Coronavirus ‘infects’ Indian Auto expo and travel sector

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New Delhi: The deadly coronavirus has cast a shadow on India’s flagship motor show Auto Expo, while other sectors including travel and electronics manufacturing are keeping a close watch to avoid any possible impact of it on their businesses.

Automobile industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said all Chinese companies participating at the expo have confirmed that their exhibit area would be manned by their Indian employees.

In addition, auto component makers body ACMA said Chinese participants at the components show of Auto Expo are unable to travel to India due to the outbreak of coronavirus in China, even as around 30 companies from there have confirmed that their stand would be managed by their Indian counterparts in their absence.

Meanwhile, restrictions on travel between China and India has impacted bookings and the travel industry is cautiously watching the situation, players said on Tuesday. India on Sunday announced temporary suspension of e-visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners residing in the neighbouring country and issued a fresh advisory saying anyone with travel history to China since January 15 can be quarantined. ‘With travel to mainland China and even Hong Kong severely restricted for days, the travel bookings had taken a massive hit,’ MakeMyTrip co-founder and CEO Rajesh Magow said.

With the mobile industry importing an estimated Rs 95,000 crore worth of components annually, a portion of which comes from China, handset manufacturers are waiting to see if the shuttered factories of suppliers reopen next week. So far, however, there has been minimal desruption, as companies typically tend to stock mobile components and parts ahead of Chinese New Year holidays.

‘…there is a natural stocking up and preparation which the Indian industry and the global industry does ahead of the Chinese New year holidays. This will see us through till 10-15 February. We will watch the situation daily. If the problem persists beyond February 10, then we will have a real problem at hand,’ India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo said. Many consumer appliance and electronics makers, mainly sourcing components from China, have issued travel advisories to their sourcing teams, who typically travel to China for sourcing parts and sub assemblies.

‘We are having an industry meeting on 6 February and we may discuss this and take forward,’ said CEAMA President Kamal Nandi said. He added that the industry is waiting for China’s factories to open on 10 February. The deadly virus, which originated in China’s Wuhan city, is spreading to other nations. The outbreak has claimed more than 420 lives so far in mainland China, and has compounded fears of an economic impact. India on Monday reported third novel coronavirus case after another Keralite student from Wuhan university in China tested positive for the infection. The Kerala government has declared the epidemic as a ‘state calamity’.