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Nintendo shifts some Switch production from China to Vietnam

People wait in line for a chance to sample new games for Nintendo Switch at the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo, also known as E3, opening in Los Angeles, California on June 11, 2019. - Gaming fans and developers gather, connecting thousands of the brightest, best and most innovative in the interactive entertainment industry and a chance for many to preview new games. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

TOKYO (AP) — Nintendo Co. plans to start making its Switch video game console in Vietnam this year, transferring some of its production from China, a company spokesman said Tuesday.

The official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, said the change has been in the works for some time, to reduce risks that come from having production in one nation. He denied it was a direct response to the growing trade friction between the U.S. and China.

He declined to give details on manufacturers or production sites in Vietnam, citing company policy. He said production was set to start this summer but declined to give a date.

Japan’s major business daily Nikkei reported Tuesday that the move was driven by worries that U.S. tariffs on goods produced in China may affect game device sales.

About 40% of annual Switch sales are in the U.S., and 20% in Japan. All production so far has been in China.

Switch sales for the last fiscal year totaled 17 million machines, falling short of the company goal of 20 million, according to the Kyoto-based maker of Super Mario and Pokemon games.

This fiscal year, which runs through March 2020, Nintendo hopes to ship 18 million Switch machines. The Switch is a hybrid game machine that works both as a console and a tablet. It went on sale about two years ago.

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