SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — From cancelled appearances at the World Mobile Congress to slowed production pipelines, the Coronavirus outbreak in China is having an economic impact on many of the largest technology companies in the Silicon Valley.
On CBSN Bay Area Tuesday, CNET Senior Editor Claire Reilly talked about the impact factory shutdowns in and around the outbreak’s epicenter of Wuhan, China, was having on Apple and other tech giants.
“No matter where the companies around the world are based like Apple, Oculus, Tesla — they all got factories in China,” she said. “That’s where the bulk of production around the world is happening. Companies like Apple have said that components come from places like Wuhan… so that’s starting to affect the products that actually come into stores because if you can’t get the components, you can’t make the devices.”
She much of the buzz is around the impact the continued Chinese plant shutdowns will have on Apple’s popular Airpods.
“There is speculation this could affect as many as 45 million pairs of Airpods,” Reilly told CBSN Bay Area. “They’ve (apple) asked their suppliers to ram up manufacturing, but of course, they can’t get the components because the factories are closed down, which they have been for a number of weeks now.”
She said a colleague at CNET recently for a notice her newly purchased phone has been delayed.
“I had a colleague who was trying to order a new phone and she got an email yesterday saying do to manufacturing problems in China there’s a delay,” Reilly told CBSN Bay Area. “We don’t know if that’s associated with the coronavirus, but it seems to indicate there are problems coming down the pipeline.”
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The outbreak also has impacted this year’s Mobile World Congress being held in Barcelona, Spain. Amazon, Ericsson, Facebook, Sony, Intel, Cisco, LG and other tech companies have announced they are withdrawing from this year’s event because of the risk that attendees could catch the coronavirus.
“Huge brands are saying they can’t afford to risk sending their executives to the show,” Reilly told CBSN Bay Area. “Some Chinese brands like Huawei, they’ve said they are going to limit their presence at the show. Oppo, a Chinese manufacturer, is going to thermal screen people are they come into the event. It’s (coronavirus) is really impacting what we are going to see in the tech space this year.”
A Facebook spokesperson said that “out of an abundance of caution” its employees will not attend the event “due to the evolving public health risks related to coronavirus.”
The summit will go ahead as planned, event organizer and mobile operator lobbying group GSMA said in a statement on Sunday, but it will be restricting access for visitors from China.