With reports of a recent outbreak of Covid-19 cases in China and Wu Zunyou, Chief Epidemiologist at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, reportedly predicting this to be the first of ‘three waves’ of the virus’ spread, supply chains that rely on the country could be seriously affected.
One sector that is likely to have its supply chains disrupted the most by this outbreak is the technology industry. As previously reported, tech giant Apple’s supply chain faced delays in November because of the introduction of covid-19 restrictions at Foxconn factories where the latest iPhones are being manufactured.
Following protests about staff not receiving pay on time, which Foxconn has apologised for, and unsafe working conditions as a result of the restrictions, which the company denies, constraints at the main Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, Henan have been lifted.
However, if Zunyou’s predictions are correct and China is set for a winter of virus spread, potential restrictions as well as staff illness could likely lead to further delays in production for manufacturers like Foxconn, which will in turn impact supply chains around the world.
According to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), China had a share of almost 15% of global exports in 2020. From this, it is clear to see how the outbreak in China could affect supply chains globally across all sectors.