Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is reportedly shifting production for its new Mac Pro computer from the United States to China. The company intends to assemble the new Mac Pro in a factory near Shanghai, close to other Apple suppliers around Asia. The move will allow Apple to take advantage of lower shipping costs than if it shipped the components to the U.S. for assembly.
The Mac Pro, which starts at $6,000, isn’t designed for the mass market, but is a niche product designed for professional users who need it for production rendering and video editing. It recently received its first design update in six years. The company has not yet announced the launch date of the new model.
Apple issued a statement saying the new Mac Pro will be designed and engineered in California. However, reports show that it will be shifting away from a U.S. assembly line it had been using for that product in recent years. Apple has been assembling Mac Pros in Austin, Texas, since 2013 at a factory run by Flex Ltd. According to reports, Flex encountered problems finding enough skilled labor willing to work for minimum wage and had laid off workers down to a skeleton crew by last year.
The Mac Pro computer has been Apple’s only major device assembled in the U.S. The iPhone is manufactured in China and other countries. Apple manufactures its iPhone and iPad displays, made by Corning, in a factory in Kentucky, and uses cell and wifi radios built in Texas by Avago Technologies.
The move comes amid growing trade tensions between the Trump administration and China. The Trump administration has imposed billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese-made goods, and threatens more tariffs that would hit Apple products. Apple recently sent the administration a warning that its ability to compete would be undermined if the iPhone and other products made in China are hit by the next round of potential tariffs. Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump are expected to discuss the tariffs during the Group of 20 summit in Japan.