Tens of thousands of Amazon sellers are based in Hubei Province, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Despite the province representing less than two percent of China-based sellers, as the country tries to contain the spread of the virus, factories and sellers south of Hubei, in critical provinces in Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Fujian are struggling to resume operations.
On Amazon, Hubei is not a significant source of products - it represents 1.8% of Chinese sellers. Hubei industries include automobiles, metallurgy, machinery, power generation, textiles, foodstuffs, and high-tech commodities. For Honda alone, Wuhan accounts for about 50% of total production in China. In 2019, Hubei Province, of which Wuhan is the capital, was the fourth-largest car producer in China.
Instead, Guangdong province is home to 45.5% of Chinese sellers. It is followed by Zhejiang province with 10.1% of sellers, Fujian province with 7.5%, and Jiangsu province with 3.8% of sellers. Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces combined account for more than half of the Chinese sellers.
Sellers based in China represent 36% of the more than a million active sellers on Amazon.com, and among the top sellers on the marketplace, they represent 49%. China is home not just to sellers, but also the factories that supply them. The same factories manufacture for most US and European sellers launching private-label brands on Amazon. Thus the disturbance to operations affects many Amazon sellers domestically and internationally, and small sellers with tight cash flow are going to struggle the most.
The majority of Amazon sellers are based in China or depend on China for their goods, and, at the moment, the supply chain had ground to a halt.