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Foxconn founder urges Apple to move iPhone production out of China



Terry Gou, the founder of Apple’s largest assembly partner Foxconn, is encouraging the iPhone maker to shift its production away from mainland China, according to reports from Bloomberg and The Associated Press.

“I am urging Apple to move to Taiwan,” Gou said at the company’s shareholders meeting, according to the publications. “I think it is very possible.”

The Foxconn chairman is also encouraging Apple to shift its operations as he’s stepping down from his position at the company to prepare to run for president of Taiwan.

Gou’s comments come as tensions have continued to escalate between the US and China, with the Trump administration threatening to impose tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods. President Trump also recently blacklisted Chinese tech giant Huawei, the second largest smartphone maker in terms of global shipments, over concerns about the company’s products potentially providing a survelliance backdoor to the Chinese government.

Apple is looking into moving 15% to 30% of its production from China to Southeast Asia, according to a report earlier this week from Nikkei Asian Review. The report suggests this is a move Apple intends to make regardless of how the trade conflict between the US and China plays out. “A lower birth rate, higher labor costs and the risk of overly centralizing its production in one country. These adverse factors are not going anywhere,” an unnamed executive told Nikkei Asian Review.

The head of Foxconn’s semiconductor business group recently said the company is capable of helping Apple move its production lines out of China if necessary, as The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported. He added that the firm has enough resources outside of China to supply Apple with products for the US.

Foxconn has already been looking into moving production elsewhere, according to previous reports. Gou said in April, for example, that the iPhone would go into mass production in India, as Bloomberg reported. And Reuters reported in December that Foxconn was considering building a factory in Vietnam, citing local media.

But shifting production away from China will likely be a complicated and costly task for Apple, Dan Ives, managing director of equity research for Wedbush Securities, previously said to Business Insider.

“Apple has really bet the company’s production on China and on Foxconn,” he said. “It would be like General Motors or Ford saying we’re going to move away from Detroit.”

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