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Apple’s upcoming Mac Pro will be assembled by supply chain partner Quanta Computer in China, according to a new, trending report by The Wall Street Journal.
That may not come as a surprise, unless you’re familiar with the current “trashcan” Mac Pro — which is built in Texas. In fact, the trashcan Mac Pro is the only Apple product assembled in the U.S.
Reportedly, Quanta Computer is ramping up Mac Pro production at a factory near Shanghai. The proximity of the plant to Apple’s existing supply chain, as well as lower wages, will drive down the cost of production for the Mac Pro. (But that’s kind of a given.)
The real question is why this is newsworthy at all.
Making the Mac Pro in China should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the current economic situation across the globe. And, really, it’ll help Apple avoid the somewhat humorous production problems it ran into with its U.S.-produced Mac Pro.
Why Apple Can’t Manufacture in the U.S.
It’s a simple fact that the U.S. just doesn’t have the skilled labor or existing supply chain available to output devices on the level of China.
If you need evidence of that, just consider that the trashcan Mac Pro’s U.S. production was derailed because Apple’s supply partner couldn’t produce enough screws. When Apple found another firm that could deliver enough screws, the owner of that company had to personally drive the screws over in his sedan.
China just cannot be beaten when it comes to existing production infrastructure, number of skilled workers, or a relatively cheap labor pool.
On that last note, American workers are more expensive to hire and are typically unwilling to work the hours that Chinese workers are. So if you really want a U.S. Mac Pro, expect it to be quite a bit more expensive.
But There’s Still a Problem
If there’s any negative to moving Mac Pro production to China, it’s the fact that the country has a tenuous relationship with the U.S. right now.
The Trump administration has placed 25 percent tariffs on about $200 billion of Chinese imports, and Trump has threatened to levy even more tariffs. Apple says this is bad for its business (and bad for the U.S.).
And while the Trump administration has urged U.S. companies to manufacture locally, that just isn’t going to happen. In fact, Apple’s supply chain partners are already looking to new regions amid the U.S.-China Trade War — India and Taiwan.