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Foxconn Considers Operation In Vietnam Amidst US-China Trade Tensions

Foxconn Considers Operation In Vietnam Amidst US-China Trade Tensions

Taiwan’s Foxconn technology group, the world’s biggest electronics contract manufacturer and a key Apple supplier has recently acquired the right to use a property in an industrial park in northern Vietnam. The company is reportedly considering setting up an iPhone manufacturing facility in Vietnam to mitigate the negative impacts of the ongoing US-China trade war.

Vietnam would serve as an additional production base to shelter operations from the trade tension and is one of the preferred locations as compared to India. According to Le Dang Doanh, the former economic adviser of the Vietnamese government, Vietnam has joined multiple trade pacts including the recently-ratified Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which would allow iPhones to be exported to many member countries with lower tariffs. Following an investment of US$5 billion in Vietnam in 2007, Foxconn could leverage on its existing operations in Vietnam to continue expansion of investments in the country.

However, Vietnam has a low number of supporting business and lower credit ratings as compared to India. Although high iPhone import tariffs due to the ‘Make in India’ policy might deter Foxconn from India, greater labour and English skills could make India a prime location as well.

Taiwanese companies have invested estimated US$31 billion in more than 2,530 projects in Vietnam, making them one of the top 10 investors of Vietnam.

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Taiwanese Companies Shift Production To Taoyuan As Trade War Heats Up

Taiwanese Companies Shift Production To Taoyuan As Trade War Heats Up

TAIPEI, TAIWAN: According to Bloomberg, Taiwanese technology companies are shifting production to Taoyuan from China due to an intensification of the trade war. This indicates a reversal of previous trends whereby manufacturing plants were shifted to China from Taiwan.

As 15 of the 20 largest exporters from China to the U.S. in 2016 were run by Taiwan companies, these companies are highly susceptible to trade war induced tariffs and are working to avoid current and potential future tariffs on technology based products that are made in China. At the same time, the region’s proximity to Taiwan’s largest international airport, the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, as well as existing facilities in the surrounding region, have made this an attractive region for manufacturing operations.

Similarly, as per Bloomberg’s report, companies that have shifted to Taoyuan from China include iPhone assembler, Pegatron Corp, laptop maker, Compal Electronics Inc. and Apple Supplier, Inventec. In addition, Barry Lam, Chairman of Quanta Computer Inc. has also released a statement regarding the company’s shift to Taoyuan and in this case, Quanta will not only be shifting its supply chain of high end products back to Taiwan, the company is also looking to shift its focus to the development of new products such as smart medical care, smart manufacturing, and smart household items along with the establishment of a new AI research center.

Angela Hsieh, an economist from Barclays has also commented that, “There are still a lot of uncertainties surrounding a trade war, so companies tend to first add capacities in their existing facilities in Taiwan instead of spending a lot to build new plants.” A view that is echoed by Elton Yang, chief financial officer of Quanta, when he stated that, “The fastest way is to add capacity in existing facilities. Looking for new land and building new facilities elsewhere will be too slow.”

According to findings from Sinyi, a Taiwanese real estate company, from January to September this year, Taoyuan has sold more industrial land and factories than any other city in Taiwan. Michael Wang, a manager at Sinyi has also told Bloomberg that this is because more land is available in Taoyuan and it is easier to acquire land there than in Hsinchu. The land in Taoyuan also has the added bonus of being cheaper than Taipei and the local government is collaborating with real estate companies to facilitate the acquisition of land by manufacturing plants.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, American President Trump has stated that if a deal cannot be brokered with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, he will be looking to enforce tariffs on the remaining lot of $267 billion worth of Chinese products imported into the U.S.

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Trade War Pushes Apple’s Manufacturing From China To Vietnam

Trade War Pushes Apple’s Manufacturing From China To Vietnam

The ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has disrupted global supply chains and pushed smartphone production to Southeast Asia. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, GoerTek has already announced its intention to shift production of Apple’s wireless earphones from China to Vietnam to evade tariffs and political tensions, with the company kickstarting the process by seeking input from its suppliers on the feasibility of shipping the necessary materials and parts for Apple’s AirPods directly to Vietnam. Although further discussions with Apple is still required to finalise this decision, GoerTek currently already has a production facility in northern Vietnam which produces wired headsets for iPhones.

