Apple is reportedly considering bringing iPhone manufacturing back to the United States.
Nikkei sources say Cupertino has asked its manufacturing partners to investigate the possibility of moving the operation to home soil.
“Apple asked both Foxconn and Pegatron, the two iPhone assemblers, in June to look into making iPhones in the U.S.,” the source said. “Foxconn complied, while Pegatron declined to formulate such a plan due to cost concerns.”
According to the resort, Foxconn is willing to comply given Apple makes up 50% of its business, but is concerned about the rise in production costs.
“Making iPhones in the US means the cost will more than double,” the source said.
Apple is likely to come under pressure from President-elect Donald Trump, who vowed to make Tim Cook’s company build “their damn computers and things” in the US during the campaign.
Trump has pledged to hit US companies with a 45% levy on importing goods manufactured abroad, something Apple that could offset much of the savings Apple makes by producing iPhones in China.
The former Apprentice host wants those manufacturing positions to be filled by American workers.
There are an estimated 690,000 people currently employed at Foxconn in China, although the company recently replaced 60,000 factory workers with robots.
Apple briefly experimented with US manufacturing by building the Mac Pro on a production line in Austin, Texas but there’s been nothing since 2013.
In an interview on 60 Minutes late last year CEO Tim Cook said returning manufacturing to the US would present serious logistical issues for the company.
He said: “To make iPhones, there will need to be a cluster of suppliers in the same place, which the U.S. does not have at the moment,” the executive said. “Even if Trump imposes a 45% tariff, it is still possible that manufacturers will decide to continue production overseas as long as the costs together with the tariffs are lower than the amount they need to spend on building and running production lines in the U.S.”
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