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Apple says it wants to spend more on suppliers in Vietnam

HANOI (Reuters) -Apple Inc wants to boost its investment in Vietnam, state media quoted the U.S. tech giant's CEO Tim Cook as saying in Hanoi on Tuesday, a day after the U.S. company said it wanted to increase spending on suppliers in the Southeast Asian nation.

Vietnam is already a key manufacturing hub for Apple and Cook was speaking while meeting Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, state media reported.

Vietnam will set up a working group to support Apple's investment, Chinh told Cook during the meeting, according to state media.

"Today, Apple announced it will increase spending on suppliers in Vietnam, along with new progress in an initiative to support clean water for local schools," the company said in a statement released on Monday on its website.

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Its spending has already reached some 400 trillion dong ($15.84 billion) and has created some 200,000 jobs, the statement added.

Apple did not respond to a request for additional comments about its spending.

Cook arrived in Hanoi on Monday for the two-day visit during which he met suppliers, students, content creators and users of Apple products.

Apple manufactures iPads, AirPods and Apple Watches in Vietnam and suppliers for MacBooks are also investing in the Southeast Asian country.

The company had 25 suppliers in Vietnam as of 2022, according to its latest suppliers list, the same as in the previous year and up from 21 in 2020. These suppliers include Foxconn, GoerTek, Luxshare, Intel, Samsung Electronics and Compal.

Suppliers to its main vendors, such as Foxconn, are also moving or planning to move to Vietnam, and some are shifting some activities out of China, amid U.S.-China tensions, according to several industry sources who declined to name the companies as the moves were still confidential.

While meeting Cook, Chinh said that Vietnam was seeking support from Apple to develop renewable energy as well as in high-quality human resource training, VTV said in a report.

Apple's latest announcement came days after activists urged the company to take action on Vietnam's detention of climate experts.

($1 = 25,260 dong)

(Reporting by Khanh Vu and Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Miral Fahmy)