The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has became a global crisis. With most aspects of life being tampered with, and the economy is undeniably suffering a global economic fallout. As the population decreases due to the rising death tolls, so does the global GDP that is estimated to drop 5 to 10 percent in the quarter.
China is the first country known to be the first country that this virus hit, and by mid-January of 2020, the country suffered an economic depression. China’s fixed-asset investment dropped 24.5%, retail consumption went down 20.5%, exports decreased 17%, industrial output fell 13.5%, and so did the service index at 13%. Nevertheless, the various industries found ways to cope with the crisis. For instance, Shanghai Fashion Week was entirely live-streamed to the audience via a partnership with Alibaba. Big brands, such as Nike, were able to mitigate lost sales in the Chinese market by shifting its focus to e-commerce. In doing so, Nike was able to grow its sales via its online website and app. This implies that as a surviving mechanism, businesses are forced to shift their operations to the online marketplace. As of March, the situation in China has significantly improved and residents are starting to go out of their homes. Due to their fear of a negative after-effect for consumer spending, numerous companies are offering substantial discounts on their products and services. Railway ticket prices are being slashed down 45%, vouchers for entertainment and retail are handed out extensively in various provinces, and more. Businesses claim that their intention is not only beneficial to them, but it’s also intended to encourage people to go outside of their homes and back to their normal lives.
China’s tech giants are accelerating their efforts in the field of healthcare using cloud computing and artificial intelligence, as the country contains the widespread of the coronavirus. The Chinese Government encourages China Tech Giants to fight the outbreak. Tech companies have expanded their capabilities to help the government like tracking the location of people who have potentially been in contact with the virus. The Tech Giants are also boosting their push into healthcare with a focus on providing tools to help the medical industry. In January, Alibaba launched an online clinic service on its Alipay and Taobao apps, for users. Meanwhile, Baidu, and Tencent are also launching their respective services for users such as Drug Delivery service, virus detector, and online medical queries. Baidu said that the platform has handed over 15 million inquiries from users and hosts over 100,000 doctors to answer questions. Not only the tech giants increase their platform but also local and global has been altered. The outbreak has become a place where they can find new opportunities to explore new technologies. Online grocery sales have been multiplied and food delivery apps have been innovative. For instance, sales of fresh food on JD.com jumped 215% to almost 15,000 tonnes during the 10-day period between late January to early February. Since the quarantine took place, the daily time spent with mobile internet rose from 6.1 hours in early January to 6.8 hours during Lunar New Year. It rose even further to 7.3 hours after the holidays when workers were placed in self-quarantine. As of now, e-commerce was relatively primitive as the breakout and many Chinese suppliers turned to online platforms to sell their goods.
Disclaimer: This article was written on March 26, 2020.