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Coronavirus forces Apple to close all stores and offices in China until February 9

Apple Suzhou store in China

Last updated

Apple has closed its 42 Apple Stores in China, and an unspecified number of local Apple offices, in response to the Coronavirus and what the company calls "an abundance of caution."

The company's current plan is for its retail and office buildings to remain closed through February 9, but this decision will be continually reviewed.

"Our thoughts are with the people most immediately affected by the Coronavirus and with those working around the clock to study and contain it," said Apple in a statement, according to CNBC.

"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 centers in mainland China through February 9," it continued.

Apple says that it is monitoring the situation, however, and will reopen its offices and physical retail stores "as soon as possible." The online Apple Store is unaffected.

The move follows the earlier decision to close two sites, the Apple Wonder City in Nanjing and Apple Tahoe Plaza in Fuzhou. In both of those cases, the malls the Apple Stores are in took the decision to close and were planning to reopen on February 2.

It isn't presently clear what the long-term effects to Apple's businesses will be. As well as Apple's own locations in China, it relies extensively on suppliers and manufacturers in the region. Some are situated in Wuhan, at the center of the outbreak, and Tim Cook said earlier this week that Apple was working on plans to mitigate production issues.

"We have alternate sourcing and contingency plans," he said. "Factories outside Wuhan are less clear. We are trying to factor in factory re-opening delays into our guidance."

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo sees five different impacts to Apple's business. They range from component supply problems, to the more mundane like Face ID not working properly through protective masks.