COVID-19: Learnings from China and What to Expect Next

China, which is believed to be the source of the pandemic and where casualties were high during the initial phase, has been able to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic to a large extent. Whether this is enough or whether more can be done, is a debatable matter. What we need to understand is that there are several lessons we can learn from them to know how they have bounced back from the crisis. In this sense, Indian businesses can take a leaf out of China’s book.

From what we hear, there has been a resurgence of venture capital activity from China at a time when the world is struggling to stay on its feet. This means that business is optimistic about the outlook in selected industries, and it is time to put our money on the right horses.

The Chinese government has indeed stepped in in a big way to make this possible. It has reduced taxes and rent for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and this is expected to revive production and operations.

The government there has also invested heavily in technology in what is being called “new infrastructure.” This is a smart move. This investment in data centers and 5G networks will enable more businesses to go online, help social distancing at the same time, and ensure that the new work culture of working from home does not face any hiccups.

With the trend of remote working stations, there will be a need for more bandwidth, and more and more corporates will encourage their employees, clients, and suppliers to interact through video calling – virtually all communication will go via this route. Meetings with clients, one-on-one interviews with prospective employees, daily meetings, conference calls, shareholder meetings, meetings with suppliers, etc., will need to be conducted online as fewer and fewer people will be willing to travel great distances.

All this will require massive bandwidth. And that is what they are ensuring. It shows that they are looking at the future and preparing themselves for it. We need to do the same.

Keeping the pandemic in mind, the Chinese government has also included online healthcare as a component of health insurance. This is a big step in gaining the trust and confidence of business and the general public. If they are assured that they will be taken care of even if there is an emergency, they will be more open to supporting the economy and the government.

As expected, there has been steep growth in China in particular industries such as food delivery, distribution companies, remote solutions, online education, and gaming. The gain in the number of people partaking in online games has risen by more than 100 percent and, in some cases, even 1000 percent. So you can imagine what kind of growth these industries are going through even now.

It is natural to expect that the rest of the world will also follow suit, and these same industries will soon do well in other parts of the world as well until the pandemic is controlled, and we get an approved vaccine, which will be mass-produced. But that is at least 18 months away as of now. So let’s roll up our sleeves (wearing gloves, if possible) and get down to business.

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