Weakest link: Global supply chains disrupted by coronavirus

Business activity is slowly sputtering back to life in China but the extended Lunar New Year holiday – originally scheduled for January 24-30 – has affected companies around the world as the Chinese government enforces curbs to prevent the spread of a deadly coronavirus.

Closed-off ports and delayed shipments from China are not only affecting Chinese workers and companies but also their trading partners overseas who depend on supplies to keep business running.

Stephen Wong, a Malaysian who imports tech components from China for a business producing locally branded computers on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, told Al Jazeera that most of his products are stuck in Shenzhen in southern China as workers there have been instructed to stay at home.

“Without inventory on hand, we expect to lose 70-80 percent of sales,” said Wong.

Globally, Malaysia was the eighth-largest importer of Chinese goods and services in 2018, according to World Bank figures.

But companies in countries such as South Korea, Japan and the United States could suffer the most due to disrupted supplies of components and finished goods from China.

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