Apple appears to be working to create a supply chain comprised entirely of Chinese manufacturers to produce iPhones specifically for the Chinese market, DigiTimes reported today.
This is based on recent aggressive moves by Apple suppliers Luxshare and Lens Technology to acquire Taiwanese manufacturers to operate metal chassis factories in China, a strategy that Apple has reportedly been encouraging.
Luxshare, the largest assembler of AirPods, has recently joined the iPhone assembly chain by acquiring a low-end iPhone production line in the Chinese mainland from Wistron.
In an effort to further expand its presence in the iPhone supply chain, Luxshare has also been keen on acquiring metal case manufacturing plants in the mainland from Taiwanese companies in the iPhone supply chain, the report said.
According to previous reports, Taiwan-based metal case maker Catcher Technology had planned to sell a 30 percent stake in its mainland China factory to Luxshare.
However, according to DigiTimes sources, talks on the deal were suspended after Luxshare began negotiations with Casetek Holdings, an affiliate of Pegatron, to acquire its metal housing factory in mainland China.
As a follow-up, Catcher Technology was also in talks with Chinese mobile phone cover glass maker Lens Technology to sell its Suzhou factory to the Chinese manufacturer, but the deal hit a snag over the purchase price, the sources said.
The move is seen as part of Apple's efforts to recruit more Chinese suppliers who could supply lower-cost iPhone parts to the Chinese market.
Such deals are increasingly seen as part of Apple's plans to diversify its overseas manufacturing base, as evidenced by recent reports that several Apple suppliers are actively seeking to set up production facilities in India.