A boxed Apple iPhone X. Jack Taylor, Getty Images

Apple Suppliers Rally on Signs of Strong iPhone X Demand

Apple says demand for its signature gadget is “off the charts,” and began taking orders for the iPhone X Friday — with shipping times lengthened within minutes to as much as six weeks in the U.S.

Apple Inc.’s biggest suppliers from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. climbed Monday after delivery times for the iPhone X stretched to as much as six weeks in the U.S., underscoring demand for the marquee smartphone.

Shares in Hon Hai, the main assembler of Apple devices, climbed as much as 3.6% in Taipei. TSMC, the U.S. company’s biggest chip supplier, rose as much as 2.5% to a record. Other suppliers from AAC Technologies Holdings Inc. in Hong Kong to Lens Technology Co. in mainland China also advanced, tracking Apple’s own gains Friday.

Apple says demand for its signature gadget is “off the charts,” and began taking orders for the iPhone X Friday — with shipping times lengthened within minutes to as much as six weeks in the U.S. That suggested tight supply over the crucial holiday season, when retailers make the majority of their revenue. The U.S. company was also said to have struggled to make enough of its costliest device, in part because of quality issues with the sensors that make Face ID possible.

In Europe, shares in Austrian-based Apple supplier AMS AG gained as much as 5.5% to 77.65 Swiss francs ($77.74) Tuesday in Zurich. Shares in Dialog Semiconductor rose as much as 6.8% to 43.14 euros ($50.08) on Monday in Frankfurt. AMS produces optical sensors for mobile phones, while Dialog provides power-management chips to Apple.

The pre-orders situation is “easing concerns that demand for the iPhone X might not meet expectations,” Bloomberg Intelligence said in a report released over the weekend. “Telecom carrier reports of relatively weak demand for the iPhone 8 stoked these fears.”

Around the world, Apple fans posted images and comments online Friday about how they were planning to get their hands on one of the $999 (or more) phones. In Hong Kong, the phone appeared to sell out less than half an hour after ordering began in the mid-afternoon, with the online store there showing the phone “currently unavailable.” It was a similar story across Asia.

In the U.K., the device sold out within minutes. By mid-morning, customers were being told they would have to wait four to six weeks before the phone became available. And if New Yorkers didn’t stay up all night, they were likely out of luck. By early morning on the East Coast, Apple’s website was already registering a wait of as much as six weeks.

Waiting several weeks for major new Apple devices has become common. Shipping times for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, launched in 2014 and the previous end-to-end iPhone overhaul, extended to as much as four weeks in the hours after becoming available to pre-order. Apple typically takes a few weeks or months to reach a balance of supply and demand for major new iPhone launches.

The iPhone X has a crisper OLED screen with slimmer bezels, matching recent designs from Samsung Electronics Co., in addition to a unique facial recognition scanner that lets the user unlock the phone rather than using a fingerprint. Apple struggled to manufacture aspects of the new features, and the iPhone X’s Nov. 3 debut will be about six weeks after the arrival of the iPhone 8, which is a less sophisticated device.

“The Apple supply chain was strong this morning as the iPhone X sales are good,” said Allan Lin, an assistant vice president at Concord Securities Corp.

By Yu-Huay Sun

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