Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Under the radar, Apple's Asian suppliers work furiously

Under the radar, Apple's Asian suppliers work furiously

The fevered buildup to yesterday's iPad launch has demonstrated the brute efficiency of the little-known Asian suppliers responsible for turning Apple's design vision into hands-on reality.
Taiwanese touch-screen makers, South Korean chip producers and Chinese battery manufacturers have been adding workers by the hundred to staff extra factory shifts and meet double the forecast demand.
Along the way, the component makers have navigated technical hurdles posed by a product that Apple boasts will remake personal computing with its large, tactile colour screen, super-long battery life and suite of applications.
"iPad suppliers currently forecast eight to 10 million shipments in the calendar year 2010, up from prior expectations of five-plus million," Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said in a research note.
The iPad, like the iPhone and iPod before it, is the totemic offspring of a globalised economy where components and assembly are sourced to low-cost, high-speed manufacturers, with little regard for geography.
Simplo Technology Co. is Taiwanese but makes components for Apple at its plant in Changshu, in eastern China's Jiangsu province, and has recently shifted into overdrive to fulfill orders for iPad batteries.
Tapping China's massive labour market, the plant's "Apple Manufacturing Department" has added 700 workers since Lunar New Year in mid-February and now employs 1,800 people.
"The product has a tight deadline, and we've been increasing staff numbers to make it," said an executive at the department, giving her surname as Zhou.
"The output of the iPad battery is now 50 percent higher than it was in January," she said.
As a rule, Apple's Asian partners are loath to talk, bound by confidentiality agreements and the California company's notorious reluctance to allow outsiders a glimpse of its inner workings.
But in Taiwan alone, 20 enterprises are involved one way or the other in making the iPad, according to Jonathan Luo of the Topology Research Institute, a private think-tank in Taipei.
Millions of iPads will be assembled in China by Taiwan-based Foxconn, also known as the Hon Hai Group, according to numerous analysts and technology websites.
Taiwan's Catcher Technologies manufactures the device's silver casing, Novatek Microelectronics makes LCD drivers, and Dynapack International makes batteries, Luo said.


Updated : 2021-08-06 03:07 GMT+08:00