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Apple Supplier List – Top 200 [pdf] (apple.com)
300 points by fermienrico on Oct 12, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 101 comments

There is so much information here. It is interesting to see how these suppliers look like something you'd find on Alibaba. Given how massive these companies must be (despite of how they appear to be), I doubt if they'd answer to low volume inquiries.

I found the guys that make Apple's USB cables: Cheng Uei Precision Industry Co., Ltd. (Foxlink) http://www.foxlink.com/web/en/portfolio-item/usb-cable/#1474...

iPhone boxes!? Brilliant International Group Ltd http://www.brilliant-group.com/products_electronic/

Sim card trays: Chengdu Homin Technology Co., Ltd. http://www.cnhomin.com/

Watch/Camera glass: Biel Crystal Manufactory Ltd http://www.bielcrystal.com/

iPhone Haptics/Speakers module: AAC Technologies Holdings Inc. https://www.aactechnologies.com/index.php?m=content&c=index&...

Then you come across something truly extraordinary: Catcher http://www.catcher.com.tw/technology.aspx

Catcher has a market cap of 7 Billion USD. They own and operate 18,000 CNC machines, the largest fleet of CNC machines in the world. This is probably where iPhone case and Macbook Unibody is manufactured.

Edit: I found a video of Catcher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UknhWoL6GWQ Edit: Tons of information on Catcher

>virtually zero information

Considering it's a Taiwanese company, you probably should search in Chinese.

They even have a Wikipedia article: https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%8F%AF%E6%88%90%E7%A7%91%E6...

Also, this is a public company (TWSE: 2474), it's far from "virtually zero information" even in English.

Yes, you are correct. That's how I found out about their market cap. I was searching the wrong term - "Catcher Taiwan" or "Catcher Manufacturing" returns many results.

I read an article a while ago (probably via HN) about why Apple probably wouldn't switch to making ceramic phone cases - they've invested so much in CNC machines, basically occupying a CNC manufacturer's entire production for years. I mean milling a million phone cases A DAY. Those are scales I just can't imagine.

I was wondering the other day, at what point these huge product launches make life more difficult for Apple and their suppliers vs the positive benefit (community attention, PR, etc).

You release, say, a new phone today, for sale today. It costs $800. You will keep making and selling the same device for the next 364 days (at least). Over the next year, the parts become less expensive because newer technology is always coming out. So it makes sense for the buyer to pay $800 for it today versus $800 for it in 364 days when we are 1 day away from the release of something incrementally better for the exact same cost.

In order to have large enough supply to satisfy the Day 1 demand, you have probably been producing and stockpiling the item for weeks, which has all kinds of inventory and storage costs. For the next month or three you can produce flat out to (try to) satisfy demand, but there is a backlog for awhile, which, at least in theory, harms demand/customer experience. Then, once you process the backlog, you have to scale back capacity for the next (say) 9 months, until a new product comes out.

Now, of course, there are good things about this. You can probably produce products flat-out for 4 months. You get huge internet-wide buzz, much to the dismay of those who hate hearing about nothing but Apple's Magical (TM) new products for a week or two before and after the Big Reveal. You get PR all over the internet and newspapers and TV. Some demand is almost certainly induced by the sense that if you don't buy on day 1, you might have to wait some unknown amount of time before supply catches up with demand.

So, I don't know, but I'm really curious about all of the considerations taken when making decisions like this.

I believe this is likely the article you are referring to, was widely shared at the time.

> http://atomicdelights.com/blog/why-your-next-iphone-wont-be-...

Hmm, I'm not sure about that. Apple has shown in the past that they aren't too worried about the sunk cost fallacy. If there's a new manufacturing method that adds enough value to be worthwhile, they will jump in on it whole hog.

Some of these companies listed are holding companies for other companies, so the list isn't fully comprehensive.

Molex, for example, isn't listed. But its owner (Koch Industries) is.

> Given how massive these companies must be (despite of how they appear to be), I doubt if they'd answer to low volume inquiries.

I wouldn't be so sure about that. I work at a low-medium volume electronics manufacturer, and have direct contacts at a few of these. They're perfectly happy to spend a few $$ on sales reps across a wide range of customers.

That said, we don't tend to purchase directly from most of these companies; at lower volumes we often have to rely on distributor networks.

I am also familiar with quite a few of the companies on that list, despite the company I work for being a long way from Apple scale. It was particularly fascinating to see some companies that we have rejected for being terrible, and other top quality manufacturers you would expect Apple to use that are missing.

