How Coronavirus is Infecting Manufacturing and Tech-related Business Travel

If you think the coronavirus is a China-problem, think again. Continue reading to learn how this human virus is infecting tech-related businesses everywhere.

Unless you’ve been living underneath a rock, the biggest thing to rock the news headlines for the last several weeks is the coronavirus. Also known as Covid-19, the coronavirus is a virus that infects the lower respiratory system causing symptoms like coughing, fever, difficulty breathing, and culminating in pneumonia with severe cases leading to organ failure.

The virus initiated in Wuhan, China in early January and has since led to over 80,000 confirmed cases of which nearly 3,000 have died. This is a highly infectious disease and in response to the threat, China has essentially locked down its population. In doing so, the country was forced to slow down and even stop much of its manufacturing and insist citizens remain at home until the virus has been contained. Few images show how significantly the coronavirus has impacted China’s industrial and manufacturing companies as this series of satellite images taken by NASA.

Coronavirus Business in Atlanta

What Happens in China Matters to Every Tech-Oriented Business

China’s closure of thousands of factories isn’t just bad for its economy. It’s terrible for us all. For example, Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that builds iPhones and similar electronic devices for Apple and dozens of other global electronics companies were forced to shut operations in early February completely. While they have since reinvigorated their production levels to nearly 50%, it’s likely to be weeks before full operations can resume.

In mid-February, supply-chain analytics firm TrendForce released a controversial report assessing just how damaging the ongoing coronavirus outbreak can be on the tech industry. A few of the most critical points made by this TrendForce article include:

  • The estimation that smartphone production overall will decline by 12% for the first quarter, thereby making it the lowest producing quarter in the last five years.
  • Due to Wuhan, where the outbreak beginning, accounting for 25% of the global production of fiber optics, the global rollout of 5G is likely to be significantly delayed.
  • Smartwatches, laptop PCs, and similar smart devices are estimated to also decline in production by as much as 16%.
  • Factories manufacturing video game consoles are forecasted to see a 10% drop in production. Xbox One and PS4 console production in specific have significantly slowed due to coronavirus outbreak.

The end takeaway from this report is that this extreme manufacturing slowdown will negatively impact any US supplier or business who deals in such tech-oriented devices.

The Global Cancellation of Important Tech Conferences

Manufacturing is just one aspect of the tech industry that has been so significantly and negatively impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Another critical facet is the cancelation of many tech-related conferences and the advisement for all non-essential business-related travel to cease until the outbreak can be contained. At the end of February, the CDC strongly recommended for all businesses to increase teleworking options and replace, where possible, stating in a late February press briefing that “businesses can replace in-person meetings with video or telephone conferences and increase teleworking options.”

In response to this recommendation and the global effect of the coronavirus, conference organizers everywhere have taken steps to either cancel or delay pivotal tech-related events. This includes:

  • Barcelona’s cancellation of the Mobile World Congress.
  • Verizon, AT&T Cybersecurity, IBM, and 11 other exhibitors and sponsors pulled out of California’s RSA Conference. AT&T has also gone a step further to cancel all travel conference plans for its personnel for the foreseeable future
  • The Game Developers Conference 2020 in San Francisco has been postponed indefinitely.
  • Google canceled its two-day Global News Initiative summit that was scheduled to be held in its Sunnydale, California office. Google has also canceled a significant March sales and marketing event that was supposed to occur in Las Vegas. The tech giant has temporarily closed its offices in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Stay Safe and Weather the Storm

This virus has already left a nasty wake and it will likely continue to do so until there is a consumer-available vaccine. So as now, it’s time for tech-related businesses to plan for the worst and adapt by implementing things like teleconferences and remote work until the threat has passed. For more information on the latest tech-related news, be sure to subscribe to our blog.

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