Mapping Apple's Suppliers: China Still Leads, But Not By Much

on February 20 2013 6:08 AM

Apple Supplier Distribution World Map An infographic map of Apple's worldwide suppliers constructed by ChinaFile.com, Feb 2013.  ChinaFile.com

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) released Tuesday an updated report on all of its manufacturing locations and suppliers that provide the materials required before finally being assembled by Apple in the United States. China, a nation that is home to hundreds of factory-cities, topped the list, being home to 331 companies of the 748 listed.

With all the bad press about working conditions at suppliers like Foxconn, however, it may surprise some that China accounts for less than half of Apple’s suppliers list.

Aside from China, Asia is still Apple’s main supplying region, accounting overall for 600 of the 748 listed companies. Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore account for 15 percent of the suppliers.

While Japan is the second-ranking supplier, with 148 companies, other regions of the world are are still far behind. Though Apple's presence is global, its manufacturing efforts still do not extend to Africa, where no manufacturers can be found. At the same time, only eight supplying companies are located in Latin America. 

The ChinaFile, an online magazine by the Center on U.S.-China Relations, used the reported information to create an interactive map of Apple’s global supplier distribution. 

Apple Suppliers Asia An infographic map of Asia's Apple suppliers, Feb 2013.  ChinaFile.com

The Silicon Valley technology giant began giving detailed supplier reports last year, the same year it joined the Fair Labor Association, which allows independent auditors to investigate Apple’s suppliers. The annual reports are steps toward transparency, particularly for its sources in China, which have been the subject of many labor rights groups' protests.

According to the report, Apple is aiming to continue to improve working conditions in all of its supplier factories. “Through a continual cycle of inspections, improvement plans, and verification, we work with our suppliers to make sure they comply with our Code of Conduct and live up to these ideals,” it asserts, and are committed to keeping suppliers accountable in keeping to “safe and ethical working conditions.”

Most famously, Chinese manufacturing giant and Apple supplier Foxconn (HKG:2038) was reprimanded for poor working conditions, unreasonably low wages, and exhausting work shifts, causing spates of worker suicides.

Foxconn still has PR troubles as factory strikes and fights continue to make headlines despite reported changes and improvements that have been made. 

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