Coronavirus causes iPhone shortage as Apple takes a hit

The outbreak has limited the number of devices being built and sold in China.

Apple has announced that it will fail to reach its revenue forecast for the March quarter due to the coronavirus epidemic, and that the outbreak is hurting the company more than originally expected.

As a result, it means the number of devices being built and sold in China has reduced massively.

“Work is starting to resume around the country, but we are experiencing a slower return to normal conditions than we had anticipated,” the company said.

Much of Apple’s manufacturing operations are based in China, which has been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The COVID-19 virus death toll now exceeds 1,800 in China, where it has infected more than 72,000 after emerging in the central province of Hubei in December.

Currently, there are over 150 million Chinese people on coronavirus lockdown, meaning that more than ten per cent of the country’s population faces restrictions on how often they can leave their homes.

“The health and well-being of every person who helps make these products possible is our paramount priority, and we are working in close consultation with our suppliers and public health experts as this ramp continues. These iPhone supply shortages will temporarily affect revenues worldwide.”

The company expects the business disruption to be temporary. In general, iPhone sales are surging, up nearly eight per cent to €54 billion in the last three months of 2019.

The virus has also had a huge impact on consumer demand in the crucial Chinese market following the closure of stores.

“Stores that are (now) open have been operating at reduced hours and with very low customer traffic,” the company said.

“We are gradually reopening our retail stores and will continue to do so as steadily and safely as we can,” it added.

Major international companies have closed offices and factories in response to the deadly virus. Some are starting to reopen, but the situation is still far from business as usual.

As of Tuesday morning, Apple shares had fallen by as much as 2.7 per cent.

Earlier this month, American clothing manufacturer Under Armour told investors that its revenues in the first few months of 2020 would take a hit of $50 million to $60 million because of the outbreak.

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 18 February, 2020