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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The novel coronavirus has just begun to shut down offices and public gatherings across the U.S., but its impact on hardware and components production in China started weeks ago, and the flow of goods out of China's factories has been slow to recover.

Why it matters: The global tech economy's just-in-time supply chain has never faced a disruption quite like this one. And while many observers are guardedly optimistic, no one knows for sure yet how this crisis will play out or what sorts of shortages the industry might still face.

The big picture: Facebook says it remains short on Oculus VR headsets. Apple is reportedly short of replacement parts for iPhones, while also warning of other constraints.

  • In a regulatory filing, Salesforce cautioned that "the ongoing coronavirus epidemic could potentially disrupt the supply chain of hardware needed to maintain these third-party systems or to run our business."
  • Logitech told Axios that its Suzhou, China, factory is operational, as are many of its supplier factories. However, it said in a statement that "due to the availability of labor and varying timing of component supply recovery, there is potential for delays to new product introductions."
  • Qualcomm's CFO said last month that the company sees "significant uncertainty" from coronavirus' impact on the supply chain, while Intel has painted a mixed picture. Uncertain demand has helped the company catch up a bit after struggling to meet PC makers' demand for chips. While that's good news for Intel, it indicates there may be supply and/or demand issues in other parts of the computer business.

Yes, but: Even as the virus spreads to more parts of Europe and the U.S., the situation in China appears to have stabilized. Apple CEO Tim Cook noted the improvements in a Fox Business interview two weeks ago, but he said they were coming more slowly than Apple had hoped, hence the company's need to lower its financial outlook.

  • "It feels to me that China is getting the coronavirus under control," Cook said. "You look at the numbers, they're coming down day by day by day. And so I'm very optimistic there."
  • Logitech told Axios it expects supply to reach "near-normal conditions by the end of March or April, barring a worsening coronavirus situation."

What's next: Industry insiders emphasized that the situation remains fluid, with companies having teams of people monitoring supply chain issues around the clock. "Anything can still happen," said a source at one big tech company.

  • Shipping and delivery could become a new choke point in the industry's operations, especially if more regions end up in lockdowns like Italy's.

The bottom line: If China's measures against the virus continue to be effective, the supply chain might resume near-normal capacity just as demand drops, thanks to a virus-induced economic slowdown that dampens consumer and business spending.

Go deeper

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.