GOOGLE IS TO MOVE production of its 'Made By Google' products, including the Pixel range, to Vietnam in order to circumvent the current trade war between the US and China.
The Pixel range has, up to now, been manufactured in China, but Nikkei reports that production will now shift to an old Nokia facility in Vietnam. It's not known who its new manufacturing partner will be, but Bloomberg suggests it's likely to be FIH Mobile, a division of Foxconn which bought the Nokia facility when Microsoft decided to bail on its mobile hardware ambitions.
The first handset to make the move will be the Pixel 3a, the budget version of the company's outgoing flagship, with production likely to shift before the end of 2019.
The Pixel 4 range will be produced in China, at least for now, presumably because the deal was struck ahead of the ban. Just this week, it was confirmed that Google would be unable to provide its licenced version of Android to Huawei because of the ban, putting the success of its Mate 30 range, due for release at roughly the same time as the Pixel 4, in doubt.
Elsewhere, other companies are also looking further afield for their manufacture. It's understood that Apple is looking to shift a proportion of its contracts to a company in India.
As for Google, it seems undeterred by sluggish sales of the Pixel 3 range, barring the Pixel 3a which has won plaudits for offering a near-identical performing product for half the price.
By creating a reliable, cheap supply chain, Google hopes to ramp up production and cement the Pixel brand as a significant market player.
The Pixel is designed to be an opposite number to Apple's iPhone, and although priced at a premium, offers faster updates to the latest operating system and long-life support. μ
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