Apple’s plans to increase iPhone production and launch a cheaper model could be disrupted by the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China, according to reports.
The outbreak has already impacted oil and financial markets, with oil prices falling to their lowest point in three months and the FTSE 100 losing more than 2% in early Monday trading.
A report in the Nikkei Asian Review on Tuesday morning said that Apple’s request to suppliers to produce 80 million iPhones over the first half of 2020 could be delayed.
The Japanese financial newspaper reported that the production of 65 million older iPhone models and 15 million newer models which will retail at a lower price is going to be disrupted by the outbreak.
Although manufacturing was due to start in the third week of February ahead of the unveiling of the new iPhone model in March, the spread of the coronavirus is getting stronger and causing Chinese authorities to put whole cities on lockdown.
China says 106 people have now died due to the outbreak, with more than 4,515 confirmed cases across the country.
Both numbers rose dramatically in the latest update from the country’s National Health Commission, with most of those affected hailing from the city of Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak.
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There are believed to be about 300 UK citizens still in Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province, but the Foreign Office will work to evacuate the area in days, if not sooner.
The US consulate in Wuhan is preparing to fly its diplomats and other Americans out of the city, and the Japanese and Mongolian governments are also preparing flights.
Image: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has suspended rail and ferries to the mainland
It comes as Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that high-speed rail and ferry links to the Chinese mainland would be suspended from 30 January.
Wearing a green face mask, she also told reporters the number of flights would be halved and personal travel permits to the city temporarily frozen.
Apple’s shares dropped nearly 3% on Monday as technology firms which have supply-chain roots in China felt market fears about the outbreak.
The company will report its earnings for the first quarter of the year after the close of markets on Tuesday.
Apple has not responded to a request for comment.
Source : Sky News