COVID-19 is now a global pandemic, with widespread consequences for all countries and industries. For two months, China has borne the brunt of COVID-19’s human, social and economic cost. This has resulted in disruption and dislocation to individuals, families, businesses and communities. Human ingenuity is spurred in times of crisis and the pandemic has been an accelerant for digital innovation.
Here are a selection of China-based digital innovations which have taken off during shutdown and self-quarantine. You might soon see them in your own country, or find ways to integrate these innovations in your own business activities. With offices in China and Europe, we’re perfectly placed to help you think about these linkages and cross-overs.
New Video Connections and Applications
Video conferencing and chat becomes the main way for people, businesses and services to connect. Five interesting applications:
- Entertainment — Musicians play to at-home crowds watching and sharing on social media. This include infamous online rave parties.
- Fitness — Gym instructors share routines online, either from their homes or an empty exercise studio.
- Conference — Fashion and business events, such as Shanghai Fashion Week, conducted through livestream or web conference.
- Education — Faced with uncertain resumptions to the academic calendar, schools and universities rush to give teachers tools to create online lessons and monitor students’ progress.
- Live Commerce — Real time web-shows retailing products across platforms. Fast-movers have turned their retail sales staff into online-first sales forces.
Facial & Location Recognition
Organizations and government bodies ask citizens to adjust expectations around privacy for access to transport, healthcare and retail. Use of colour codes based on location and proximity to known cases is widespread. Further, facial recognition programs have been developed to identify people who have high temperatures.
Quarantined citizens communicate over chat platforms and, to lower spread of infection, one of them goes out to buy the products. In China, people are doing this to buy their neighbors’ weekly shopping: Residents scan a QR code, join a WeChat group, and post a list of what they have run out of.
Contactless Delivery Options
Restaurants and other retail businesses use click-and-drop units in third-party areas to avoid human-to-human contact. Food delivery company Meituan-Dianping is offering a “contactless” solution where delivery drivers drop off customer orders at special cabinets.
Although the human toll of COVID-19 is tragic, the economic toll may be far worse. To mitigate these impacts, a district government in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao has started distributing coupons to citizens via instant-messaging app WeChat as the country pushes to increase consumption.
Now for some good news.
Over recent weeks, China has seen a drastic drop in infections. After an extended CNY break, China has slowly returned to work – online at first, and now in offices and factories. This has extended to upticks in consumption, led by strong Queens Day (March 8) e-commerce results.
With the situation on-the-ground rapidly changing, our existing brand partners such have requested new ways of working with us. They’ve asked for more flexible use of our research services, more active social media account management and a greater push to use e-commerce to offset slower recovery in retail precincts.
We’ve seen positive results so far.
Naturally, we’re keen for more partners to experience these benefits during China’s recovery period and we’re now calling for expressions of interest in Restart 2020.
Restart 2020 is a 180-day plan to stabilize and optimize your operations in China. Whatever stage your business is at, our team will work with you to set and execute against a 180-day plan. Download this PDF for more information on how we can help you get back up and running.