From Debby Wu's "Tech Reconsiders Dependence on China, But Costs to Move Are High" mailed Friday to Bloomberg Technology subscribers:
[P]laces like India, Mexico, Taiwan and Vietnam have all benefited from the shift away from China to varying degrees. For example, Apple Inc.’s three major iPhone assemblers—Foxconn Technology Group, Pegatron Corp. and Wistron Corp.—have set up operations in India...
Now, with many companies sustaining losses from Beijing regulation and facing unpredictable risks from China’s relentless pursuit of Covid Zero, there’s renewed energy in discussions about bulking up manufacturing capabilities elsewhere.
Chief Executive Officer Cheng Ping of Delta Electronics Inc., a key parts supplier to Apple and Tesla Inc., was unusually blunt earlier this week when commenting on the impact from widespread lockdowns in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou, where his company operates factories.
Foxconn is also acquiring 40 acres of land in Chennai in order to make products for India’s domestic market, according to a person familiar with the matter, confirming a report in India’s Economic Times earlier this week.
But it will be difficult, if not impossible, for any other country to replace China in the global supply chain given the sheer scale of its manufacturing power. Take Foxconn’s iPhone City campus in central China, which currently employs some 200,000 workers according to a recent report in the official Henan Daily. A skilled labor pool of that size for a single employer would be hard to find anywhere else.
My take: Assembling iPhones mostly calls for small fingers and good hand-eye coordination. Surely China's not the only country where those can be found. Getting an entire ecosystem of parts suppliers to move to India is another matter.