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Coronavirus outbreak: Apple to Google, here’s how tech industry has been impacted

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Written by Sneha Saha
| New Delhi |

Published: January 30, 2020 2:46:16 pm


Coronavirus outbreak: From Apple to Google, here’s how tech industry has been affected Coronavirus outbreak: From Apple to Google, here’s how tech industry has been affected

People living in China are having sleepless nights and the reason for that is the fast spreading Coronavirus. The latest numbers suggest that the Coronavirus death toll has gone up to almost 170 now in China while nearly 7700 across the world have been infected. The virus is spreading from one country to another and this is worrying not just the governments, but also other industries including aviation, finance and also tech. Several airlines have suspended flights from or to China.

The tech industry is also going through a tough time due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Companies like Apple, Google have shut shops in China, which is one of the important countries for most tech companies, especially smartphone manufacturers. These tech companies have also limited their employees to travel to China.

iPhone 9 delayed or not?

Apple is said to be one of the most impacted due to Coronavirus outbreak but the company doesn’t accept it. At the time of announcing the earnings report on Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company is prepared for any impact from Coronavirus on its supply chain.

Apple has shut a total of three stores in China due to the fast-spreading Coronavirus. Earlier this week, Cook informed about the temporary shut down of its Qingdao store. Adding on, Apple has now closed two more stores in Fuzhou and Nanjing temporarily. The company is also limiting employees on traveling to China. All of this could affect Apple’s supply chain, suggest analysts.

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“I can’t imagine a scenario where the supply chain isn’t disrupted,” a veteran industry analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy told Bloomberg. “If there’s one major hiccup in the raw materials, fabrication, assembly, test, and shipping, it will be a disruption,” Moorhead further added.In addition, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also suggested that Coronavirus can affect the launch of the affordable iPhone, said to be iPhone 9/ iPhone SE 2, which is tipped to take place in the month of March this year.

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Talking about how Apple has prepared for any impact from Coronavirus, Cook said, “We do have some suppliers in the Wuhan area. For all of the suppliers, there are alternate sources and we’re obviously working on mitigation plans to make up for any expected production loss.” He further informed that all factories in China will reopen on February 10 in some of the impact areas instead of January end.

Foxconn in a latest report said that it is working to meet all manufacturing obligations amid the coronavirus outbreak in China. Foxconn in a statement said, “We do not comment on our specific production practices, but we can confirm that we have measures in place to ensure that we can continue to meet all global manufacturing obligations.”

With contradicting statements coming from everywhere it is difficult to say whether Apple’s affordable iPhone will launch in March — as reported in the past — or will be delayed further.

Google’s factories in China shut

Alongside Apple, Coronavirus is affecting Google as well. The company has confirmed to The Verge that due to Coronavirus outbreak all Google offices in China will be temporarily shut until further notified. Google has also confirmed to shut its offices temporarily in Hong Kong and Taiwan, which is likely to impact Google’s production. A Google spokesperson has also informed that the company will keep its offices closed in accordance with the government guidance. The company has also confirmed to temporarily restrict its employees from flying to Mainland China and Hong Kong.

Coronavirus’ impact on other tech firms: Xiaomi, LG

Xiaomi is one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers in China. During the Coronavirus outbreak, Xiaomi has officially confirmed to shut all physical shops — there are hundreds of them — across China. The stores will be shut until February 3, 2020. The company also informed that people who want to urgently buy a Xiaomi phone during this period will be able to purchase it via the company’s online store or its Mall app. However, the delivery will be delayed, confirmed company.

LG has also issued a ban on its employees from traveling to China amid the Coronavirus outbreak. The South Korean company said that it also wants all traveling employees currently in China to return to their homes. LG also told its employees that future travel plans to China must be approved via a special request to the company.

A LG spokesperson said in a statement, “Effective this week, LG Electronics has implemented a complete travel ban on employee travel to China. Non-China based employees currently in that country are required to return to their home countries immediately.” It further noted, “If travel to China is absolutely essential, employees are required to request and receive special approval in advance. We are confident that the disease can be contained if everyone — including corporations doing business in China — is prudent and makes the safety of their employees their number one priority.”

Popular gaming laptops and accessories manufacturer, Razer uses Chinese suppliers to manufacture some of its products such as gaming mice, keyboards, headsets, among others. The company has factories setup in various parts of China. Due to Coronavirus outbreak Razer confirmed to The Verge that it is restricting travel to China. A company spokesperson said, “Our company has already been restricting travel and advising employees to work from home.”

Facebook is also impacted due to the fast-spreading Coronavirus. Although Facebook is restricted in China, the social media platform does have offices in the country. Facebook similar to Razer uses Chinese suppliers to manufacture its Oculus virtual reality headsets and also its Portal family of video chat devices. The social media giant has also restricted travel to China.

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Updated: January 30, 2020 — 6:56 pm

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