Business leaders reflect on 2020 and offer hope for 2021

2020 is coming to an end, so we invited business leaders in Shanghai to share their stories from this challenging year as well as their wishes for the new year.  

Alex Kopitsas, head of HR, Johnson & Johnson China

While 2020 is coming to an end, it has left lasting memories about COVID-19 that we'll never forget.

As a foreigner who has stayed in China during the entire fight against the pandemic, I’m very impressed by how China has successfully controlled it within its borders and how we at Johnson & Johnson spared no expense to support front-line health-care workers and communities while securing the safety and health of our employees.

Johnson & Johnson has donated money, medical devices, medicine, consumer products and protective medical supplies with a total value of more than 30 million yuan (US$4.59 million) to support front-line medical professionals as well as local communities in China. Additionally, we’ve worked broadly with global partners to develop a safe and effective vaccine. At the same time, we’ve been taking good care of our employees. I think all the things we’ve done as a company are great examples of our employer brand in action.

With the government’s strong support and clear guidance, our business in China has rebounded. In the meantime, we increased our investment in building our brand to make Johnson & Johnson a company that not only attracts and retains the best talent, but also helps employees grow and develop their careers with us. And we’ve seen some very positive developments in our talent acquisition, talent development and employee satisfaction survey results.

This year has been difficult but fortunately it’s almost over. For 2021, my wish is that everyone in the world stays safe and healthy. I also hope Johnson & Johnson keeps accelerating in China and we truly change the trajectory of human health.

Yin Xuelin, head of human pharma supply China, Boehringer Ingelheim

The past year has been an eventful one and my greatest feeling is thankfulness.

I thank our country for leading our people and winning the battle against COVID-19 so we can feel assured and return to normal living.

We exchanged greetings with our overseas colleagues every time we had online meetings and asked how the pandemic has affected their lives.

I shared with them that here in China we've basically returned to normal.

Based on our previous experience with SARS, we prepared enough personal protection equipment after the Wuhan lockdown, and set up strict quarantine rules for the supply chain staff.

We gave instructions to all employees through online meetings and ensured we were among the first companies to resume manufacturing and business operations in Shanghai so our drugs could be dispatched throughout the country.

In the coming year, I hope to see more progress in the battle against COVID-19 so people's health is better safeguarded.

I also look forward to a global economic recovery and the return to cross-border travel so we can communicate with overseas colleagues face to face.

Ming Cheng Chien, president of the LANXESS Asia-Pacific region

The outgoing year hasn't been easy for any of us. The pandemic affected all our lives, both privately and professionally, with unprecedented intensity across the entire globe.

However, we have all done our best to cope with the challenging situation. At this moment, China is leading the world with its economic recovery, while many other nations are striving to control the spread of the virus.

I am proud to say that LANXESS as a company has stayed on track for good business performance in the face of the pandemic.

In China, our colleagues have met the challenges with remarkable team spirit.

Joining our nation in the fight against COVID-19, we supported Wuhan by donating our Virkon disinfectants to hospitals in early February.

To ensure business continuity, our colleagues supported our customers by successfully restarting production, ensuring continued supplies and launching innovative online events.

In December 2020, without any delays, we completed the first-phase construction of our brand-new APAC Application Development Center in Shanghai Chemical Industry Park.

What awaits us in 2021? I would say ongoing challenges together with opportunities. The global economy has yet to recover from the pandemic, while China and the Asia-Pacific region are expected to grow.

Undoubtedly, LANXESS will continue our commitment to responsible care for the chemical industry and grow our business together with local economies in China and the rest of APAC.

On behalf of my colleagues, I wish you and your families a happy, successful and healthy 2021!

Yamin Zhu, designated chief executive officer of AXA Tianping Property & Casualty Insurance

2020 has been an absolute whirlwind of a year — and not just because of the pandemic. Back in February, I left a decades-long career in banking to begin an exciting and challenging new journey in insurance with AXA. It might be a different industry but there are certainly many parallels. The main reason I made the switch was because I saw in insurance the potential to have a much more meaningful impact on people’s lives. I’m happy to say that outlook hasn’t changed.

