The Apple Supply Chain in Asia with Tim Culpan

The Apple Supply Chain in Asia with Tim Culpan
Tim Culpan discussed the Apple supply chain in Asia and how the schedule of the contract manufacturing & suppliers work before the launch of the next iPhone.

Tim Culpan from Bloomberg Gadfly joined us in an interesting discussion to shed a light on Apple’s supply chain in Asia. We discussed Apple’s recent Q2 2017 earnings and its impact to Asia, the tight schedule in how Apple and their suppliers such as Foxconn, TSMC and Samsung operate before the major launch of their products in September. Last but not least, we discuss on how Samsung’s strangling hold on the OLED screens might delay the next Apple iPhone launch. 

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Tim Culpan (@tculpan, Linkedin, Bloomberg), Columnist at Bloomberg Gadfly [0:38]
  • The iPhone supply chain in Asia [2:11]
    • Summary of Apple Q2 2017 Earnings [2:19]
    • Quick Intro: Every September, Apple will launch the latest iPhone model worldwide, and typically, the rumor mill will run from December of the past year to that time, and in Asia, Ming Chi Kuo from KG Securities (happened to be in Taiwan) will make some guesses of the upcoming features of iPhone models from the supply chain.  
    • How many different suppliers are involved in making an iPhone? (See Apple list of suppliers) [3:52]
    • Who are these suppliers? Intel, Foxconn Group (aka Hon Hai Precision), TSMC, Qualcomm, Pegatron and etc. [4:52]
    • Apple is very secretive. Yet it’s quite unique in opening up its list of suppliers and putting up metrics recently to measure their suppliers. Why does it do this, and what can we learn from these lists? [5:38]
    • Apple’s focus on supply chain management through their corporate social responsibility commitment [6:55]
    • Can you tell us more about the relationship that Apple has with its suppliers? [8:00]
    • How does Apple differ from other electronics brands? [10:40]
    • It’s now May 2017. We expect the next iPhone around September. What is happening right now at Apple and its suppliers? [15:15]
    • How does Apple decide the demand for their products, specifically for the iPhone? (Note: For Apple Watch and Airpods, they clearly underestimated the demand, whereas for iPhones, they have managed the expectations pretty well) [19:20]
    • The curious cases for OLED and LCD screens: many rumors have been circulated across the supply chain, what can we infer from Apple’s perspective on adopting OLED or LCD for their phone screens? [21:42]
    • Can Samsung make Apple’s life difficult with the OLED screens given that they are the largest suppliers? [24:05]
    • What are the biggest risks and troubles Apple will face as it gets closer to launch date, and after it’s launched? [25:52]


Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bleongcw) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Altizen Desk on Indiegogo (Twitter, Facebook, Medium). Also check out Ideal Workspace’s new standing desk, Altizen and sign up for their mailing list. Sound credits for the intro music: Taro Iwashiro, “The Beginning” from Red Cliff Soundtrack.