Tech firms shut down Chinese offices as coronavirus spreads
With more than 7,700 cases of the virus now confirmed in China, technology companies and manufacturing plants are temporarily closing their East Asian offices
Google has made the decision to temporarily close its offices in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan as a result of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Although Google’s search engine is not available in China, the company has four offices on the mainland that focus on sales and engineering for its advertising business.
Amazon and Microsoft have recently taken similar precautions to protect staff from the virus by asking employees to either work from home or extend their Lunar New Year holiday.
The automotive industry has been badly affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with Wuhan being a major manufacturing hub
The coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China, but has now spread to every region in the country and been identified in at least 15 other countries across the world. China itself has 7,711 confirmed cases of the infection, and a death toll of 170 as of January 30. The virus’ global spread has resulted in at least another 71 recorded cases outside of China.
Subsequently, the city of Wuhan has been placed on on lockdown, while non-Chinese authorities – including those of the US and UK – have begun attempting to evacuate their citizens from the area.
Earlier this week, Facebook became the first major US firm to tell staff to avoid travelling to China and told employees who had travelled there to work from home. Apple also raised concerns about the virus due to the company’s reliance on Chinese factories for the manufacture of many of its products.
The automotive industry has also been badly affected by the outbreak, with Wuhan being a major manufacturing hub. General Motors is the most recent major car firm to announce plans to extend its Lunar New Year holiday plant closures until February 9, following a similar decision by Toyota. Meanwhile, the French carmaking group PSA – owner of Peugeot and Citroen – has announced it is planning to evacuate its French staff and their families from China.