Google is set to move production of the Pixel from China to Vietnam amid the growing US-China trade war. Damien Wilde reports.
It’s unclear whether this move will affect the production of the upcoming and recently leaked Google Pixel 4. Nikkei reports that Google has started work on converting an old Nokia smartphone plant in the northern Vietnamese province of Bac Ninh into a production hub for Pixel phones.
According to a report from Japanese news outlet Nikkei, this also happens to be the very same region where Samsung developed its smartphone supply chain over the past decade, which means that Google will have direct access to a ready supply of skilled workers. Moving Pixel production from China to Vietnam makes sense due to the ongoing pressure placed upon Google with higher Chinese labor costs and increasing tariffs — the result of the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China.
Google is aiming to boost production and ship between 8 million and 10 million smartphones before the end of 2019. This is around double the production level from a year ago, according to the Nikkei report. When you consider that Google has not yet reached the top 10 for global smartphone shipments, this is a big move to help gain a further foothold within the industry.
The Pixel 3a was a roaring success and has helped Google to nearly 90% year-on-year growth in the US market alone in 2019. Increasing production but lowering the associated costs would help Google’s further push into the smartphone industry and tackle the biggest players. Production of the Pixel 3a is also set to move from China to Vietnam by the end of the year.
Given the proximity to the launch of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, it seems unlikely that we will see this next wave of Made by Google devices manufactured in Vietnam rather than China.