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Jabil Isn’t Too Worried About U.S.-China Trade War

Jabil's manufacturing plant in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi.
Jabil's manufacturing plant in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi.

By Bradley George

One of the largest companies in the Tampa Bay region says it isn’t seeing much of an impact from the U.S.-China trade war.  

Jabil, headquarted in St. Petersburg, makes parts for iPhones and other electronics at its Chinese factories. The country accounts for about 20 percent of its total revenue. When the Trump Administration first announced tariffs on Chinese made products, there was speculation about whether companies like Apple would move production elsewhere.  

Jabil CEO Mark Mondello says that hasn’t happened. He listed the reasons why on a quarterly earnings conference call June 18.  

“One, the deep-rooted mature supply chain that's foundational to China,” Mondello told investors and analysts on the call. “Two, many of our customers don't see a reasonable payback associated with such a move. And three, a decent percentage of our China revenue is for final consumption in geographies other than the United States.”  

Mondello said Jabil can accommodate companies that want to move, noting it has over 50 million square feet of manufacturing space around the world.  “We've got some of the greatest brands on the planet that really, really trust us to run lead for them on their scenario planning and what-if scenarios,” he said. “We're just not seeing a lot of customers moving existing production.” 

Meanwhile, Jabil is looking to grow its business. It recently took over operations of Johnson & Johnson’s medical device division. Jabil is also helping companies who want to adopt cloud computing and 5G wireless technology. 

Bradley George was a Morning Edition host and reporter at WUSF until March 2022.
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