Supply chains are being severely affected by the China coronavirus epidemic. Business managers have ordered employees to work from home. Many big Western businesses are in China for cheap, high quality manufacturing. And many manufacturers in the West such as car makers sell to China. The world’s largest company (or it was), Apple Inc., is heavily dependent in China as a manufacturer of its iPhones. Samsung wisely diversified their manufacturing base to countries such as India and Vietnam. They continue to make their phones while Apple has closed its 42 stores in China until at least Feb 9.
The worst case scenario is that Apple sales in China deteriorate to zero. Citi, the American multinational investment bank and financial services corporation, report that each week of no Apple sales in China punches an $850 million hole into Apple’s accounts or a sales reduction of -1.3%. If this lasts for a month, Apple will lose a maximum of $3.4 billion in sales or -5.2% in total Apple sales. Their shares are sliding.
Apple have cut shipments of their iPhone by 10%. This sort of impact on business is being played out across many companies who are heavily dependent on sales or manufacturing in China.
So what lesson needs to be learnt? Big business has been eager to cash in on the China phenomenon. They have conveniently brushed under the carpet one of the great weaknesses of the Chinese government, described as a ‘socialist consultative democracy’, namely their almost total lack of concern for animal welfare. They have ignored wildlife abuses such as that which resulted in the coronavirus epidemic. It is now more or less agreed that the wildlife live food market in Wuhan, where animals are killed and butchered, spreads the virus in water droplets which infect people when they ingest the droplets through their mouths.
The Chinese government has ignored domestic animal abuses on a gargantuan scale in the cat and dog fur and meat trade. Millions of animals have suffered catastrophic cruelty. And nothing changes. Ignore nature at your peril. It bites back. Big businesses in the West and Western governments need to impose conditions on their partnership with China to improved animal welfare in that country. There is no reason why the Chinese government cannot adopt Western values of animal welfare. China needs to upgrade its relationship with animals. It is well overdue. Their ignorance of animal welfare is killing their economy. That’s ironic as they live and die by their economic growth. The General Secretary of the Communist Party, Xi, must be concerned because he maintains power through economic growth. The people accept the lack of democracy because of their enhanced lifestyles. Xi is in trouble in his rush to overtake the US as the world’s number one economy.
There are other issues such as climate change which China also conveniently ignores by burning coal imported from Australia. China is a primary contributor to greenhouse gases. In 2016 the country accounted for 26% of total global emissions (Wikipedia). China created 67 million tons of plastic waste in 2016. The Yellow River is the world’s third most polluted river due to chemical factories spewing out chemical waste into it. Cheap Chinese goods come at a price to nature. This has been exploited by the West.
The coronavirus is what happens when business consistently ignores their negative impact on nature.