China is the forerunner of technological and business changes in the world, leading in both areas and many others. While this superpower has garnered massive revenues owing to its advancements, some mishaps have taken the country some notches back. COVID-19, also known as coronavirus struck in late 2019, disrupting the normal way of life in China, claiming thousands of lives worldwide and disturbing everything from business to financial markets. As the virus struck, Chinese companies tried to save their businesses and economies by providing its people with items at their doorsteps with the help of online selling. Other businesses joined the bandwagon of selling face masks, hand sanitizers, and temperature check devices. Whether it was the garment manufacturers, banks, or companies providing translation services, all suffered a blow when employees were sent home or made to work from home. Some industries in China, however, benefitted from the pandemic. Let’s take a look at these industries:
E-commerce and Online Shopping:
Keeping in mind the security concerns and the lockdown situation in China, people started shopping online which proves to be a huge jump for the E-commerce industry. The revenue generated from this online shopping reaches such heights that from 2019 to 2020, online shopping increased by 22% and it is predicted to grow by 20.1% this year too. COVID-19 also boosted the usage of online mobile facilities: ordering stuff from homes and receiving them at their doorsteps. Taking advantage of this, companies in China leveraged the power of social media to offer group buying deals to Chinese in an attempt to make more sales and profits. This trend is likely to continue until the lockdown situation eases in China.
E-learning and Online Education:
Perhaps the industry that was most affected by COVID-19 is the E-learning and online education industry. China closed schools and institutions to reduce the spreading of virus and to protect the students, staff, and teachers from becoming the victim of the corona. As a result, a shift from textbooks to online devices such as laptops, mobiles, and tabs was seen, which boosted the gadgets industry at large. It is also important to mention here that investments of 18.66 billion dollars were made in the year 2019 on the online education sector in China and it is predicted that in 2020 this number will ascend with skyrocket speed. In the Chinese city of Wuhan, almost 7, 30,000 or 81% of students are being educated in their homes through online education programs. Since students prefer this mode of education, it is estimated that E-learning and online education will bring a profit of USD 200 billion to China by 2024.
Lifestyle, Health, and Fitness
As a means to restrict the spread of the virus, the rules of social distancing was implemented throughout the world. Social distancing involved isolation in which people avoid gatherings by staying homes and this has led them to pursue fitness and health regimes in order to stay busy. As a result, a huge number of citizens ordered workout equipment and appliances to their houses. Since everyone knows that staying healthy and fit can be beneficial in the times of the virus, there is an even greater emphasis on it. China also provides mobile fitness apps, encouraging yoga, and promoting morning exercise classes by live television shows which have become a trend. According to JD.com during the lockdown in China, the sales of yoga mats and dumbbells jumped by 150% and 60%, respectively. In fact, 513% live fitness classes were searched online in January 2020 and this trend is likely to continue in the future as well.
The Games Industry
The global games industry has also been affected by the virus—but in a good way. As people observed social distancing and were isolated in their homes, a humungous usage of online gaming on smartphones, laptops, and iPads was seen. According to statistics given by Niko partners, China is the world’s largest game player market with over 720 million game players playing on digital devices. The use of games in the pandemic increased to such an extent that it is predicted that about USD 36 million revenue will be collected by this gaming industry in 2020. In terms of video consumption, a 40% increase was recorded in China, and entertainment portals such as Netflix and iQiyi secured revenues of USD 187.6 million in March alone, while the game industry giant Sony made an investment of USD 400 million on online video streaming in China.
COVID-19 brought a host of problems with it—the biggest of which was the lockdown. This lockdown left the masses isolated at homes, leading to boredom. Ultimately, the only thing they could turn to was the internet. Although people were sent home to stay safe, they were encouraged to work remotely. This is the reason educational institutes, companies, and factories shifted their work online in order to facilitate their employees who were working from home. This gave impetus to internet services and a rapid increase in the usage of internet services was noticed. While the estimated usage of the internet in China from 2019 to 2020 is already reaching 30.7%, the expected growth rate by the end of this year is projected at 35.2% or USD 712.5 billion. Moreover, it is further predicted that revenue from an online business in China will reach USD 1.96 trillion by the end of 2020.
Optical Fiber and Cable Industries
During the pandemic, the telecommunication and information technology market also witnessed a boost. As everything shifted online and work began to be done from home, this industry escalated in demand. Moreover, the people who never used the internet before also turned towards it in a bid to stay updated in the time of crisis. This is why it is predicted that revenues from the optical fiber and cable industries will increase by a huge 14.3% which is USD 60.9 billion.
The “Social Media” Industry
The biggest change that was witnessed at the time of COVID-19 was the increase in the use of social media in the wake of the lockdown. As all the work is being done remotely, retailers are using the power of social media to advertise their products. Online platforms such as Alibaba’s DingTalk, WeChat, Byte, and Lark are at the top position in China. People started selling and purchasing online which further boosted the E-commerce sector of the country. While WeChat was being used by businesses such as manufacturing, retail, agencies delivering Chinese translation, and others, they also began to be used by the general public. The Tencent app downloads rose from 250,000 to 5 million, whereas WeChat and DingTalk’s app downloads escalated by 572% and 1446%, respectively. This just goes on to show how much these apps were being used by the people who wanted to stay in touch with their families and friends while staying indoors.
Medical Equipment and Supplies
The medical and pharmaceutical industry is at the frontlines when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the number and influx of patients kept on growing, the demand for medical supplies, equipment, and especially ventilators went up and this became a golden opportunity for their manufacturers. The Chinese medical companies are also investing a large amount of money for the vaccination of coronavirus which resulted in a huge purchase of related equipment and supplies. Furthermore, social media usage also increased owing to doctors and nurses communicating with each other.
Solar Power Generation
As power shortages began to occur in China due to high electricity demand, people were forced to turn to solar power. This led to an increase in demand for solar panels and this industry is anticipated to grow by 32.2% which is approximately USD 7.9 billion.
House-cleaning and Home Care Services
There is an in-home care and household industry in China which provides facilities and take care of the elders and newborn babies. Owing to pandemic more people remained at home, more house-cleaning services were demanded and more business boosted up. The revenue from the home-care industry increased from 14.2% to 15.3%. Furthermore, it is anticipated that USD 100.6 billion revenue from house-cleaning and babysitting services will be generated in 2020.
The Last Word
COVID-19 has been the highlight of this year 2020. While it has disrupted life and affected the usual activities in China, some industries saw the light of the day in the wake of the pandemic. As businesses prepared to veer themselves away from the losses owing to the lockdowns and curfews, some industries took advantage of the lockdown situation to stabilize themselves and make profits while being socially responsible. Nevertheless, the virus has and continues to disrupt the normal working of businesses not only in China but also globally and it will be a couple of years till these businesses return to their normal working cycles after the pandemic is over. For now, they just have to cope up in this situation and make the most out of the lockdown and shutdowns.
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