Design Shanghai 2019 - Photo via IG, follow @maocater.

Coronavirus disrupts Chinese business – Pictured: Design Shanghai 2019, photo via IG by @maocater.

Coronavirus – “The safety of our customers and team is our first priority.” Explain the organizers of DesgnShanghai. The biggest Chinese furniture trade fair and festival have been postponed to the end of May. “We have made this decision based on advice and information from government and local authorities in China and consultation with our partners, venue and local team.”

Other high-profile events have been postponed. “With great disappointment,” Shanghai studio Neri&Hu has scrapped plans for its Festival of Design conference after “carefully evaluating the situation and potential risks.” The event will return in March 2021. Shenzhen International Furniture Fair, which was due to take place from 18 to 21 March, announced it has postponed its dates to June. Dealers of Art Basel Hong Kong – scheduled on March 19-21 – called for the event to be postponed as well. The fair has yet to announce a decision.

On February 3, stock exchanges reopened after the Chinese New Year bank holiday time, and slumped. The government is injecting liquidity in the market but we can expect quite a rollercoaster.

The fear of contagion risk is already evident in global financial markets,” said analysts at Moody’s Investor Services. “The outbreak will also potentially have a disruptive effect on global supply chains.”

Global companies operating in the affected area may face output losses as a result of the evacuation of workers,” the report added. “Companies operating outside China that have a strong dependence on the upstream output produced from the affected area will also be under pressure because of possible supply chain disruptions resulting from temporary production delays.”

Coronavirus disrupts Chinese business

Indeed China is also the major world manufacturer of components, designs and a big exporter of materials. Honda, Tesla, Nissan and more have closed their plants while copper and nichel availability could create ripple effects. Companies around the world have warned that the outbreak in China could disrupt supply chains or hurt bottom lines as factories stop.

Meanwhile, some major companies have shut their Chinese stores and imposed employee travel bans. “We will pay close attention to the epidemic situation, and the stores will be closed until further notice,” said a spokeswoman for Ikea China said in a statement, adding that the online shopping service will continue to operate. The company has 30 stores across China, including one in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Apple is shutting all its 42 stores and corporate locations as well. “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 centres in mainland China through February 9.”