Coronavirus may impact Apple’s business in the long run
Apple supplier Foxconn has warned employees who were in Taiwan for the Chinese New Year to not come back to the Wuhan plant in China.
The deadly Coronavirus has claimed more than a 100 lives in China so far and Apple is taking precautions, understandably. Apple supplier Foxconn has warned employees who were in Taiwan for the Chinese New Year to not come back to the Wuhan plant in China.
The Foxconn facility in Wuhan "could quickly become overrun with an outbreak, potentially putting workers at unnecessary risk and effectively shutting down production", says a report in AppleInsider.
Besides asking employees to stay home, Foxconn has also upped employee health monitoring at its Wuhan factory.
"Foxconn has provided employees with face masks to prevent the spread of the virus. Employees must also have their temperature checked daily, as one of the first symptoms of the illness is a fever," the report said.
Asking employees to stay home means one primary thing for Apple - lower productions. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, around five million Chinese jobs rely on Apple's presence in the country, including those of more than 1.8 million software and iOS App developers.
Apple employs 10,000 people in China and more than 90% of Apple's products are being assembled in China. The tech giant has three main businesses in China -- iCloud data centres, retail outlets and a huge manufacturing base.
While Apple Cloud centres are not expected to be heavily impacted but there will be fewer people stepping out of their homes and that means fewer footfalls at Apple Stores and lower sales across the region. The bigger impact of this is also expected to be felt worldwide.
Apple has no stores in Wuhan and effective from January 27, the company has already reduced their operating hours at retails stores across Mainland China.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has tweeted that Apple will donate money to groups on the ground helping to support those affected by the virus.
As people in China and around the world celebrate the Lunar New Year, we send our love and support to the many impacted by the Coronavirus. Apple will be donating to groups on the ground helping support all of those affected.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) January 25, 2020
Chinese health authorities have said that the death toll due to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in the country has increased to 106, with 4,515 confirmed cases in 30 provincial-level regions.
The US has raised its travel alert for China and recommended that Americans should "reconsider" travelling to China and Facebook has asked its employees to suspend 'non-essential' travel to the country and those who are working from China have been asked to work from home.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we have taken steps to protect the health and safety of our employees," a Facebook spokesman told Reuters.