SAN FRANCISCO - Many U.S. companies are collectively holding their breath, wondering if Chinese factories will open Monday after China extended the Lunar New Year holiday because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Michael Brandon relies on a host of factories in China to custom-manufacture products, and he is waiting to see the effect the coronavirus outbreak has on the many outstanding orders he has in China.
"Next week, factories will be returning, and I think at that point, we'll know if, in fact, there's a coronavirus issue," he said.
One of the factories he works with is outside of Wuhan, the city in China that has been on lockdown for several weeks.
"We're lucky at this point," Brandon said. "We don't have a current order with them."
Each year, U.S. companies expect Chinese factories to slow down around the Lunar New Year holiday. But because of the coronavirus, the Chinese government extended the holiday, affecting many factories.
The South Korea automaker Hyundai temporarily suspended production because of a short supply of parts made in China.
Pharmaceutical, auto, electronics and retail could be most hit, highlighting a harsh reality — there are not a lot of alternatives for U.S. companies that rely on Chinese manufacturing.
"What impacts China impacts the Bay Area," said Jay Cheng, public policy director at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. "China is our top export partner in the Bay Area. ... And so, whatever is economically or culturally or from a health perspective impacting China will inevitably economically impact the Bay Area."
Coronavirus Anxiety: Will Chinese Factories Open on Monday?
James Bolton is the director of operations at Pablo Designs, a lighting design company in San Francisco. Most of its products are manufactured in China. This Sunday night, as Chinese workers are supposed to be back at work, Bolton plans to be online.
"I will probably be WeChating with all of my contacts in China and try to understand the real impact of the shutdown, as well as the official line on the shutdowns," Bolton said.
As China grapples with the coronavirus, experts say it's unclear how much the virus will disrupt the global supply chain.