Apple CEO Tim Cook said today that factories in China that manufacture the company’s products are reopening as “China is getting the coronavirus under control.” The comments came from a preview of an upcoming interview with Fox Business.
Here is a transcript of what Cook said in the snippet shared by Fox Business (Cook’s comments begin at 0:40):
It feels to me that China is getting the coronavirus under control. I mean you look at the numbers, they’re coming down day by day by day. And so I’m very optimistic there.
On the supplier side, we have suppliers — you know, iPhone is built everywhere in the world. We have key components coming from the United States, we have key parts that are in China, and so on and so forth.
When you look at the parts that are done in China, we have reopened factories, so the factories were able to work through the conditions to reopen. They’re reopening. They’re also en-ramp, and so I think of this as sort of the third phase of getting back to normal. And we’re in phase three of the ramp mode.
Technically, Cook is correct — the number of new cases within China is actually slowing, according to Chinese authorities. But there are new outbreaks in other areas of the world, including South Korea, Italy, and Iran. So the coronavirus will still likely have global economic effects, and it’s unclear how its continued spread will impact other aspects of business, travel, public health, and policy.
There’s also the matter of why Cook may be saying this now. His comments are likely intended to reassure investors that the company’s business is on solid footing, as Apple and other tech stocks have fallen in recent days over continued worries and news about the coronavirus.
Last week, the company said in a rare investor update that the global effects of the coronavirus outbreak would lead to lower second quarter revenue than expected, in part because of the outbreak’s effect on iPhone manufacturing. In that update, Apple said its iPhone factories had reopened but that they were “ramping up more slowly than we had anticipated.”