Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks on stage during an event to unveil new Apple products in Brooklyn, New York, the United States, on Oct. 30, 2018. (Photo/Xinhua)
Apple Inc. is shifting manufacturing of its new Mac Pro desktop computer to China from the United States, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The move comes at a time when the Trump administration has threatened to impose new levies to cover nearly all imports from China and pressured Apple and other manufacturers to make their products in the United States if they want to avoid tariffs.
Last week, Apple asked its major suppliers to assess the cost implications of moving 15 percent to 30 percent of their production capacity from China to Southeast Asia, according to a Nikkei report.
"If true, suggests to me that Apple has tremendous confidence that the U.S. and China will be able to solve their trade dispute and do so in the near-future," D.A. Davidson analyst Tom Forte said in an email.
China is a key market for Apple as well as a major production center for its devices. The company got nearly 18 percent of its total revenue from Greater China in the quarter ended March.
Apple's Mac Pro, a 6,000-U.S.-dollar machine used by creative professionals, has been facing waning demand, WSJ said.
Apple's decision coincides with the end of tax subsidies that it got for making the desktop in a plant in Texas run by contract manufacturer Flex Ltd, according to the Journal.
"(This) serves as a reminder that, relative to the U.S., manufacturing in China remains a lower-cost alternative and benefits from an existing infrastructure, versus having to, potentially, rebuild one in the U.S.," Forte said.
The tech giant has tapped contractor Quanta Computer Inc to manufacture the computer and is ramping up production at a factory near Shanghai, the WSJ's report said.
(With input from Reuters)