Agreed. I'll some of the reasons that we've rejected manufacturers (for being terrible) disappear when you're buying 10^7+ parts/year. I'm sure Apple has no trouble getting development support or reasonable lead times from Maxim, for example.

Unlike smaller engineering firms, who mostly have to take the parts they can get off the shelf to operate, Apple is at a big enough scale that companies will go way out of the way to make parts that suit their needs. It's a whole different ballgame.

Can you share some strategies of breaking through the noise and finding reputable excellent suppliers in Asia?

Those Cheng Uei USB cables look exactly like the one Google shipped with the first Pixel, down to the blue plastic cable clip. They must be well-regarded.

Pretty sure the one with the white clips shipped with the Google Home Mini, except, not green plugs.

The Home Mini shipped with a DC adapter with cable stuck on, I have one and it's definitely a different cable, and no clip at all.

These are great links. Thanks for sharing and your work.

no wonder why shenzen is iphone land..

Hardware capital of the world.

Yes, hard to believe, the guy who was making molds for internal plastic parts up to ifone 4 had a shop in garage few kilometres away from my workplace in downtown Shenzhen.

It is 2018 now, and Shanzhai garage factories are no more.

>Then you come across something truly extraordinary with virtually zero information on the internet besides their website: Catcher


Were you living under a rock?

Wow, this is an interesting list!

I picked one of the 3M addresses at random (the one in Medina, Ohio), and 3M has a web site listing the categories of stuff produced there: https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/plant-locations-us/medina/

(It would be cool if each supplier was required to post this sort of info, to really get a feel for how much physical plant it takes to make/build/assemble certain things.)

So I'm guessing that each address on the list is an address that either ships parts to Apple (or to an Apple rep or manufacturer, like Foxconn), or is an address that receives stuff on behalf of Apple (for example, to do assembly).

That would also be an awesome visualization: A map showing things moving from supplier to sub-assembler to assembler to distributor to store to customer.

Why would it be required?

Now you know where to rob labels and adhesives. It would massively increase security cost, and risk of getting contaminated products.

That's why most companies keep locations of their data centers top secret.

Required seems strong. Is there a need for that?

Why did they post this? Is there any larger context to this list? Is this a routine thing? Do other companies post this? I've never seen something like this published, although I haven't really gone looking...

Refer to: https://www.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/

They are publishing their audit results and environmental impact assessment which is where I found the supplier list. I am actually really impressed with their GSM team - they've done a really thorough job. I am not sure if others - Microsoft, Samsung, Google, etc are doing the same or publishing their results.

Kudos to Apple, seriously amazing.

For this kind of information you can look at rankabrand.com

> 9. Does the brand (company) have a published list of direct suppliers that have collectively contributed to more than 90% of the purchase volume?

Microsoft, "Microsoft provides a list of its top 100 supply chain partners.", [2]

Samsung, "Samsung does not provide a list of direct suppliers"

HP, "HP publishes a list of suppliers that represents over 95% of its production supplier spend.", [3], HP even discloses what type of product they procure and how many workers work on HP manufacturing lines

[1] - https://rankabrand.org/electronics/Apple#detailed-report]

[2] - http://bit.ly/1EWC6XW]

[3] - http://www8.hp.com/h20195/v2/GetDocument.aspx?docname=c03728...

edit: formatting

Supply Chain Transparency is an important topic in many companies' sustainability and business & human rights efforts.

For example, the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business & Human Rights and some related legislation like the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, or the UK Modern Slavery Act require larger companies to disclose how they prevent/deal with Forced Labor in the Supply Chain. Transparency about your supply chain is generally considered best practice.

There are many other examples of proactive companies, like Marks & Spencers interactive world map of suppliers [1], Adidas Global Factory List (xlsx) [2], Unilever's list of palm oil suppliers [3], ...

[1] - https://interactivemap.marksandspencer.com/

[2] - https://www.adidas-group.com/en/sustainability/compliance/su...

[3] - https://www.unilever.com/Images/unilever-palm-oil-supplier-l...

> Supply Chain Transparency is an important topic in many companies' sustainability and business & human rights efforts.

Yes. But say you use suppliers A, B and C. On your supplier list you say "A, B, C, D, E, F". Then you are transparent, but still provide little information.

