KEY POINTS

  • The spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus is seen to affect Apple's business in China
  • The virus has affected thousands of people already, and worries about it persist
  • The virus might cause problems with Apple's production, sales, and more

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus – or “2019 nCoV” – is currently affecting a large number of people inside and outside the city of Wuhan in China, where it started.

So far, about 2,800 have been infected with the virus and about 80 have died since it started in December, the CDC reported (via Apple Insider).

The problem has worsened to the point that Wuhan City has been forced to stop transit, close schools and businesses, cancel holiday celebrations and forbid anyone from traveling to and from the city. It's that contagious.

The 2019 nCoV is seen to affect Apple's business in China far more than Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) did years ago. At the time, the Cupertino tech giant's business in China was still small, and the damage SARS did to it was negligible. Now, however, the iPhone maker's business in country has grown larger, and can be affected in a bigger way.

Here's how 2019 nCoV can affect Apple's business in China and beyond, as per Apple Insider:

Cloud data centers

First, Apple has iCloud data centers in different locations in China. These centers won't be affected as much as Apple's other businesses since they do not require a lot of people to keep them running. Furthermore, the people who work there are mostly called on when emergencies arise. Hopefully, the few workers there won't be affected by 2019 nCoV if ever an emergency arises.

Retail Businesses

Apple's retail business is seen to suffer from 2019 nCoV in two ways. First, Apple's retail stores need people to run them. If the employees are affected by the virus, the retail stores will be affected as well.

Second, the consumers. Worries over the outbreak will cause a decrease in the number of customers braving the streets to go to an Apple Store in China. The fewer the customers, the lesser the sales.

Production

Apple supplier Foxconn, which is tasked with many things related to the manufacturing of iPhones and other iDevices, is based in China. Many of its factories are found in areas where the virus has already spread. What's more, the working conditions in the factory – which often puts workers in close proximity to each other while they work – also make it easier for the the virus to spread even more.

The virus might affect the production of Apple's devices, which can lead to delays in the release of new products as well as shortages of existing devices. Foxconn already told the workers in its Wuhan plant who went to Taiwan for the Chinese new year to stay in Taiwan and to avoid being infected with the virus, The Straits Times reported.