That cheap phone case, charging cable or slightly-off-brand Super Mario figure you ordered recently will take a little longer to reach Australia, with Chinese retail giant Alibaba admitting it's having serious problems with shipping due to ongoing coronavirus issues.
Alibaba's Aliexpress is an online treasure trove of wacky and cheap technology, with everything from Godzilla-Themed AirPod Pro covers to terrible knock-off Bowser toys and every kind of electrical gadget you can name, and some that probably shouldn't exist. Who really needs a water-cooled iPhone fan?
Although in the case of phone chargers and cables, it's a genuinely TERRIBLE idea to buy cheap chargers from overseas (or indeed generally), because the risks of non-compliance are not trivial, and can be deadly. I cannot stress this enough: Do not buy cheap phone chargers or cables..
Plenty of existing Australian AliExpress shoppers are all too well aware that shipping times from China can sometimes mean a gadget turns up in mere days, while others can be a matter of months before they reach your door, although that can also be a matter of whether it's shipping through the local Australian Alibaba office.
Delays in delivery are likely to get much worse in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus, which of course has seen China as its epicentre. Chinese factories are shut en masse, so cheap gadgets aren't flowing off the production lines as quickly, but even the logistics and shipping arms that get Aliexpress' wares out are seeing significant disruption.
As spotted by Reuters, AliExpress and its parent company Alibaba have noted on its Facebook page that the ongoing coronavirus crisis is impacting its ability to do business. It's down to simple shipping logistics.
There's a lot of consumer frustration around missed orders and possible refund issues in the resultant Facebook thread, which is very much par for the course for any online merchant. It's also important to have a scale of perspective on the whole affair.
Sure, it's annoying not to get that phone case you wanted when you want it, but the impact of the coronavirus is hitting very much closer to home – quite literally – for actual Chinese citizens.
Also, because I'm curious to see how Aliexpress handles it, I'm totally going to order that Godzilla AirPods Pro case, if only to see how long it takes to arrive.