BEIJING: Apple on Saturday said it would shut all official stores and corporate offices in mainland China until 9th February as fears mounted over the coronavirus outbreak.
“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,” the company said in a statement.
The company said it looked forward to re-opening stores as soon as possible. Earlier this week, Apple closed three stores in China due to concerns about the spread of the virus.
Apple is joining a handful of overseas retailers, including Starbucks and McDonald’s, to temporarily shut store as a precautionary measure as the death toll more than doubled to over 250 from a week ago.
Meanwhile, many other companies have called for employees in China to work from home and refrain from non-essential travel in the first week of February.
Businesses in China would normally be preparing to return to normal operations following the end of the week-long Lunar New Year Holiday but remain shuttered due to the outbreak.
Apple is heavily reliant on China both for smartphone sales as well as for its supply chain and manufacturing. Many factories in Hubei province, including plants run by AB InBev and General Motors, have temporarily suspended production due to the virus.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was working out mitigation plans to deal with possible production loss from its suppliers in Wuhan as the city where the virus outbreak originated is home to several Apple suppliers.
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