The Hon Hai Precision Industry has been working to possibility of moving iPhone’s production to the U.S.
Apple is exploring the idea of making iPhones in the US after Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election raised the prospect of a crackdown on American companies that manufacture abroad.
Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics giant that assembles the iPhone at enormous facilities in China, has been told to study how feasible it would be to move production to the US, according to reports in Asia.
Mr Trump repeatedly criticised Apple on the campaign trail for making its products abroad and has threatened to slap import tariffs of 45pc on Chinese goods. “We’re going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries,” he said in January.
CHINA WARNED US ON IPHONES SALES
Beijing cautioned Mr Trump against a trade war this week, with the state-run Global Times newspaper warning of a retaliation that would see sales of US goods including iPhones cut off in China.
“A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by [France’s] Airbus. US auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and US soybean and maize imports will be halted,” it said.
Apple already assembles some high-end Mac computers in the US, but shifting the 200m iPhones it makes a year to the country would be a much more significant and costly undertaking.
The immediate impact of the switch could, however, be limited since the majority of the iPhone’s components are not made by Foxconn itself, but manufactured by suppliers and put together in China.
Estimates have suggested that the cost of assembling the iPhone in the US would only increase the cost of making the device by around $30 (£24), much of it in additional transportation.
The Nikkei Asian Review reported that Apple had asked its two manufacturers, Foxconn and Pegatron, to assess the cost of US assembly in June – several months before the election – but that only Foxconn had complied.
The company may simply be assessing the measure to prove it would be prohibitively expensive, rather than seriously considering the matter. Apple did not comment.