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Apple shares slide as coronavirus nobbles iPhone production

Image credit: reuters

Apple has warned investors that it probably won’t meet its second-quarter financial projection due to reduced production of the iPhone, as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the global supply chain.

Apple said all of its iPhone manufacturing facilities are outside Hubei province - the epicentre of the outbreak - and all have been reopened, although production was ramping up slowly.

“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,” Apple said in a statement.

The announcement caused European shares to drop as it is expected other tech companies may have to follow suit.

Apple said demand for iPhones was also down in China because many of Apple’s 42 retail stores there were closed or operating with reduced hours.

The fast-spreading novel coronavirus, covid-19, was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei province, towards the end of December 2019.

The WHO declared it a global emergency at the end of January. While approximately 99 per cent of cases are contained within China, new cases are being reported around the world every day with no certain signs of the epidemic abating, despite measures to minimise the risk of transmission in China and elsewhere. The death toll from the virus reached 1,770 as of Monday.

Also in the wake of the virus, Samsung has launched a smartphone delivery service to allow prospective customers to test its new products. Anyone who wants to try out the new Galaxy S20 handset can have one delivered to their door and can use it for up to 24 hours, with a delivery worker collecting it when the trial period ends.

The South Korean electronics giant revealed its latest flagship smartphone alongside its new Z Flip last week. The former sports 5G for the first time and the latter has a foldable screen.

However, with the recent cancellation of Mobile World Congress 2020 (MWC). Samsung will miss out on a valuable opportunity to promote the devices again at the show.

Samsung has also decided to sharply cut the number of in-store “experimental zones,” where consumers can try out the latest phones, and skip promotional events such as “Galaxy fan parties” for the latest device over worries about the spread of the virus.

There will only be nine such zones for the Galaxy S20, compared with the 130 it had for the Galaxy Note 10 series in South Korea, according to Samsung’s website.

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