2020 has been a milestone year for AXA. We had a new beginning and a fresh start with our transition to a new headquarters in Shanghai. I’m thrilled to be involved and playing such a central role in insurance at such an exciting moment in our country’s history. The next few years will present many challenges, but I firmly believe these will be hugely outweighed by the opportunities, not just for AXA but our entire industry. It’s encouraging to know that we, with the support of the government and favorable national policies, have the power to make a difference.

Looking ahead, I’ll be devoting most of my time to working with our partners and employees to take AXA to the next level in terms of serving the needs of our customers with high-quality, personalized and affordable products across health, commercial lines and property & casualty.

On behalf of all of us at AXA, I wish everyone in China a happy, healthy and prosperous new year in 2021!

Business leaders reflect on 2020 and offer hope for 2021

Rita Cui 

Rita Cui, managing director, RGF Professional Recruitment China

Although the path forward from 2020 may feel uncertain for both individuals and organizations, one thing has never been more clear — to change for the better, we have to be more agile to adapt to the new normal, and support each other in building a more just future we can all share.

Looking back on 2020 since the pandemic took hold, 93.5 percent of employers implemented flexible work arrangements across Asia, and 59.9 percent of them are planning to continue flexible work even post-COVID-19 to help increase productivity. The top three measures are more frequent video calls, regular and open updates through internal channels and clear KPI and goal setting between reporting managers and subordinates.

We have reached more than 170,000 people in China in 2020 with timely market intelligence, job information and vacancies sharing, revitalizing the workplace and helping people push through incredible challenges. Even though 2020 has felt like a constant drumbeat of crisis, it’s important to remember we’ve also seen examples of hope, bold action and global solidarity.

COVID-19 will leave lasting effects. Will 2021 be a year that defines you, or are you going to define it? Everything changes, as we work to meet the challenges that arise. If you define it through stretching yourself and seeing what it brings rather than what it takes away, you will lead yourself and others onto greater achievements.

Never lose sight of your goals and stay focused on your potential, because our actions today shape the path we take tomorrow.

Chen Chao, director of brand communications & product strategy, SAIC MAXUS

The year 2020 was such a special one, and so many unexpected things happened. It’s also been a special year for me, as I started a new chapter of my life with MAXUS, full of challenges and uncertainties due to the pandemic. 

Facing ever-changing challenges, SAIC MAXUS stays firm and sticks with two fundamental principles. First, with a customer-centered focus and customization, we provide great products and unique experiences; secondly, with honesty and win-win cooperation with partners, our global sales have grown.

Like rowing upstream, we have to strive to make advances. 

Happy New Year and wish good health to you and your family!

Phua Chen-Jiang, chairman of the board, AT&S (China)

What a year! It has finally passed. It's such an unprecedented year, and no one could have predicted it would turn out this way. It caught all of us off guard.

It has been a very disruptive and difficult year for everyone, full of sacrifices. We have never seen so much global suffering for the same reason.

For a year like this, and as leader of our China plants, I am very happy and touched that our employees have been so responsible and careful, taking care of themselves and working closely with the authorities and the company to stay safe. Our plants have recovered well and our business is growing. Driven by 5G technologies and applications such as artificial intelligence, demand for high-end electronic components and semiconductors remains strong. The sector has also benefited from strong demand for notebooks and tablet computers amid the growing stay-at-home economy. We are also very thankful for the decisive and effective actions of the Chinese government to ensure a safe environment to continue our business.

2021 will be a special year for me. I have been working in China for 23 years and my company is going to celebrate its 20th anniversary in Shanghai and 10th anniversary in Chongqing. I'm convinced this is a great place for us to grow our high-end technology business. I am grateful to my colleagues for their long-term loyalty and commitment. I hope we emerge from the pandemic faster and even stronger than before and achieve our dreams together.

I wish everyone a wonderful and better new year. Happy New Year!

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