The rapid spread of coronavirus and the fear associated with it has forced Google to temporarily close all of its offices in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.Similar actions have also been taken by some of the largest tech giants of the West including Amazon and Microsoft in order to prevent its staff from getting infected by the virus.
Many global companies with offices, stores and staff in China have temporarily shut down operations there while also advising employees not to the country unless absolutely necessary. Companies have also asked employees to simply work from home or extend their Lunar New Year holiday.
While not allowing its employees to travel to China and Hong Kong, Google has asked its staff currently working in the country to leave as soon as possible and then work from home for a minimum of two weeks. There are four offices of Google in mainland China. The company however has not confirmed the number of people working at those offices.
The operations of Google in China are focused on sales and engineering for its advertising business even though the search engine of the company is not available in China because it is banned there by the government.
And in their attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, similar measures have also been announced by other global technology giants such as Microsoft and Amazon.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are restricting business travel to and from China until further notice and encouraging our employees to follow the health and safety guidelines provided by international health agencies”, an Amazon spokesperson told the media.
The major United States based company to advice its employees to not to travel to China was Facebook.
On the other hand, an extension of closure of its factories in China because of the Lunar New Year holiday was announced by the American car maker General Motors which is the first major auto brand to take such a step. The auto major has said that the shutdown of its Chinese factories will continue till February 9.
GM’s measures were soon followed by Japanese auto major Toyota which announced on Wednesday a halt in production in its factories in China till February 9. These shutdown were designed to meet the transport lockdowns imposed by Chinese authorities, the Japanese car maker said and added that it was assessing the impact of the virus in its supply chain.
Measures to bring their staff out of Wuhan in China, the epicenter of the outbreak, and send them to their home countries have been announced previously by several other international car companies that have operations in the city which is now under complete lockdown.
Plans for evacuating their staff and their families from China have already been announced by the French car making group PSA, owner of the brands Peugeot and Citroen, as well as by Japan’s Honda and Nissan.
Wuhan is considered to be a hub of auto manufacturing of China and is the seventh largest city of the country.
(Adapted from BBC.com)