The Cupertino-based tech giant is hoping to boost production capacity at its Chinese plants to meet consumer demand for Apple’s AirPods Pro wireless headphones,media reported. Apple has sent a notice to the supply chain asking Luxshare-ICT to double sales of AirPods Pro wireless headsets at its Chinese plants to 2 million a month, the sources said. At the same time, the company wants Luxshare and GoerTek to work to increase capacity at their plants in Vietnam to meet the strong demand for entry-level AirPods wireless headphones.
(From Apple, via Nikkei Asia)
The move, while the US wants to clamp down on Chinese companies, conveys a different vision from the technology industry, the Nikkei said. After all, Chinese factories remain the first choice for their cooperation, while meeting the surge in production and maintaining strict quality controls.
In addition, Apple’s sales of “wearables” continue to grow strongly. Its wireless headphones already account for 45% of the industry. Luxshare will double the production of AirPods Pro wireless headphones at two plants in China, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The fact that the company is asking Luxshare and GoerTek to double their capacity, the company’s demand for double production capacity, is also a blow to traditional Apple supply chain partners such as Foxconn, Quanta and Inea.
At the same time, the move means that Chinese manufacturing is already more competitive internationally, capable of producing more high-end products than its competitors. By 2018, Chinese companies had 41 of the top 200 suppliers in the world, surpassing the United States and Japan, according to an analysis by the Nikkei Asia Review.
(From: Company, Nikkei Research)
Jeff Pu, an analyst at Guangfa Securities, said that future sales of AirPods wireless headsets will be on par with the iPhone, reaching nearly 200 million shipments. Apple is expected to sell 80 million wireless headsets by 2020.
Bloomberg also reported last week that airPods Pro shipments could double to 60 million in 2019 with the popularity of airPods. Apple is understood to have launched a new $249 noise-cancelling, waterproof wireless headset on October 31st, with strong early demand, resulting in a delivery date of up to a month.
As for the first-generation AirPods, which were first introduced in 2016, the current price has also been adjusted to $159. With iPhone sales clearly balanced, wireless earbuds may be Apple’s new growth point.