Interestingly, a lot of companies listed in China are actually Taiwanese companies having their manufacture processes in China. If certain company have locations in both countries, I think it's very likely a Taiwanese company.

How does this work anyway? China doesn't recognize Taiwan as independent state and breaks up diplomatic ties with those states that do.

Likewise Taiwan formally does not recognise the People's Republic. Both sides see themselves as the rightful Chinese government (especially [only?] when the Kuomintang is in power in Taipei).

What happens is both sides have special procedures to deal with each others which allow to control and enable travel and trade without recognising the other side's claims while recognising people as Chinese, not foreigners.

> Both sides see themselves as the rightful Chinese government

Tricky subject here. The statement might sound true but has very very different sentiments on both sides.

For the Chinese gov., Taiwan is a province of China, "the rightful Chinese government" extends its jurisdiction over all Chinese territories, including Taiwan. However, from Taiwan's perspective, Taiwan and mainland China have two different governments (the stress is on "Taiwan is not part of China", not there is only one rightful Chinese gov,). In fact, if you ask anyone in Taiwan today, they are more likely to refer to the island as Taiwan (instead of "Republic of China") and themselves Taiwanese.

The formal position is the same on both sides.

When dealing with legal matters (like travelling or trading) this is what counts.

If you happen to have access to a Bloomberg terminal, the SPLC command gives you similar (though less comprehensive) info for whatever company you’re looking at.

Where do they get the data? Third party research?

Probably in a similar way to Panjiva: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panjiva#Data

SEC Filings, Conference Calls, etc.

One small error on the list: The Chemours Company 7685 Kiln-DeLisle Road, Pass Christian, Massachusetts, USA

That should actually be Mississippi not Massachusetts. It is probably the source for the white pigment used in many Apple products as it is one of the largest TiO2 plants in the world.

Why did Apple share this? Is it a legal requirement?

For backing up their supplier responsibility claims, I'd imagine.

Was it only in reaction to recent criticism or does Apple release their supplier list yearly?

It looks like they've been doing it since at least 2012: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/14/technology/apple-releases...

A quick count of occurrences of region names (might not be exhaustive):

China 358

Japan 137

USA 66

Taiwan 54

Korea 35

Vietnam 22

Philippines 17

Malaysia 17

Thailand 16

Singapore 14

Germany 11

Indonesia 6

India 6

Brazil 5

Czech 3

Israel 3

Mexico 3

France 3

Austria 3

Belgium 3

Netherlands 3

UK 2

Italy 1

Ireland 1

Norway 1

Costa Rica 1

Most of the China based suppliers are located to the east of Heihe-tengchong line[1], i.e. the east half of China.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heihe–Tengchong_Line

As the Wikipedia article you linked to points out 96% of China's population lives east of that line, it would be really odd if most of Apple's suppliers weren't also east of the line.

If you break these numbers down further to city level, most of them are near the coastline.

Naturally; the coastline was the location of major trade ports, and major trade ports are where business grows. It's no coincidence that the Chinese special economic zones all sit around the coast.

America is similar. Most of America's businesses are east of the Mississippi, where 1/2 of the American population lives in 1/3 of the American empire.

Breaking China down to provinces (I cannot find which are the ones I missed, about 10 of them total):

Guangdong 110 (Shenzhen 41; Dongguan 36; Guangzhou 9; Huizhou 9; Zhuhai 6; Zhongshan 4)

Jiangsu 110

Shanghai 36

Sichuan 14

Henan 12

Shandong 10

Tianjin 8

Zhejiang 8

Fujian 6

Chongqing 5

Jiangxi 4

Hunan 4

Hebei 3

Guangxi 3

Liaoning 3

Shaanxi 3 (not to be mistaken as Shanxi)

Beijing 2

Anhui 2

Shanxi 2

Interesting US only is at 3rd (probably less than 15% in total ... )

I'm surprised Canada isn't on that list given NAFTA. But I guess we don't do much electronics hardware work.

Malta 1

It would be interesting to see Apple take a page from Walmart and require all their large suppliers to have an office near their headquarters.

Walmart revenues are around double that of apple, but they likely have a lot more suppliers and much lower spend per supplier than apple.

I made an interactive map with all the suppliers here: https://ssobczak.github.io/apple_suppliers/analyze_suppliers...

Repository with the code and a CSV containing all the suppliers geolocated is here: https://github.com/ssobczak/apple_suppliers

I bet you could make a decent return building a stock robot that just bought / sold all of these every year based on whether they appear on the list.

