Coronavirus: Apple to reopen all 42 branded stores in China

China is Apple's second-biggest market in terms of sales after the US

In this picture taken on March 11, 2020 Apple staff wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus wait for customers at an Apple shop in Beijing. The number of fresh infections at the epicentre of China's COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic dropped to a new low on March 12 but the country imported more case from abroad. / AFP / NICOLAS ASFOURI
Powered by automated translation

Apple reopened all 42 of its branded stores in China on Friday, a company spokesman said, more than a month after they were closed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Cupertino-based technology giant's Chinese website listed the opening time for all stores. The website had previously carried an advisory saying not all stores were open.

Apple had announced the closing of its all branded stores in China in early February.

China placed curbs on travel and asked residents to avoid public places in late January, just ahead of the Lunar New Year festival, a major gift-giving holiday. Those restrictions stayed largely in place through most of February.

The company sold fewer than half a million iPhones in China in February, government data showed this week, as the outbreak halved demand for smartphones.

The company manufactures most of its iPhones and other devices in China, which is also Apple's second-biggest market in terms of sales after the US.

Last month, Apple warned investors that supply constraints and falling demand in China will dent growth, making it unlikely to meet second quarter revenue targets.

In its earlier guidance for the three months to March 30, released on January 29, the Cupertino company projected revenue in the range of $63 billion (Dh231.21bn) to $67bn, a year-on-year rise of almost 15.5 per cent.

In a memo sent to its employees last week, Apple has also advised its workers - based in various corporate locations including the US, Germany, Japan and South Korea - to work from home to combat the spread of coronavirus.

To ensure the well-being of its retail workers, many of whom work on hourly basis, Apple is offering unlimited sick leave if they experience coronavirus symptoms, reported 9to5Mac, a website dedicated to Apple news.

Apple retail workers are not required to submit a doctor’s note for this time off. This means that if they are experiencing the symptoms, they can take the time that they need without having to worry about running out of sick days or providing a note to management, it added.

(with inputs from Reuters)