Google shuts down offices in China due to coronavirus concerns
Google joins wave of shutdowns in China as coronavirus concerns mount
Google is closing its offices in China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak.
The company confirmed to FOX Business the story first reported by Tech website The Verge Wednesday afternoon According to Google's website, the tech giant has offices in Bejing, Shenzen, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Hong Kong on the mainland, as well as five offices on the island of Taiwan. The offices, which had been closed for the Lunar New Year, will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
STARBUCKS & OTHER U.S. CHAINS SHUTTERING OPERATIONS IN CHINA
Google also said its charitable arm has issued a $250,000 grant to the Chinese Red Cross to assist in relief efforts. In addition, the company has launched an internal campaign for assistance and to date has raised $500,000.
Google is also advising employees currently in China, and employees who have immediate family members returning from the country, to return home as soon as possible and to work from home for at least 14 days from their departure date.
The outbreak has claimed at least 132 lives and some 6,000 confirmed cases.
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Although Google does not operate many of its most popular web services, including its famed search engine, in China due to tensions with the Chinese government, the company's offices in the country are sales and engineering for its advertising business. It also has workers dedicated to divisions like artificial intelligence research and cloud computing.
Google also has hardware lines produced in China such as Pixel phones and Google Home speakers. However, the company has been looking to move Pixel operations to Vietnam as a result of the trade war between the U.S. and China.
Late Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts that Apple continues to watch developments in China. "The situation is emerging, and we're still gathering lots of data points and monitoring it very closely," Cook said, adding that Apple has also limited employee travel to affected areas to "business-critical situations." Facebook also said it would restrict employee travel to China.