COVID-19 forces temporary closures for Apple factories in Vietnam

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Don’t let your opinion of Vietnam be stuck decades in the past.
Apple produces a growing number of products in Vietnam.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Marcus Nguyen/Pexels CC

The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on Apple’s supply chain (as well as everywhere else), with two Apple suppliers ordered to temporarily shutter factories in Vietnam as a result of a surge of COVID cases in the region.

The companies in question, Foxconn and Luxshare Precision, operate plants in Vietnam’s northern region. The area has seen a big rise in cases, including two over the weekend at Luxshare’s plant in Van Trung Industrial Park.

“They are implementing our request to temporarily close down entire factories and we will send health officials in to help them reorganize to be able to quickly resume operations and restrain the virus’ spread at the same time,” Le Anh Duong, chairman of the People’s Committee of Bac Giang Province, told Bloomberg. “We hope to resume operations of these factories in two weeks to limit disruptions to the global supply chain.”

In total, four industrial parks in the area — Van Trung, Quang Chau, Dinh Tram and Song Khe-Noi Hoang — have all been ordered to close. It is not clear when they will be reopening.

Apple manufacturing in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the places Apple has been gradually shifting production over the past few years. This ramped up during the President Trump era due to trade tariff battles with China. It’s not clear exactly which Apple products are produced at the factories mentioned in this report. However, Vietnam does build some iPad, Mac and AirPods. If the factories remain shuttered for long, that could have an impact on availability worldwide.

Apple manufacturing has been rocked by coronavirus. Last year, the closure of factories in China ultimately resulted in the iPhone 12 shipping late. More recently, the problem has involved the worldwide chip shortage, spurred by COVID. This will likely make some products tougher to find.

Apple also recently ran into problems regarding its factories in India. Last week it was reported that more than 50% of one Foxconn factory’s production capacity has reportedly been cut as a result.

Apple is doing the smart thing by spreading its manufacturing facilities around the world. But when it comes to a global crisis like this, even that move isn’t enough to solve production challenges.

Source: BNN Bloomberg