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Apple Set To Close Stores In China Over Virus Outbreak

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Apple has on Saturday stated that it is shutting down all its corporate offices, stores, and contact centres in mainland China until February 9th as fears over the coronavirus outbreak mounted and the death toll more than doubled to over 250 from a week ago.

According to a statement provided to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, "Our thoughts are with the people most immediately affected by the coronavirus and with those working around the clock to study and contain it. 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 centres in mainland china through February 9. Apple's online store in china remains open. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and we look forward to reopening our stores as soon as possible"

“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 centres in mainland China through February 9,” Apple said in a statement. The company said looked forward to re-opening stores “as soon as possible”.

It’s not clear if Apple’s Chinese factories, run by Foxconn, will also be shutting down and more factory workers dismissed. We’ve asked both Apple and Foxconn. As of Tuesday, Foxconn told us it would still be operating on a holiday schedule and didn’t anticipate any impact in production.

Apple will be joining a handful of overseas retailers, including Starbucks Corp and McDonald’s Corp to temporarily shut storefronts as a precautionary measure. Many other companies, meanwhile, have called for employees in China to work from home and cease non-essential business travel in the first week of February.

Apple remains 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 Co, have temporarily suspended production due to the virus.

In a recent earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was working out mitigation plans to deal with possible production loss from its suppliers in Wuhan. The city where the virus outbreak originated is home to several Apple suppliers.

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