Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday local time that the company began restricting travel to China last week because of a new coronavirus outbreak, and that it had closed an Apple store in mainland China and reduced the opening hours of other retail stores. The announcement is further evidence that the outbreak is affecting the presence of the technology industry in one of its most important markets, including sales and manufacturing.
It comes after several technology companies, including Facebook, Thunder Snake and LG, announced a ban on recent trips to China.
But Foxconn, one of Apple’s main suppliers, said Tuesday that the new coronavirus outbreak would not affect its production schedule.
Cook is understood to have announced the news on a conference call with investors after Apple’s quarterly results. Apple said sales of its products were very low in the area around Wuhan, where the new coronavirus outbreak has broken out. At the same time, however, the company’s retail operations across China have been negatively affected.
Part of the reason is that the Chinese government has extended the Lunar New Year holiday, and the government encourages people to stay at home in order not to keep the virus from spreading. Mr Cook said Apple had taken into account the delay in reopening production facilities due to extended holidays, and that was expected to reflect on next quarter’s revenue.
In addition, Apple is providing care packages for employees in the Wuhan area, taking regular body temperature, checking for fever and suspected flu symptoms, and actively cleaning retail stores and offices.