For the last couple of days, Mr. Bernard has been debating whether to go. On one hand, he does not want to be the person responsible for introducing a deadly virus in Nigeria. On the other, he needs to make business contacts in China, where fabric is “cheaper and cheaper and cheaper and cheaper,” he said.
For now, he’s planning to go.
“I don’t want to be contaminated,” Mr. Bernard said. But “with the face masks and the nose masks and a lot of warnings, I’m going to be protected.”
In the United States, several major companies, including Goldman Sachs, General Motors and Wells Fargo, have imposed travel limitations on employees. And analysts are projecting that the disruption could have a sizable impact on China’s economy, at least in the short term.
The obvious point of comparison is the SARS outbreak in 2002 and 2003, which coincided with a relatively brief slowdown of global growth, then a sharp acceleration. Two decades later, however, China is an economic powerhouse, a vital manufacturing hub and a center of global trade with deep ties to practically every major industry.
“The much larger role of China in the global economy versus 2003 implies much greater global spillover risks,” economists at JPMorgan wrote in a research note on Friday.
It has also meant that many more people visit the country for work. Andy Payne, the founder of AppyNation, a video game company in England, said he had scrapped two visits to China scheduled for February.
He was planning to meet with representatives of a Chinese media company to discuss a partnership. But on Wednesday, British Airways canceled all flights to mainland China. Now those gaming negotiations will take place in a video chat.