International business chiefs back China

Yang Meiping
Donations of cash, equipment and advice for the future of the economy flood in from members of the International Business Leaders' Advisory Council for the Mayor of Shanghai.
Yang Meiping

Members of the International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council for the Mayor of Shanghai are supporting Wuhan, Shanghai and other places in China fighting the coronavirus epidemic.

The Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office said at least 23 companies, whose leaders are IBLAC members from the United States, France, the UK, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Thailand, Canada and Denmark have made donations of funds and items worth a total of over 150 million yuan (US$21.4 million).

Soopakij Chearavanont, Chia Tai Group’s board chairman, announced the donation of 50 million yuan of supplies soon after the outbreak in January. This included supplies to medical staff and patients and sponsorship for Chinese Academy of Medical Science and Peking Union Medical College to set up a foundation dedicated to research on the novel coronavirus.

Michael Diekmann, chairman of the supervisory board of Allianz SE and chair of IBLAC, Andronico Luksic, chairman of Luksic Group, and Emmanuel Faber, chairman of Danone, all sent messages of solidarity to the people of Shanghai and China. They all praised the measures Shanghai has taken to protect the health and safety of its citizens and expressed their resolve to support the city government in the battle against the epidemic. They said they are confident that Shanghai will eventually win and this year’s IBLAC meeting will be held as scheduled.

Allianz SE, the German insurance giant, and its Allianz (China) Insurance Holding Co, are to donate 4 million yuan to set up an emergency rescue foundation to support China in fighting the novel coronavirus.

Siemens' health-care division has provided ultrasonic equipment for hospitals in Wuhan. To date, Siemens China and Siemens Healthineers China have jointly donated 15 million yuan worth of medical equipment, including devices critical to diagnosing pneumonia caused by the virus. Siemens engineers helped deliver and install the equipment in Wuhan.

Siemens’ power-distribution equipment is supporting the power supply at Leishenshan Hospital, Wuhan’s second emergency hospital for infected patients. Before that, Schneider Electric helped install power equipment for Huoshenshan Hospital, Wuhan’s first such hospital.

Schneider Electric has donated 1 million yuan to the Wuhan branch of the Red Cross Society of China, which was later used by Wuhan’s Jinyintan Hospital and Children’s Hospital for medical supplies and emergency equipment.

Two giants in the medicine industry have also responded.

Roche Group has donated more than 4.3 million yuan in funds and supplies, including 1 million to purchase badly needed protective items for medical staff working on the frontline in Wuhan and more than 2.8 million yuan of medical equipment and reagents. Its employees worked overtime during Spring Festival to ensure supplies of anti-virus and anti-infection medicines for more than 3,500 public hospitals around China.

Novartis AG has made 2 million yuan of donations via the Red Cross Society of China and donated 266 pairs of goggles, 885 protective outfits, 9,000 N95 masks and 211.5 kilograms of ethyl alcohol.

Besides donations, finance giants such as Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and HSBC Holdings are trying to adjust loan repayments to help enterprises through difficult times. Sumitomo Mitsui has set up a 5-billion-yuan fund to support enterprises affected by the epidemic and financing needs in industries crucial for epidemic control, such as medicine and logistics.

Although China’s economy will be affected by the epidemic, many IBLAC members still have a positive attitude in the long run and are confident about Shanghai’s future development. Some even provided suggestions on reducing losses and quick recovery.

PwC said that although the influence of the novel coronavirus outbreak on economic growth will surpass that of SARS in 2003, the new epidemic will not last long and China’s economy will bounce back soon.

Bain & Company called on enterprises not to wait but to work out targets and plans during and after the epidemic in time and carry out the plans quickly.

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