Before the pandemic, Apple Inc. sent hundreds of U.S. engineers each month to China to oversee the contract manufacturers that build most of its products.
Now, in a shift, the global technology giant relies more on local engineers.
Most U.S.-based Apple engineers have been shut out of China for the past two years by rigid border controls intended to keep the Covid-19 virus at bay. New iPhone models in 2020 were delayed, but since then Apple has largely kept up with its annual product cycle thanks to focusing on localization, people familiar with the matter said.
Apple’s China-based engineers have taken on greater responsibilities to keep the cycle going, the people said. The transfer of power underscores the growing technical expertise of China’s workforce, honed over decades as Apple and other foreign companies have trained generations of engineers and technicians.