Thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, Swiss luxury watchmakers are taking it in the shorts. For the time being, the Chinese market is dead. But at least Swiss watches are made in Switzerland. Apple’s all-conquering watch is made in Foxconn’s Zhengzhou “Apple City.” That’s just 320 miles from Wuhan, ground zero for the coronavirus epidemic. There’s no news about the current fate of Apple’s watch production but . . .
it seems highly likely the factories are closed for business. At least you’d hope so. bloomberg.com reports that . ..
Apple said this week that it would close its corporate offices, stores and contact centers in mainland China through February 9, out of an “abundance of caution and based on the latest advice from leading health experts.”
If Apple watch production ceases for months, how long before the severed supply chain creates an Apple Watch drought? Will it? Or will Apple somehow manage to in-source production in time to avoid The Mother of All Inventory problems? Oh wait. EVERYBODY BACK TO WORK!
Apple Inc.’s major suppliers in China, including iPhone-maker Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., plan to resume full-scale production in the country Feb. 10, despite the coronavirus that has infected thousands and limited travel.
Foxconn’s Hon Hai, the most important manufacturer for the U.S. company, said Tuesday it still expects to be able to restart facilities throughout China on schedule, according to a text message sent to Bloomberg News. Suppliers such as Quanta Computer Inc., Inventec Corp. and LG Display Co. also said they would go back to work next week in China.
Yup. The People’s Republic of China has decreed that their tech industry will reboot on Monday the 10th of February. Apple watch production resumes! Or will it?
While Chinese officials and companies have targeted Feb. 10 as the date to resume work in much of the country, doubts about the timing have grown in recent days as the virus death toll rises, workers find themselves stuck in municipal lockdowns and the transport of people and goods has been hampered. More than 20,000 people have been infected with the virus and more than 400 have died.
Next question: should Apple’s supplier restart production? The virus is spread by close contact. Factory workers are in close contact. Would Apple put Chinese workers (mostly subcontractors) in mortal peril for profit? Perish the thought!
Apple has roughly 10,000 direct employees in China, across its retail and corporate entities. Its supply chain also has more than a million workers manufacturing products like the iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch.
Apple may defy the PRC to protect its workers. And pigs might fly. As always, watch this space.