Among Apple's Chinese suppliers, Luxshare Precision Industry Co., Ltd. (commonly known as Luxshare) stands out as a consistent partner. Their collaboration spans over 12 years, covering three major product lines: iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods, as well as the cutting-edge Apple Vision Pro.
With the production of the iPhone 15 series, their partnership has expanded to include three models, at least one of which is a Pro variant. According to Wang Laichun, Chairman and General Manager of Luxshare, the company has significantly increased the number and types of iPhones it produces. "Our iPhone business has doubled in the past year," she noted.
As the iPhone 15 is set to officially hit the market, reporters had a conversation with Wang, delving into the deeper story behind Apple and Luxshare's partnership.
"When I received Apple's first order in 2011, only 500 of our employees were dedicated to Apple," Wang recalled, as per Jiemian news. Today, at its peak, the company employs over 340,000 people worldwide.
To meet Apple's order demands, Luxshare has continuously expanded its production capacity. Last year, the company established a new campus in Kunshan, specifically to support iPhone development and mass production. This facility reportedly created tens of thousands of jobs.
However, meeting Apple's manufacturing challenges requires more than just manpower. To address this, Luxshare established a 4,000-strong central automation team to cater to Apple's automation needs across various products, from precision components to module and system assembly.
The company has deployed tens of thousands of precision automation equipment and tools to facilitate production across multiple product lines. For tasks like the high-precision assembly of iPhones, automated optical inspection for Apple Watches, and the intelligent warehousing of products, Luxshare actively harnesses smart manufacturing capabilities for data-driven decision-making.
Significantly, Luxshare confirmed for the first time that they would assist Apple in producing the Apple Vision Pro, an innovative head-mounted display device. Unveiled at this year's WWDC, this product, with its groundbreaking experience, advanced capabilities, and premium price point, has garnered significant attention and anticipation.
Securing a partnership with Apple for this cutting-edge product underscores Apple's confidence in Luxshare's manufacturing prowess. "Chairman Wang Laichun and her team, who started supplying charging cables to Apple over a decade ago, have now evolved to assist us in producing our most advanced products. They've built an exceptional enterprise along the way," said Cui Yushan, Apple's Vice President of Procurement and Operations in Asia. However, both Luxshare and Apple have remained tight-lipped about further production details of this product.
Looking at the evolution of Luxshare's partnership with Apple over the years, the range and complexity of their collaborative products have indeed expanded. Wang believes that the ability to choose clients strategically is crucial.
She explained that since entering the industry, the company has always been clear about its role and positioning in the supply chain. "We are in the B2B business, acting as a bridge for our clients." Wang emphasized the importance of partnering with top-tier industry clients to stay abreast of the latest technologies and trends. Adopting a client-centric mindset and fostering a company culture that prioritizes this approach has been fundamental to Luxshare's longstanding success.
In the realm of smart hardware products, Apple is undeniably a leader. Wang noted that Apple has cultivated a group of Chinese suppliers like Luxshare, capable of addressing client challenges. These suppliers have also been able to leverage their expertise across various industries and clients. "For businesses, it's not about short-term gains or losses but the long-term capabilities and value they bring," she said.
It's well-known that Apple's expectations for its supply chain extend beyond just product quality. They encompass environmental performance and the overall skill and management level of the factories.
Regarding environmental performance, at Apple's recent fall product launch, the company not only introduced the carbon-neutral Apple Watch S9 but also reiterated its goal to achieve a carbon-neutral supply chain by 2030.
Luxshare, a partner in Apple's China Clean Energy Program, has committed to ensuring that products supplied to Apple are produced using 100% clean energy. This is achieved through actions like building rooftop photovoltaic installations, purchasing green power, buying green certificates, and investing in green energy. By the end of 2022, Luxshare's total rooftop photovoltaic installation capacity had reached nearly 55MW.
Additionally, the company has actively integrated into Apple's Supplier Employee Development Fund Program. This includes participating in Apple's automation technician training, line leader programs, apprenticeship schemes, personal leadership initiatives, and educational and developmental programs for employees with disabilities. To date, approximately 17,000 Luxshare employees have participated in these programs.
Regarding future collaboration with Apple, Wang believes Apple will continue to lead the industry. Luxshare aims to facilitate upgrades in new materials, technologies, and products for Apple. They also plan to advance in automation, data analytics, and standardization to achieve smart manufacturing while continuously exploring new product technologies.