Apple has reportedly asked Taiwan-based suppliers to label their products as being produced in China, in an effort to avoid disruption from strict Chinese customs inspections resulting from the visit of the U.S. House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to Taipei.
According to Nikkei, the company has asked manufacturers on the island to label components bound for mainland China as made in “Chinese Taipei” or “Taiwan, China.” The labels are required in order to comply with a longstanding but previously unenforced rule that requires imported goods to suggest the island is part of the People’s Republic of China.
The phrase “Made in Taiwan” can lead to delays, fines, and even the rejection of an entire shipment under the rule. But Taiwan itself requires exports to be labelled with the point of origin: either the name “Taiwan” or the country’s official name, “Republic of China.”
The choice to require suppliers to deny Taiwan’s independent existence has led to criticism from around the world. But Apple may have felt as if it had little choice but to comply with China’s requests. Shipment delays now would be ruinous, as the company moves into the final production phase for the iPhone 14, expected to be announced at a press event next month.
Supply chain shortages have already started to bite, with the company taking the unprecedented decision, according to influential analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, of shipping the cheaper non-Pro variants of the phone with the same core chip that is already in the iPhones 13 currently on sale.
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.