Apple products such as AirPods, the Apple Watch and the smart speaker, HomePod, have been exempted in initial tariffs involving US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods, however, Trump has already threatened to impose tariffs on an additional US$267 billion worth of products from China in the near future. This would mean that the value of Chinese products that would be impacted by tariffs will reach US$517, and this would exceed the value of Chinese imports to the U.S. in 2017 that were worth US$505 billion.

Meanwhile, Cheng Uei, a supplier for Apple’s and Andriod’s chargers and connectors has commented that it is also considering shifting production back to Taiwan as well as Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines due to the trade war. Although this process also invites its own set of challenges, as Chairman T.C. Gou has elaborated that leaving China will mean the disruption of established supply chain networks and Chinese tax incentives and investment policies.

As of now, China constitutes Apple’s most important manufacturing base and functions as an important consumer market for the brand with sales from the country representing 20 percent of the company’s annual revenue.

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Apple, The Best Positioned To Bring High Volume Consumer MicroLEDs To Market

Apple, The Best Positioned To Bring High Volume Consumer MicroLEDs To Market

FRANCEDr. Eric Virey, Senior Technology & Market Analyst at Yole Développement (Yole) has commented that, “MicroLED displays could potentially match or exceed OLED performance in all critical attributes.” This includes brightness, contrast, color gamut, refresh rate, viewing angle, ruggedness and durability, resolution and pixel density, lifetime and power consumption etc.

Yole and its partner Knowmade, both part of Yole Group of Companies, have already released two microLEDs reports to reveal the status of the technology and give a deep understanding of the industry, the companies involved and the related supply chain.

Sony’s demonstration of a full HD 55” microLED TV at CES 2012, more than six years ago, was the first exposure for microLED displays and generated a lot of excitement. Since Apple acquired the Luxvue in 2014, many leading companies such as Facebook, Google, Samsung, LG or Intel have entered the game via sizable internal developments and acquisitions, like those of mLED and eLux, or investments in startups such as glō or Aledia.

Analysing Apple’s microLED patent activity shows that the company essentially halted its filing around 2015. This is a surprising finding in the light of the fact that the consumer electronics giant has maintained a large project team and consistently spent hundreds of millions of dollars annually on microLED development. A closer analysis however, brought up the name of a possible strawman entity used by Apple to continue filing patents and shows that the company is still advancing key aspects of microLED technologies.

“Despite a later start compared to pioneers such as Sony or Sharp, Apple’s portfolio is one of the most complete, comprehensively covering all critical technologies pertinent to microLEDs,” explained Dr. Virey from Yole. “The company is the most advanced and [is] still one of the best positioned to bring high volume microLED products to the market. However, it also faces unique challenges”, he added.

Apple can’t afford to tarnish its brand and introduce a product featuring such a highly differentiating technology that would be anything but flawless. Moreover, it requires high volumes, which makes setting up the supply chain more challenging than for any other company. In addition, the company has no prior experience in display manufacturing and due to its need for secrecy, has to develop pretty much everything internally, which requires the duplication of technologies and infrastructures that others have the option to outsource.

The smartphones sector is a good example to illustrate the leadership of Apple. Indeed, smartwatch volumes could reach 100 million units by 2027 and Apple has the potential to remain the single largest smartwatch maker, explained Yole’s analysts in microLED reports. Yole’s scenario assumes that Apple would start using microLEDs in 2021 in a new flagship model, and, as is common with the brand, will propagate the technology in a staggered fashion over the next three years as legacy products are discontinued.

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Epicor: IScala 3.1

Epicor: iScala 3.1

The new version of Epicor’s iScala ERP introduces both online and offline mobile application for Google Android and Apple IOS.

The iScala 3.1 software’s key features and enhancements include: continued security enhancements in the Epicor Service, connect integration and business collaboration platform, new capabilities in the Electronic Compliance Platform designed to deliver structured output reports, and the introduction of mobile applications that simplify key operational tasks.

All iScala routines now run in a single application window, making it easier to see what is running, and also to switch between different areas.

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