Apple temporarily closed all of its retail outlets in mainland China until 9 February due to public health concerns, as global efforts to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus respiratory illness continue to increase.
The company is one of a number of corporations temporarily shutting shops, offices, manufacturing plants and other workplaces in China in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.
Last week Apple CEO Tim Cook warned the outbreak would likely impact its retail activities and production in the country, noting several factories had delayed reopening after the Chinese New Year holiday until 10 February. At that point, only one of Apple’s retail stores had been closed with others operating reduced hours.
However, in a statement on its Chinese language website on 1 February, Apple notified customers of store closures, “based on recent public health and prevention considerations”.
The company runs 42 shops across China, alongside a number of corporate offices and other facilities. It is also the home of a number of its partners supplying components for its iPhones and other products.
Apple is not alone in closing stores due to the current public health crisis, with other large retailers, cafes and chain restaurants also suspending operations in selected areas.
Fallout from the public health crisis is expected to have an impact across the mobile industry. Analyst company Strategy Analytics projected the outbreak could cause an slowdown in smartphone production and sales in several Asian markets.