Apple seemingly has a love-hate relationship with China at the moment. The company has reportedly considered moving up to 30% of its production outside the country, but according to a report from The Wall Street Journal today, it's also planning to ditch the U.S. in favor of China as the home of production for the new Mac Pro.
The motivation behind Apple moving a significant portion of its production outside China is varied. It's at least partly because of increasing tension between the U.S. and China, which have made it more expensive to manufacture goods for the former in the latter. But the company's reportedly worried about China's falling birth rate, rising labor costs and other socioeconomic changes in the country as well.
Reasoning for moving manufacturing of its new Mac Pro from the U.S. to China is more straightforward. It's reportedly cheaper for Apple to have Quanta Computer make the device in Shanghai than it would be for the company to keep making the system in Texas. That also means the only major product Apple manufactured in the U.S. will be joining the rest of the company's lineup in being made abroad.
The company's response to The Wall Street Journal's report seemed a bit defensive. It said, "Final assembly is only one part of the manufacturing process" and that it spent $60 billion last year on 9,000 suppliers across 30 states. The new Mac Pro will also feature components that were made in the U.S. and will continue to be designed primarily in the country. Manufacturing is the only thing changing, according to the California-based vendor.
Apple might also expect demand for the Mac Pro to rise in the coming months. The company announced the latest version of the Mac Pro in June with a configurable design, support for a new GPU connector, dubbed an MPX module, and support for up to a 28-core Intel Xeon processor and dual AMD Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs. Those are significant upgrades for a product that was last updated (in a meaningful way) in 2013.
Assembling the Mac Pro in China is a major change, especially when relations between the U.S. and China are strained, to put it mildly. Apple is massive, and moving its production could have serious implications for its new and former hosts alike. Even if it's just for the Mac Pro.