Report: Facebook is limiting travel to China because of the coronavirus

Travel is being curtailed and China-based staff are being urged to work at home.


Social media giant Facebook is curtailing travel to China for its employees because of the coronavirus and is asking its employees based there to work from home. The news comes from Bloomberg, which says Facebook has yet to comment, but says internal sources revealed employees that do wish to visit China now require approval to do so.

Facebook builds its hardware in China — Facebook’s software services including its core product, image-sharing service Instagram, and instant messaging service WhatsApp aren’t available in China but, like the rest of the western world, most of the company’s hardware is manufactured there, including its Portal video calling devices and Oculus VR headsets.

Bloomberg reckons existing Facebook hardware won’t be affected, but that if the travel ban persists, the company may look to facilities in neighboring countries like Vietnam to make up or any shortfalls or to build new products down the line.

The Verge reports Razer is doing likewise, while Reuters says LG has implemented a travel ban of its own now that the death toll from the virus has climbed above 100. That's bad news for Chinese businesses, particularly as the frosty trade war with the U.S. has just begun to thaw, but could prove a boon for other South East Asian manufacturing hubs.