Asia Minute: Corporate Toll of the Coronavirus

Feb 4, 2020

Health concerns in Asia remain focused on the coronavirus. While medical workers are trying to stop the spread of the virus, it’s also having an effect on regional business.

In China, the main worry for residents and visitors alike is health. But the longer the coronavirus lingers, the more those concerns extend into the business world.

China’s stock market suffered its worst one-day loss in more than four years on Monday. Although, that was also the first day it had been open after a ten-day break because of an extended Lunar New Year holiday.

Other regional financial markets have not fallen as hard, but the uncertainty about the coronavirus is a looming shadow. China’s government has extended the Lunar New Year work break for a second time to combat the spread of the virus.

Factory floors will now be quiet at least through Sunday, and impacts are stretching beyond China.

South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group may have to shut down production of several models because of a lack of parts that are assembled in China. The company’s president sent a note to employees Monday saying “temporary closings of several of our production lines seem inevitable.”

Other companies relying on components made or assembled in China face the same situation — and there’s trouble for companies selling products in China.

Apple has suspended its China retail business – along with Starbucks, McDonalds and others.

Based on corporate filings, Credit Suisse estimates that both Nike and Estee Lauder generate about 17% of their global revenue from mainland China.