Apple continues to rethink supply chain to get around US-China tensions

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Tim Cook speaking with a person on the iPhone production line.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s division of its supply chain into one part aimed at the China market and the other aimed at the rest of the world continues apace. The goal? Helping Apple get around rumbling trade tensions between the United States and China.

According to a Friday report from Digitimes, Apple is giving more orders to Chinese firms Luxshare Precision and BYD for the Apple Watch Series 6 and Wi-Fi iPad series, respectively.

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WeChat is threatened by Trump's executive order.
Photo: WeChat

Trump’s WeChat ban could cost Apple more than $25 billion per year

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WeChat logo
WeChat is threatened by Trump's executive order.
Photo: WeChat

A WeChat ban imposed by President Donald Trump could cost Apple more than $25 billion per year, claims a report published Monday.

Those numbers are based on the idea that 75% of iPhone and iPad sales could dry up in China. Apple would lose money not just from the missing device sales, but also from the resulting decline in its subscription services.

WeChat alternatives receive a boost following Trump’s executive order

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WeChat logo
WeChat is threatened by Trump's executive order.
Photo: WeChat

Downloads of encrypted messaging apps Signal and QQ reportedly spiked following President Donald Trump’s executive order targeting Tencent’s WeChat.

WeChat, while not particularly widely used in the United States, is an essential app in China. Many people who use it in the United States do so to keep in touch with friends and family in China, where WhatsApp has been banned since 2017.

Apple’s biggest supplier splits its manufacturing to avoid being hit with tariffs

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Tim Cook meets with a person working on the production line building iPhones.
Photo: Apple

Apple manufacturer Foxconn said Wednesday that it plans to split its supply chain in two. One segment will service the China market, while the other will focus on the United States.

Foxconn chairman Young Liu said the manufacturing giant now operates 30% of its capacity outside China, up from 25% last June. In recent years, the company began moving manufacturing to other regions such as Southeast Asia to avoid possible tariffs on Chinese goods headed to the United States.

Apple reportedly imported clothes from Chinese company accused of forced labor

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Apple Paris
Apple staffers' uniforms may have been partly manufactured by an accused company.
Photo: Apple

A Chinese company facing U.S. sanctions for using forced labor provided clothing or raw materials to Apple, possibly in the form of uniforms for its retail employees, claims The Guardian.

Changji Esquel Textile is one of a group of 11 companies that reportedly violated human rights in China’s western Xinjiang region. The company denies using forced labor “anywhere” in its business and says it will appeal its inclusion on the sanctions list.

Despite challenges, TikTok remains world’s No. 1 non-gaming app

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TikTok continues to dominate the App Store in 2020.
TikTok continues to dominate the App Store in 2020.
Photo: Kon Karampelas/Unsplash CC

Despite the controversy surrounding it, 15-second video creation and sharing app TikTok remained the world’s most downloaded non-gaming app in July, according to a new report by Sensor Tower.

TikTok ranked as the No. 1 app on both iOS and the Google Play app stores, with more than 65.3 million installs in the month. This represents a 21.4% increase from July last year. In the first quarter of 2020, TikTok registered the best three months of any app ever when it comes to downloads.

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TikTok may only be the first app targeted.
Photo: Apple

Apple creating China-based supply chain exclusively for local market

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Apple is rethinking its supply chain.
Photo: Apple

Apple is reportedly putting together a supply chain consisting of exclusively Chinese manufacturers to build iPhones for the China market.

This is at the same time that Apple is trying to expand its supply chain. That is partly so as to lessen its reliance on China. Apple has also been building iPhones in India which are aimed at the local market there.