Google is reportedly packing up most of its production in China and moving it to Vietnam to escape rising productions costs due to Trump's escalating trade war, according to a recent report from Nikkei Asian Review.
This means future production of the Pixel and Google's Home and Nest speakers will now allegedly come from a refurbished Nokia factory in Vietnam.
The relationship between Silicon Valley and the Pentagon is one of the most high-stakes, high-tension, and high-dollar links in the world. Desperate to lead the globe’s militaries in artificial intelligence, the U.S. Defence Department is trying to navigate a maze of tech employee protests and political minefields with the hope of getting cozier with American technology giants.
Google will partner up with an unspecified partner, Nikkei's report alleges from two unnamed sources "familiar with the company's plan", to fit out an old Nokia factory in Bac Ninh, a Vietnamese province just north of the capital, Hanoi.
The new factory will supposedly allow Google to shift some of its smartphone and speaker productions out of Chinese factories, amid the escalating trade war between China and the US. It's likely, however, the upcoming Pixel 4's production will remain in China for now while the Vietnamese factory is built.
Google is also planning to ship between eight million to 10 million smartphones this year, double the figure from a year ago, according to the report's sources. In 2018, Google sold an estimated 4.7 million Pixel units, again, according to a separate Nikei report.
Gizmodo Australia has reached out to Google to confirm the reports and will update when they respond.
Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported Google had begun shifting production of the Nest speaker and server hardware to Taiwan and Malaysia after tariffs of up to 25 per cent were introduced by the Trump administration.
Trump's trade wars begun in July 2018 after both the US and China imposed tariffs, totalling more than $50 billion in goods, on each other. The US applies duties of up to 25 per cent on a number of imported Chinese goods while China retailed by applying five to 25 per cent tariff on US products. From September 1, the US is planning on introducing a fresh round of tariffs, which will include smartphones.
Our Country has lost, stupidly, Trillions of Dollars with China over many years. They have stolen our Intellectual Property at a rate of Hundreds of Billions of Dollars a year, & they want to continue. I won’t let that happen! We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2019
It's understood other major tech companies, like Apple, are looking at the viability of shifting some production out of China if the trade wars continue.
There are many reasons to be critical of Google. But on Thursday, General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stopped just short of accusing the tech giant of treason.