PH is part of Apple’s critical supply chain

Did you know that the Philippines houses some of the suppliers of electronic components which could possibly end up in your iPhone or Mac?

Apple, the company behind everything iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc., has one of the world’s complex supply chains. Some analysts would even label Apple’s supply chain as one of the best and efficient. They would usually order components from various suppliers from all over the world and ships them to their assembly line in China. From there, the products are shipped directly to buyers who purchased them from the Apple online store.

With China being the manufacturer of almost every gadget, it ships to any point of the world. Thus, inventory will not be an issue and warehousing expenditures would be at minimum. In addition, being an Apple supplier is highly competitive. Thus, quality is handled with a win-win strategy.

However, in the recent years following the COVID-19 and China’s strict zero-COVID strategy, Apple has been restrategizing its supply chain management. A majority of their products are currently manufactured in India by Foxconn, Wistron, and Pegatron, all of which are Taiwanese companies.

Where exactly is the Philippines in Apple’s supply chain?

I rummaged to several publicly available resources and narrowed down to 16 tech companies in the Philippines which are declared in the official list of suppliers of Apple as of 2021. It is worth noting that the Philippines ranks 5th among its ASEAN peers in terms of number of companies providing electronic components to Apple.

Singapore tops the list with 42 companies, followed by Vietnam with half the number (26), Malaysia (20), and Thailand (18).

Amkor Technology Incorported

Amkor Technology is known for its semi-conductor packaging and test services. Their wide array of operations also include production, product development, and sales and support. Amkor is headquartered at Arizona, USA with several sales offices all over the world including the Philippines.

ams AG

ams AG claims to be a global leader in optical solutions. They offer a diverse product and technology portfolio for sensing, illumination, and visualization which includes light emitters and optical components, micro-modules, light sensors, etc. ams AG is headquartered in Austria. Its manufacturing hubs for Apple components apart from the Philippines also include ASEAN neighbors, Malaysia and Singapore.

Analog Devices Incorporated

Analog Devices is probably behind some critical components of the Apple watch as it specializes in bridging the gap between the physical and the digital. Their products involve complex real-world signals which are transformed into meaningful insights and actions. They also put healthcare in their mission with the development of innovative solutions to modernize the health industry through the electronic components they manufacture.

Infiniteon Technologies AG

Infiniteon Technologies is a German semi-conductor manufacturer which separated from its parent company, Siemens. It is one the of the ten largest semi-conductor companies worldwide with several facilities in the United States, Asia-Pacific Region (including the Philippines), and Europe. They are primarily active in markets supporting automotives, industrial power control, power and sensor systems, and connected secure systems.

MegaChips Corporation

MegaChips is one of Japan’s largest electronic companies which began to boom in the 1990s. They specialize in the development of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and semi-conductors. MegaChips focus on basic research and applied technology as a fabless research and development manufacturer. To date, it has almost 800 patent registrations in Japan, the rest of Asia, the United States, and Europe.

Microchip Technology Incorporated

Microchip Technology is an American manufacturer of microcontrollers, mixed-signal, analog, and flash-IP integrated circuits. Its product line also include electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) responsible for keyless systems, embedded security devices, radio frequency devices, thermal, power and battery management analog devices, and linear, interface and wireless products. Its wafer fabs are located primariy in the United States while its assembly and test facilities are located in the Philippines and Thailand.

MinebeaMitsumi Incorporated

MinebeaMitsumi is a multinational corporation headquartered in Japan which specializes in the production of machinery components and electronic devices. They are a Guinness World Record holder for the production of the world’s smallest commercially available mass-produced steel ball bearing. The ball bearing is used in high-grade mechanical watches.

Nidec Corporation

Nidec Corporation is a comprehensive motor manufacturer. The Japanese company focuses on the development, manufacturing, and sales of small precision motors, automotive motors, home appliance motors, commercial and industrial motors, among many others.

ON Semiconductor Corporation

Also known as onsemi, they are an American semi-conductor supplier company also based in Arizona, USA. They are among the Fortune 500 companies based on its sales in 2021. Their product line includes power and signal management, communications, computing, consumer, industrial, LED lighting, and medical/military/aerospace grade power applications. If you are familiar with the Japanese brand, Sanyo, they acquired the semi-conductor arm of the company back in 2011.

Rohm Company Limited

Rohm is a Japanese electronic parts manufacturer with its humble beginnings as a resistor manufacturer. Today, they manufacture integrated circuits and discrete semi-conductors.

Samsung Electro-Mechanics Company Limited

If you think Samsung and Apple are just plain competitors, you are definitely wrong. Despite the marketing competition of the two gadget giants, Apple still depends on Samsung for some of its components. Samsung Electro-Mechanics manufactures multi-layer ceramic capacitors, tantalum capacitors, inductors, and chip resistors.

Samsung Electronics, although not based in the Philippines, is the company behind the OLED displays of most Apple products, including the iPhone.

ST Microelectronics N.V.

ST Mircoelectronics is a global semiconductor company. They build products, solutions, and ecosystems which enable smarter mobility, more efficient power and energy management, and wide-scale deployment of internet of things and connectivity technologies. The Philippines hosts its back-end (assembly and testing) operations in Asia, alongside with Hong Kong, and Malaysia.

Sumitomo Electric Industries Limited

Sumitomo Electric is a Japanese manufacturer of electric wire and optical fiber cables. Their electronics division supplies various products to manufacturers of smartphones, flat-screen televisions, and other highly advanced electronic goods.

Taiyo Yuden Company Limited

Taiyo Yuden‘s portfolio began with the pioneering of recordable compact disc (CD) technology assisting its development alongside with Sony and Philips. With the decline of CD technology, they shifted their focus in other products such as ceramic capacitors, inductors, circuit modules, thermistors, and noise suppression components. This Japanese company operates factories in Japan, Singapore, Korea, China, Philippines, Taiwan, and Malaysia.

Texas Instruments Incorporated

If you are an engineering student, you probably came across using a calculator by Texas Instruments. The American tech company headquartered in Texas, USA, designs and manufactures semi-conductors and various integrated circuits, which then sells it to the global market. Currently, they focus on developing analog chips and embedded processors. They also venture in light processing technology. Their Philippine operations is stationed in Baguio City.

Wingtech Technology Company Limited

Wingtech Technology is a Chinese partially state-owned semi-conductor and communications integration company. They manufacture wafers and develop semi-conductor chip designs and communication product integration. With its critical role in the supply chain, the zero-COVID policy of China has prompted Apple to move production out of China.

Final thoughts

Apple’s list of suppliers bring a bigger perspective of how a highly globalized operation can be harnessed to make operations more efficient. However, geopolitical dynamics within regions or globally provide high risks. These risks directly affect their revenue as well as the prices that end up being borne by the pockets of consumers.

Labor markets in the countries where these suppliers are based need to ensure their competitiveness to acquire better chances of increased operations and investment there. The Philippines, being the fifth country among its ASEAN peers, should discover its potential in the tech industry by supporting STEM education and provide mechanisms to promote more investments domestically or internationally.

Published by Ilonggo Engineer

Ilonggo Engineer or Ray, is a civil engineer and a writer who strongly advocates for road safety, technology literacy, and social equity.

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