As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic spreads rapidly, countries and businesses around the world have been caught facing a monumental challenge with little preparation or relevant past experience. Simultaneously, China-based businesses and organizations have been navigating the same critical circumstances for more than 60 days, gaining valuable insights and best practices not yet developed in other countries.
As one such China-based organization, AmCham China has been helping other American Chambers and organizations across the world by providing on-the-ground insights and lessons learned from our member community. In the past weeks, AmCham China President Alan Beebe, together with colleagues from the Chamber’s Government Affairs Team, have joined several webinars hosted by AmCham Netherlands, AmCham European Union, AmCham Mongolia, and AmCham Hong Kong to engage in active discussion with the Chamber leaders and their members to help colleagues around the world navigate this difficult situation.
During these webinars, Beebe provided in-depth analyses of AmCham China’s recent monthly flash survey results on the business impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and shared the Chamber’s recommendations for the global business community, both derived from the real-life experiences of the Chamber and the China-based executives from our member companies. Beebe also fielded questions from respective Chamber members – primarily American businesses from the EU and Mongolia, as well as some local companies. Of the inquiries made, the questions most often posed to AmCham China’s President pertained to the work and production resumption status in China, and how other countries can draw useful lessons from China’s experience.
“The Chinese government has gone to great lengths to normalize production resumption, but manufacturing has not gone back to full capacity due to a drop-off in global demand and supply chain interruption,” Beebe explained. “However, companies are taking steps to return to normal as quickly as possible here in China. From a revenue’s perspective, companies are really trying to innovate their business models. I know a company in the retail sector that shifted their business entirely online, requiring their staff to proactively call their customers to shop online. By doing so, their sales increased 20% over.”
Beebe went on to describe, “On the cost reduction side, some of our member companies are taking advantage of the aggressive use of digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, cloud collaboration, etc. The pandemic is an effective catalyst for corporates to embrace new technologies and speed up their digital transformation journey.”
These discussions also covered a wide range of topics, including:
- Measures taken by the Chinese government to prevent the virus spreading locally and globally, and a prospective second wave of the pandemic.
- Business challenges caused by the pandemic, such as cash flow shortages, global logistics and travel interruption, and relevant strategies and solutions.
- Chinese government policies for economy stimulation, especially fiscal policies to support SMEs and revive domestic consumption.
- COVID-19’s impact on the US-China Phase I Trade Deal and China’s Belt and Road Initiative across Asia and Europe.
AmCham China Chairman Greg Gilligan and President Alan Beebe also collaborated with the US Chamber of Commerce, China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME), Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and other organizations in recent months to exchange insights with experts from diverse backgrounds in many webinars.