Coronavirus: Technology Giants Join China Shutdown


Google is briefly closing all of its offices in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong as a result of the coronavirus.

Other tech giants, including Microsoft and Amazon, have also taken action to defend staff from infection.

This week global corporations have been closing operations in China and instructing overseas staff not to visit the country.

Many employees are being requested to work from home or prolong their Lunar New Year holiday.

Google said it is discontinuing staff travelling to China and Hong Kong, while employees presently in the country have been guided to leave as soon as possible and then work from home for at least two weeks.

Google has four offices in mainland China, though the company has not mentioned how many staff it employs there.

While Google’s search engine is not accessible in China, its offices focus on engineering and sales for its advertising business.

Other international technology giants, including Amazon and Microsoft, have declared similar measures as they attempt to avoid the spread of the deadly virus.

“Out of an abundance of cautiousness, we are limiting business travel to and from China until further notice and urging our employees to follow the health and safety guidelines given by international health agencies”, said an Amazon spokesperson.

Previously this week, Facebook became the first leading US firm to tell staff to prevent travelling to China.

In the meantime, General Motors has become the latest big car manufacturer to announce that it is prolonging its Lunar New Year holiday manufacturing plant shutting. The US company said its Chinese factories will remain closed until 9 February.

On Wednesday, Toyota also said that its production plants in China will stay shut until 9 February. The Japanese carmaker said the closures were following transport lockdowns enacted by Chinese authorities and as the company evaluates its supply chain.

Numerous other international car companies functioning in Wuhan, which is at the epicentre of the outbreak, have earlier said they were taking action to bring the workforce back to their home countries.

French car manufacturing group PSA, which owns the brands Citroen and Peugeot, and Japan’s Honda and Nissan have announced plans to send away staff and their families from China.

Wuhan is China’s seventh biggest city and a key motor manufacturing hub.


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