Houstonian returns from China during coronavirus outbreak

Cyril White often has one foot here in Houston and another in China where he does most of his business.  

"People walk around with masks all the time," he says.

White sets up manufacturing deals for patents and makes prototypes. In December, he was working in Shanghai and Beijing during the start of the epidemic.

"When I heard about it I wasn’t too sure what to think, then you start to hear it’s life-threatening," he remembers.

While many companies are waiting to get products out of the country, his business is stuck trying to get its products in. 

"There are ships with cargo stuck out that can’t get to ports to deliver goods," he says.

For 20 years, he's also worked with the Chinese Basketball Association, hosting games and tours with players from around the world.

"It’s usually sold out, fans everywhere, Right now people are scared to leave their homes," White said.

Several weeks of games have been canceled, including a Chinese New Year four-city tour.  Another in May is being postponed in hopes that the virus will be under control, but participation is up in the air.  

"Even if we do reschedule, you have to have the confidence of the players and the people traveling to make them feel like it’s safe to travel to China," he said. 

He and visiting players and coaches cut their latest trip short. 

Like many companies he has too many ties to stop working in China. But while business is at a standstill, he says his family is happy to have him back home.