While the fashion community battles the Coronavirus outbreak with face masks, the tech world is suffering considerable hardship. Gadgets around the world haven’t been able to ship to their destinations due to government mandated shutdowns cause by the Coronavirus outbreak around Mainland China.
Tech Companies Are Restricting Traveling
Google and Facebook are just two companies to restrict business-related travel to China for their employees as part of the advice provided by the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Employees that have recently returned from China have been mandated to work from home.
Nevertheless, companies such as Apple are getting away with minimal travel. The company has limited employee travel for only critical situations. However, even though the company had already asked some AirPods suppliers to build capacity in Vietnam during the US/China trade war, the majority of their production is still made in China, where the virus has taken its real toll.
Nintendo has also suffered in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak. The tech giant apologized for delays in shipments of its Nintendo Switch in Japan over the Coronavirus outbreak. Production of the portable console has also been interrupted. The company announced that the virus has impacted one of the teams working on the project, shutting production down for the time being.
Production Remains Uncertain
For safety measures, tech companies are going on a hiatus to prevent any more cross-contamination that could spread the disease. Although it was expected for some of these companies to resume business as usual by February 10th, Chinese officials are now instructing manufacturers to not open until March 1st.
As a result, consumers are to expect a shortage of various items such as smartphones and headsets like Facebook’s Oculus Quest. In a statement to Android Central, the company warned users that:
“Oculus Quest has been selling out in some regions due to high demand. That said, like other companies we’re expecting some additional impact to our hardware production due to the Coronavirus. We’re taking precautions to ensure the safety of our employees, manufacturing partners and customers, and are monitoring the situation closely. We are working to restore availability as soon as possible.”
Another example of a company going through delayed production is Apple’s main iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, which was expected to stay closed until at least February 10th since employees were unable to continue work in Zhengzhou, the capital of China’s Henan province. Even though the plant reopened, only 10% of its workers came back, which Bloomberg predicted would impact global trade.
Tech Events Interrupted
With both traveling and production halted for the time being, many events have been canceled as well in other parts of the world. The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain has been put off to avoid the spread of the disease. Brands such as Amazon, Sony, and LG Electronics have opted to not attend the event out of fear of possible outbreaks. It seems futile for the Global System Mobile Communications Association to hold the event since mobile technology producers won’t be there.
While this decision is independent from the World Health Organization, the MWC brand’s trade show in Shanghai, China, is also a reminder of money loss, since some Chinese companies are still closed at the moment and those who pulled out of the MWC shouldn’t expect their money back.
Huawei’s developers conference, also known as HDC Cloud 2020, took a leap of faith and decided to not cancel its event. Instead they postponed the event until late March as a safety precaution. And with reason, since more than 1600 people have perished at the hands of the virus so far in China. While the choice delays marketing, there is a chance not all will be lost, since the event also serves as Huawei’s centerpiece for technology manufacturers.
Regardless of how experts decide to interpret the events of the coronavirus, the facts remain. The virus has triggered a state of emergency worldwide. In the technology world, consumers are taking a hit from the outbreak as companies are unable to fulfill orders.