Coronavirus stalls Chinese factories Durham entrepreneur using to make tea infuser

Posted February 3, 2020 7:44 p.m. EST

— Although there are no cases of coronavirus in North Carolina, Paul Davis is feeling sick over the outbreak of the illness in China.

Davis, a Durham entrepreneur, said Chinese factories he's using to make his latest product, a plastic bottle that allows people to steep loose-leaf tea on the go, are shut down because of the coronavirus. That will push back production by at least a month, he said.

"There’s a lot of different pieces, a lot of factories that we’re working with, and that could be anything from plastics to silicone. All these factories are being shut down. It’s hard to get transportation from one to the other," Davis said. "Most of production, and anything going on within those factories, is just at a halt."

The main factories for Davis' firm, Mosi Tea, are in Shanghai and in Ningbo, which are both about 600 miles from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mosi Tea, which Davis has been working on for five years, got backing from more than 7,100 people in a Kickstarter fundraising campaign that generated nearly $460,000 for the company's launch.

"People are definitely frustrated" by the delay, he said. "People have been waiting a long time, and that’s the nature of Kickstarter and ideas. We went into this process not knowing how long it’s going to take."

Still, Davis remains confident his tea infuser will be worth the wait.

"We do think that we’ll be shipping out all of our Kickstarter orders in late March, early April, somewhere around there," he said, adding that his goal is to start selling online to the general public by June.

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