International brands freeze operations in China amid coronavirus fears

Starbucks, UNIQLO, McDonald’s, MUJI among retailers temporarily shut down in China

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Major international retailers suspend operations at their Chinese locations. (Pixabay photo)

Major international retailers suspend operations at their Chinese locations. (Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The impact of the Wuhan coronavirus continues to be felt as international restaurants and clothing brands, including Starbucks, McDonald's, UNIQLO, and MUJI, cease operations temporarily at many of their Chinese locations.

On Tuesday (Jan. 28), Starbucks said that the Wuhan virus has forced it to temporarily shut down more than half of its 4,292 stores in China. The coffee giant said that it will continue to monitor the Chinese market and weigh closing more locations if the virus continues to spread, reported UDN.

Japanese fashion retailers such as UNIQLO and MUJI have also shuttered many of their stores in the world's second-largest economy, most of them located in the Chinese province of Hubei. A UNIQLO public relations officer said that the company's decision to suspend services at 10 percent of its Chinese locations is due to the growing concern about the coronavirus and that it has yet to be determined how long the stores will remain closed.

As of Wednesday afternoon (Jan. 29), the novel virus 2019-nCoV has killed 132 people in China and infected approximately 6,061 around the world. Many cities in China, including Wuhan, are currently on lockdown as local governments attempt to contain the coronavirus, reported Liberty Times.