China's virus outbreak weighs on global business

Chinas virus outbreak weighs on global business
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Highlights

Global business is catching a chill from China's virus outbreak, with even the gaming industry taking a hit.

Beijing: Global business is catching a chill from China's virus outbreak, with even the gaming industry taking a hit.

Mink breeders in Denmark called off a fur auction because Chinese buyers can't attend due to travel curbs imposed to contain the disease. Airlines have cancelled 25,000 flights to and within China, according to travel data provider OAG. General Motors Co and other automakers are telling employees to limit travel to China, their biggest market.

On Tuesday, the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau announced it was closing casinos for two weeks as a precaution. The territory is a major revenue source for US casino operators Wynn Resorts Ltd and Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Global companies increasingly rely on China, the world's second economy, as a major buyer of food, cars, movie tickets and other goods. But that has left them more exposed than ever to the pain of its latest abrupt slump.

The Singapore Air Show, due to open next week, announced Tuesday it was cancelling a business conference due to the absence of Chinese participants. Tourism revenue in Thailand and other Asian destinations that rely on China for up to 30 per cent of their foreign visitors plunged after Beijing canceled group tours. Businesspeople were told to put off foreign trips.

"Many national as well as international events are now already cancelled," the Chief Executive of Kopenhagen Fur, Jesper Lauge Christensen, said in a statement.

Authorities have suspended most access to Wuhan, a manufacturing center at the center of the outbreak, and surrounding cities in Hubei province with a total of 50 million people. The eastern city of Hangzhou, the home of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and a center for telecom technology companies, imposed restrictions on movement in the city and said checkpoints will be set up to measure temperatures of passersby.

Thousands of restaurants and cinemas have been closed to prevent crowds from gathering — causing Hollywood studios to lose out on Lunar New Year ticket sales, usually a revenue high point for the industry. Officials express confidence, China can weather the latest trouble, but forecasters say it could knock up to one percentage point off this year's growth, which might fall to as low as 5.2 per cent. The economy already was expected to slow after hitting a multi-decade low of 6.1 per cent last year.

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