Apple has decided that due to the coronavirus outbreak, it is temporarily closing its stores and offices in China, ABC News reports. The decision comes as more than 17,000 coronavirus cases have popped up across the world, and the death toll has risen to over 350. The majority of those affected by the virus are in China.
"Our thoughts are with the people most immediately affected by the coronavirus and with those working around the clock to study and contain it," Apple said in a statement. "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 centers in mainland China through February 9."
The company did reveal, however, that its online store in China will remain open.
"We will continue to closely monitor the situation and we look forward to reopening our stores as soon as possible,” the statement concluded.
Apple analysts do not expect the temporary closure to have a long term impact on business in China, which is one of the company's largest markets. Daniel Ives, the managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, informs that Apple enjoyed strong sales in the months of December and January, and that the company has already experienced a large number of sales in anticipation of the Chinese New Year.
"We view a one week closure of Apple stores as having a negligible impact thus far despite the scary and concerning headlines from the region," Ives said. "While the coronavirus outbreak is a sad situation and concerning headline for investors, for the stock we believe the fundamental impact from this issue to Apple’s top-line is negligible."
Furthermore, Apple has modified its financial forecast for the region due to the outbreak, but at the end of the day, a large majority of the company's sales continue to take place online.