Apple China stores all open apart from four

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Apple staff and customers, wearing facemasks to protect against the COVID-19 coronavirus, are seen on the shop premises in Beijing on February 22, 2020.

Nicolas Asfouri | AFP | Getty Images

All of Apple’s retail stores in mainland China apart from four are now open after the coronavirus outbreak forced the iPhone maker to close its shops for an extended period of time. 

The U.S. technology giant has 42 stores in China and 38 of those are open again. Several of those however are still running limited operating hours. 

Three stores in Tianjin, a major city in northwest China, and a retail location in Suzhou, a city west of Shanghai, remain closed. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the reason for keeping those stores shut when contacted by CNBC.

China is a critical market for Apple. The iPhone-maker warned that it would not meet the already wider-than-usual revenue guidance it gave for the March quarter of $63 billion to $67 billion. 

In early February, Apple said it would temporarily shut down all its stores in mainland China through Feb. 9 because of the coronavirus, which has now claimed the lives of over 3,000 people in the country. After that it took a while for stores to reopen. By Feb. 24, twenty-nine of the 42 retail locations had re-opened. 

Apple said “worldwide iPhone supply will be temporarily constrained” and “demand for our products within China has been affected.” 

It’s unclear how badly supply has been hit so far. Foxonn, Apple’s partner in China which makes the iPhone, was forced to shut down its factories at the height of the outbreak. Just last week, the tech giant told investors that it had already returned to 50% of “seasonal required capacity” and expects to be back to full capacity by the end of the month. 

Apple shares are down 9.36% year-to-date.

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