Digital infrastructure a key to recovery

Ding Yining
Economists, political advisers and executives suggesting small and medium-size enterprises leverage digital infrastructure to support economic recovery and business transformation.
Ding Yining

Economists, political advisers and executives are suggesting small and medium-size enterprises fully leverage digital infrastructure to support economic recovery and business transformation.

Zhou Tongyu, vice chairman of the Shanghai Federation of Industry and Commerce and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, is proposing an integrated platform where even pop stores can offer coupons to consumers to benefit their business.

Consumption stimulus measures should be long-term efforts instead of just one-off discount events and the government should include more physical and digital retailers to amplify the effects, she said. 

The number of discount coupons and their frequency should be carefully calculated to target different forms of spending such as for daily necessities or large items.  

Others are concerned about how data insights shall be useful for the overall business restructuring. 

Search requests for keywords related to smart infrastructure and online business consulting courses have risen while those for consumer electronics and beauty products had declined, suggesting performance and sentiment varies between business segments, according to a joint report by Baidu and Roland Berger.

Economists suggest these digital trends and consumer preferences should be better analyzed and used to fuel business restructuring.  

Property transactions and home decoration were quick to rebound but franchise business and machinery manufacturing are still subject to weak business sentiment and supply chain disturbances.

"China's national strategy to put more focus on cloud computing and artificial intelligence has provided new growth prospects for small and medium-size enterprises," said Zhu Wuxiang, professor of corporate finance at Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management.

He suggested businesses review their operation models and how they collaborate with stakeholders. 

George Ren, a senior partner and vice president of Roland Berger China, expected consumers to become more pragmatic and discretionary spending such as on smartphones or beauty products will be dampened, based on an analysis of Baidu search data and trends.

He suggested a flexible business structure be set up in the case of emergencies, and said China's long-term consumer market trend is positive despite temporary restrictions. 

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