Google closes mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan offices in reaction to coronavirus

Google has reportedly closed its offices in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and placed temporary travel restrictions on workers flying to both mainland China and Hong Kong.

US-based technology news network The Verge has reported that Google's offices had temporarily closed. Offices in the mainland had already been shut for the extended Chinese New Year holiday instituted by the government in the hope it could throttle the spread of the virus by encouraging residents to stay inside and avoid travel.

A Google spokesperson said the company now "plans to keep its offices closed in accordance with the government guidance", while it has also placed temporary business travel restrictions on flying to China and Hong Kong. As for employees in China or employees with immediate family members returning from China, they have been advised to return home as soon as possible and to work from home for at least 14 days from their departure date.

Though Google was pushed to withdraw its search operations in China in 2010, the company still maintains four offices in the country. Google has a strong presence in-country as many Google product teams - responsible for devices such as Pixel phones and Google Home speakers - work with Chinese suppliers and factories for manufacturing. Additionally, its Chinese offices also focus on sales and engineering for its advertising business.