China and Hong Kong combined were the biggest sources of Apple suppliers in 2020. Fifty-one of 200 were from there, knocking Tawain and its 48 suppliers off the top spot.
Working With Apple a ‘Golden Ticket’ For Suppliers in China
One Apple supply chain manager told Nikkei Asia that getting into Apple’s supply chain is a “golden ticket.”:
Most Chinese suppliers have very similar approaches. The Chinese suppliers win orders by offering very low prices to Apple that non-China suppliers find hard to imagine, the manager said. “They are willing to take low-margin businesses that other suppliers are reluctant to pick up. This way, they could gradually level up by working with Apple and can later bid for more business the next time.
There has been growing concern around the use of forced Uyghur Muslim labor being used by Apple suppliers in China recently. Indeed, there is growing pressure on the company to reassess its relationship with the country overall.
The number of U.S suppliers fell to 32, down from 37 in 2017. Meanwhile, in Japan, there are now 34 suppliers, down from 43 in 2018.