "easing concerns that demand for the iPhone X might not meet expectations", Bloomberg Intelligence said in a report over the weekend.

"Telecom carrier reports of relatively weak demand for the iPhone 8 stoked these fears."

Around the world, Apple fans posted images and comments online last Friday about how they were planning to get their hands on one of the US$999 (S$1,364) - or more - phones.

In Hong Kong, the phone appeared to sell out less than half an hour after ordering began, with the online store there showing the phone as "currently unavailable". It was a similar story across Asia.

Waiting several weeks for major new Apple devices has become common. Shipping times for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, launched in 2014, extended to as much as four weeks in the hours after becoming available for pre-order.

Apple typically takes a few weeks or months to reach a balance of supply and demand for major new iPhone launches.

The iPhone X has a crisper Oled screen with slimmer bezels, in addition to a unique facial recognition scanner.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2017, with the headline 'Apple's suppliers gain as demand for iPhone X soars'. Print Edition | Subscribe