Apple to close all China stores over coronavirus outbreak
01 Feb 2020 06 58
People walk around an Apple store in China. File/ AFP
Apple on Saturday said it would shut all of its official stores and corporate offices in mainland China until Feb.9 as fears over the coronavirus outbreak mounted and the death toll more than doubled to over 250 from a week ago.
“Out of an abundance of caution and based on the latest advice from leading health experts, we’re closing all our corporate offices, stores, and contact centres in mainland China through February 9,” Apple said in a statement. The company said it looked forward to re-opening stores “as soon as possible”.
A virus-affected patient is taken to a treatment facility.
Earlier this week, Apple closed three stores in China due to concerns about the spread of the virus.
It’s joining a handful of overseas retailers, including Starbucks Corporation and McDonald’s Corp, to temporarily shut storefronts as a precautionary measure. Many other companies, meanwhile, have called for employees in China to work from home and cease non-essential business travel in the first week of February. Normally, businesses in China would be preparing to return to normal operations following the end of the week-long Lunar New Year Holiday.
Health Officials check a person in Beijing.
Apple remains heavily reliant on China both for smartphone sales and its supply chain and manufacturing. Many factories in Hubei province, including plants run by AB InBev and General Motors Co, have temporarily suspended production due to the virus. In a recent earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was working out mitigation plans to deal with possible production loss from its suppliers in Wuhan.
The city where the virus outbreak originated is home to several Apple suppliers. The coronavirus outbreak in China could also disrupt India’s production of smartphones.