Report: Big Tech Firms Mull Moving Production From China, but Not to the US

HP laptops on display. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Global tech giants, including Dell, Microsoft, Amazon, HP and Google are looking to move much of their production out of China, Nikkei reports. A potential mass withdrawal from theses companies could destabilize China as a leading source of consumer technology.

The companies plans are in part propelled by the Trump Administration's trade war and tariffs on Chinese imports. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping have agreed to re-open talks, throwing tariffs that would affect most consumer electronics and PCs into an unclear place.

According to anonymous sources, Dell and HP intend to move as much as 30 percent of laptop production out of China. Additionally, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are considering moving some game console manufacturing out of China, while Google and Amazon may want to shift smart speakers out of hte country. Other sources suggested Lenovo, Acer and Asus are "evaluating plans to shift."

But moving supply chains out of China doesn't mean making new jobs in the United States. The plans, according to the report, will move production to Taiwan and parts of Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines. 

HP's plans could move 20 to 30 percent of production to a new supply chain in either Thailand or Taiwan, possibly as soon as September, though that's apparently not set in stone. Dell has reportedly begun a "pilot run" of laptops in Taiwan, the Phillpines and Vietnam, with sources claiming the company was not only looking to avoid the trade war, but already dealing with increasing costs in China and a lack of labor.

Amazon and Nintendo are both looking at Vietnam as a potential new base for supply chains, and Microsoft is reportedly looking at Thailand and Indonesia.

"HP has a diverse global supply chain to help us to mitigate risks wherever possible," an HP spokesperson told Tom's Hardware. "As a matter of policy, we do not comment on rumors or speculation about future plans. HP shares industry concerns that broad-based tariffs harm consumers by increasing the cost of electronics. We are actively monitoring the situation and will continue to work with government officials to advocate for the best interests of customers, partners and consumers."

Dell, Microsoft and Amazon have yet to respond to inquiries.

In Nikkei's report, Acer and Asus both confirmed exploration of moving production out of China, and Dell declined to comment. HP, Google, Microsoft and Amazon didn't respond to requests from Nikkei.

Updated July 3, 12:33 p.m. ET with comment from HP.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon

  • RealBeast
    It makes a lot of sense to move out of China to a country that has cheap labor and solves the supply chain disruption with China that could last a while and remain unstable for some time.

    No way they would come to the US -- labor is too expensive and likely to get more expensive, plus all the regulations here.
  • daddywalter
    All of the countries mentioned as alternatives to China are good, but I'm a bit familiar with the Philippines' major manufacturing location at the former Clark Air Base. (I was stationed at Clark 1973-74, and have followed the area's progress since then..) Lots of manufacturing infrastructure there, an excellent airport for both passengers and cargo, and good highway access to the seaport at Subic Bay. The Filipino people are both hard-working and detail-oriented -- they take pride in their work. A potentially big bonus: both English and Spanish are spoken nearly as commonly as the Tagalog-based Filipino language. It's one of the fastest-growing locations for tech industry in Southeast Asia, with an educated, skilled workforce. All this may also be true for the other nations in the region, but I know the Philippines far better than the others and it would be a great choice for tech companies looking to relocate operations out of China.
  • vaughn2k
    Foxconn is starting to move out of China, and into Taiwan, and Philippines, maybe Malaysia on some. But Taiwan will be the major benefactor, because Terry Gou is running for a Presidential Seat.
    Thus Dell, HP, Google, Apple, and the rest is moving.
    End of story.