The world is quickly learning how much it depends on China.
Ford and Toyota will idle some of their vast Chinese assembly plants for an extra week. Apple is rerouting supply chains. Starbucks has closed thousands of stores and is warning of a financial blow.
On Wednesday, British Airways suspended all flights to mainland China, while United Airlines and Air Canada are joining the growing number of carriers reducing service. Japan’s leaders are bracing for a possible hit. Hotels and tour operators across Asia are watching fearfully as the world’s largest source of tourism dollars tightens its borders.
The mysterious, pneumonia-like coronavirus that has killed more than 100 people and sickened thousands has virtually shut down one of the world’s most important growth engines. Desperate to slow the fast-moving virus, Chinese authorities have extended the country’s national holiday to February 3, and crippled land, rail and air transport. Entire cities have shut down.
An impoverished nation just four decades ago, China has become an essential part of the modern global industrial machine. China alone accounts for roughly one-sixth of global economic output. It is the world’s largest manufacturer and trader.
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