China's travel ban could slow the U.S. tech product pipeline
Apple store in Shanghai. Photo: Qilai Shen/In Pictures/Getty Images Images
Now that the coronavirus seems to be under control in China while it spreads elsewhere, China has announced a fresh ban on foreigners coming into the country — a move that could further complicate life for U.S. tech firms that rely on that country for manufacturing.
Why it matters: Many companies — notably Apple, but also Google, Facebook, Fitbit, GoPro and others — design their hardware in the U.S. but manufacture it in China. Typically, new products require close collaboration between U.S. firms and their Chinese manufacturing partners.
Between the lines: The real key is how long the ban lasts, analysts say, noting that most companies had already paused travel to China. Another factor is the number of China-based engineers the company employs.
- "Some jobs are harder to do remotely like being an engineer working on a new product but there is always a mix of local versus HQ people on most teams," Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi told Axios.
What's happening: A Nikkei report this week said Apple would likely have to delay the launch of new iPhones by months due to the virus outbreak.