Apple moves Mac Pro production from US to China, Wall Street Journal reports

Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) and Apple chief design officer Jony Ive look at the new Mac Pro during the 2019 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Apple will manufacture its new Mac Pro computer in China, moving production of what had been its only major device assembled in the US, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The company will use Quanta Computer to make the US$6,000 (S$8,000) desktop computer and is ramping up production at a factory near Shanghai, the Journal reported on Friday (June 28), citing people familiar with the matter.

The news comes as China and the US are embroiled in a trade war, with the Trump administration having imposed billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese-made goods.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump are scheduled to discuss the tariffs at a highly-anticipated meeting during the Group of 20 summit in Japan on Saturday.

Trump has called out Apple specifically in the past asking it to move more of its production from China to the US.

Apple shares fell 1 per cent on the news to US$197.58 in New York.

"Like all of our products, the new Mac Pro is designed and engineered in California and includes components from several countries including the United States," Apple said in a statement.

"We're proud to support manufacturing facilities in 30 US states and last year we spent US$60 billion with over 9,000 suppliers across the US. Our investment and innovation supports 2 million American jobs. Final assembly is only one part of the manufacturing process."

By producing the Mac Pro at Quanta's facility, which is close to other Apple suppliers around Asia, it will allow Apple to take advantage of lower shipping costs than if it shipped components to the US, the Journal said.

The last Mac Pro, in 2013, Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook made a show of manufacturing the computer in Austin, Texas, as part of the company's US$100 million Made-in-the-USA push.

For more than a year, Apple avoided major damage from the US trade war with China, thanks in part to a White House charm offensive by Cook.

But the recent round of tariffs proposed by the US includes mobile phones, such as the iPhone, Apple's most-important product that is made almost entirely in China.

Laptops and tablets may also be encumbered with the 25 per cent import levy.

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