TAIPEI -- Apple is about to start trial production of its popular AirPods wireless earphones in Vietnam as the company accelerates plans to diversify manufacturing of its consumer electronics lineup beyond China, Nikkei Asian Review has learned.
China's Goertek, one of Apple's key contract manufacturers, this summer will begin testing the resilience of its manufacturing processes for the newest generation of AirPods at the company's audio factory in northern Vietnam, two sources with knowledge of the plan said.
This will mark the first production of the wireless earbuds -- which came to market in 2016 -- outside the world's second-largest economy. They are Apple's fastest growing product, racking up 35 million shipments last year against 20 million in 2017.
Apple has written to components suppliers, asking them to support Goertek's efforts despite initially very small volumes, according to a communication seen by the Nikkei Asian Review.
"Suppliers are requested to keep the pricing unchanged for the trial production stage, but this can be reviewed once volumes are increased," said one of the sources with direct knowledge of the communication.
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