Apple has temporarily closed all of its physical retail stores, corporate offices and contact centers in mainland China through Sunday, February 9, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The company noted in a statement, seen by CNBC:
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 centers in mainland China through February 9.
Apple will continue to monitor the crisis and has promised to re-open the brick-and-mortar retail stores in the country “as soon as possible,” suggesting its facilities in China could remain closed after February 9 in case the coronavirus situation gets worse.
The company added that its online store in China will stay open.
This can’t be good news and it’s made worse by the fact that China is Apple’s key growth area — and especially considering that its products are being assembled in Chinese factories.
The tech giant cautioned Wall Street analysts and investors that the coronavirus has caused its leadership to set a $4 billion revenue guidance range between $63 billion and $67 billion.
Revered Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimated in a research note issued to clients last night that the coronavirus outbreak in China, a 1.4 billion people country, will in fact impact iPhone sales, prompting him to cut his shipment guidance by ten percent for the quarter.
In terms of second-quarter sales, Kuo said it was difficult for his team to predict possible revenue disruptions because of the uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus epidemic, which now appears to be causing consumer confidence to erode globally.
The newest numbers from China’s National Health Commission say there have been 17,205 cases of coronavirus and 361 deaths. Check out the organization’s official website to educate yourself on the latest about the coronavirus epidemic and how to protect yourself.