Coronavirus scare: Apple sells fewer than 500,000 smartphones in China in February

Apple’s branded stores in China were shut for at least two weeks in February as fears over the coronavirus outbreak mounted. (AFP)
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Updated 09 March 2020

Coronavirus scare: Apple sells fewer than 500,000 smartphones in China in February

  • Residents asked to avoid public places in late January, just ahead of the Lunar New Year festival, a major gift-giving holiday
  • Apple’s branded stores in China were shut for at least two weeks in February

SHANGHAI: Apple sold fewer than half a million smartphones in China in February, government data showed on Monday, as the coronavirus outbreak halved demand for all such devices.
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.
In total, mobile phone brands shipped a total of 6.34 million devices in February, down 54.7 percent from 14 million in the same month last year, data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology showed (CAICT).
It was also the lowest level for February since at least 2012, when CAICT started publishing data.
Android brands, which include devices made by Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi, accounted for most of the drop, as they collectively saw shipments decline from 12.72 million units in February 2019 to 5.85 million, the data showed.
Shipments of Apple devices slumped to 494,000, from 1.27 million in February 2019. In January, its shipments had held steady at just over 2 million.
Research firms IDC and Canalys previously forecast that overall smartphone shipments would drop by about 40 percent in the first quarter as the virus outbreak hit demand and brought supply-chain problems.
Apple’s branded stores in China were shut for at least two weeks in February as fears over the coronavirus outbreak mounted.
The company’s chief executive, Tim Cook, wrote a letter to investors that month warning it would not meet its initial revenue guidance for the current quarter due to demand issues.


Greece readies revival of coronavirus-hit economy

Updated 04 June 2020

Greece readies revival of coronavirus-hit economy

  • Tourism accounts for around 20 percent of Greek gross domestic product
  • Greece desperately needs to attract visitors this year

ATHENS: Greece geared up Thursday to revive its tourism-dependent economy, which shrank in the first quarter owing to measures against the coronavirus, the Elstat data agency said.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is to headline an event later in the day to unveil a national tourism campaign for the virus-shortened season.
He has already warned the country that the economy would fall into a “deep recession” this year before rebounding in 2021.
Tourism accounts for around 20 percent of Greek gross domestic product (GDP), so it is crucial that visitors be attracted back to the nation’s beaches and iconic island villages.
Toward that end, Greece has announced a ‘bridge phase’ between June 15 and 30, during which airports in Athens and Thessaloniki will receive regular passenger flights.
Other regional and island airports are to open on July 1.
Greece plans to impose a seven- to 14-day quarantine only on travelers from only the hardest-hit areas as identified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Sample tests will also be carried out at entry points for epidemiological purposes however.
Provisional data released by Elstat showed how important it is to get the tourism sector back on its feet.
GDP fell by 1.6 percent in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the previous three months, and by 0.9 percent year-on-year, the data showed.
But data for March alone showed that month was not as bad as expected, government spokesman Stelios Petsas told a press conference.
Now, “Greece is opening its gates to the world under safe conditions for tourism workers, for residents of tourism destinations and of course, for our visitors,” he said.
With fewer than 180 coronavirus deaths among 11 million residents, Greece seeks to market itself as a healthy holiday destination.
On Tuesday, Athens said it was suspending flights to and from Qatar until June 15 after 12 people on a flight from Doha tested positive for COVID-19.
Earlier Thursday, Greek media reported that a first batch of nearly 190 tests among residents of the Cycladic islands, one of Greece’s most popular destinations, had turned up negative.
The country desperately needs to attract visitors this year.
The latest finance ministry estimate suggests that for 2020 as a whole, business activity could drop by up to 13 percent from the level in 2019.
Between 2009 and 2018, Greece suffered its worst economic crisis in modern times, and had begun to slowly regain some of the lost ground before it was hit by the impact of coronavirus restrictions.
The country was shut down for six weeks, and the International Monetary Fund forecast in May that GDP would decline by 10 percent this year before growing by 5.5 percent in 2021.