The returns will be more or less correlated to Apple stock, which is easier to get into and have significantly more volume if you want to play with options.

I'm not sure that small '3M' company is that tightly bound to Apple stock.

Joking aside, a lot of the supplier listed her don't seem to be the main branch, but the exact branch supplying Apple. So the company stock should really not be that tied to a specific vendor.

In particular considering that if something were to happen to Apple, any other hardware manufacturer could take the opportunity to contract them, making it neutral.

One small company is not, all 200 taken together, almost surely.

And short-sell the ones which are likely going to get killed after Apple ASIC team brings their IP into the A-... family of chips.

based on whether they appear on the list.

It's alphabetical, so no help there.

Is this a list of suppliers of hardware only? As in, it doesn't seem to contain things like marketing companies or software contractor suppliers?

Do you know how to find such lists for Microsoft, Amazon or Google? I tried finding one for Google but quick Google search didn't find anything.

Thanks! Interesting share. So many Chinese suppliers

I wish there was a spreadsheet version of this.

if you have office 2016, open it in Word and copy/paste into excel.

If there's value in it, and there is, I garuntee there are a dozen people who have, as of the writing of this comment, already produced such spreadsheets.

Perhaps what you want is for one of those to be publicly acessible?

Wasn't that implied?

Of course, but if it was public, that would decrease the value of any individual's pain-stakingly produced copy. Maybe try open-sourcing it on a Google Sheet?

It would be great if someone copied all of these into a custom map on Google Maps so it could be browsed interactively.

I made the map here: https://ssobczak.github.io/apple_suppliers/analyze_suppliers...

Repository with extraction code and a CSV with all the suppliers geolocated is here: https://github.com/ssobczak/apple_suppliers

They don't license anything from synaptics? Sounds unlikely...

I'm surprised Gigabyte isn't on this list. From Hackintosh forums it seems like a lot of their motherboards are Gigabyte-made, or for some reason are incredibly similar to Gigabyte boards.

Definitely not. Any similarities are more likely to be a consequence of the limited options you have designing an Intel-based system in the first place.

Interesting, they listed BYD Co., Ltd. there. BYD is one of the largest Chinese automobile manufacturer. It must be somehow related to the Apple car or development of self-driving software.

No. BYD is neither one of the largest car makers of China nor does this imply cars at all. If you buy an electric toothbrush at German drug store „dm“ for €20 and rip it apart, you‘ll find a BYD li-ion battery. https://imgur.com/gallery/kp6eULc

BYD batteries are everywhere.

> BYD is neither one of the largest car makers of China

Off-topic note: BYD used to be the largest Chinese passenger car maker in 2008-2013 but has declined significantly in recent years compared to competition. It's still #1 for EV car sales global though (Chinese bought 4x more EVs than US).

[1] http://carsalesbase.com/china-car-sales-data/byd/

Who is the supplier of OLED screens?


I thought Apple had an unmarked building at LG for their OLED technology development.

Interesting, I thought it was Universal Display Corp ($OLED).

udc supplies to samsung display (and others)

UDG sells IP.

udc also supplies phosphorescent emitter materials manufactured by ppg.

anyone here good with the stock market and would know how to leverage this list?

This info is already known, and therefore already priced into those companies stock price.


Just actual photos of hard working people doing their jobs.

What did you expect hipsters on IMac Pros?

If they deliver why anyone should care about PR/marketing? There are thousands of such unknown companies making huge buck.


We've banned this and the other accounts you've been using to abuse the site.

This looks like every Chinese factory website I've ever seen... did not expect it to be based in Texas!

Definitely "leading their way" using that computer..

Is it telling that supermicro is not on this list?

They stopped doing business with them in 2015. This report is for 2017.

Oh so both Apple and Amazon stopped doing business with Supermicro the year nothing happened, then.


This is for the products sold, not data centers.

I am just wondering about the countries which are NOT on that list.

What are you implying? Spain and Sweden is not on the list for example.

Yes, the list doesn't tell the full story, because it only lists suppliers of "materials, manufacturing, and assembly". That is it doesn't include, for example, software suppliers and patent licenses. Ericsson, which is a multinational with headquarters in Sweden, has a network technologies patent license deal with Apple.

I'll bet that's related to the stuff they get from ST Micro (which used to be part of Ericsson)

Feels like Apple are really are taking the "You never let a serious crisis go to waste" quote to heart.

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