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Vision China: Companies key in COVID-19 fight, growth recovery

BEIJING, June 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Both State-owned enterprises and private companies are vital forces to restore the China's economic development strength and in the global fight against the pandemic, a common enemy facing all mankind, according to speakers at the latest edition of Vision China.

L to R: Ren Hongbin, vice-chairman of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council; Yu Xubo, president of COFCO Corporation; Ren Hongpeng, vice-president of China Railway Group Limited; Kuang Ming, founder & CEO of Zhiyun Jiankang Health Consulting; Christelle Chêne, director of Ningxia Helan Mountains East Foothill Wine Education Institute and Valdemar Rodrigues Augusto Tchipenhe, field applied scientist, Huo-Yan Laboratory in Africa, BGI Genomics.

Organized by China Daily, the event, titled "Fighting COVID-19: The Corporate Response" was broadcast online to a global audience on Friday.

"What we are facing now is not only a battle against the epidemic, but also fighting for economic growth. Centrally administrated SOEs have exerted a strong driving force in economic and social recovery. Now they have fully resumed work and production, leading the recovery of industrial chains and supply chains," said Ren Hongbin, vice-chairman of State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the country's top State asset regulator.

Apart from protecting the life and health of people, central SOEs also stand for the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, he said.

They have coordinated resources to strengthen international anti-virus cooperation by providing much-needed supplies and assistance to other countries within their capacity, boosting the international community's confidence in defeating the virus, Ren added.

Zhou Shuchun, publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily, said that in recent months, mankind has been challenged by a public health crisis the likes of which the world has not seen in a century.

As epidemic prevention and control have become a long-term campaign, Chinese enterprises are taking steps to resume business activities while continuing to help fight the disease, Zhou said in his opening remarks.

During the recent two sessions, the annual meetings of the National People's Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, President Xi Jinping prescribed endeavors to "cultivate new opportunities in crisis and open up new horizons amid drastic changes". This is the new guidance for China's economic development and the new motto for Chinese enterprises.

Zhou said there is no doubt that the business community is a vital force in this global fight against the pandemic. In China, while the medical corps constituted a pivotal part of the battle against the virus in earlier stages, the corporate world has been stepping up to ensure victory in a long-lasting war.

COFCO Corp, China's largest foodstuff producer and grain trader by sales revenue, mobilized its global and domestic resources to deliver urgently needed medical, food and other materials on time to ensure people's livelihoods were protected during the outbreak, said Yu Xubo, president of the Beijing-headquartered group.

Yu said it has delivered a large amount of essential foodstuffs including vegetables, rice, edible oils and meat, to many places in Central China's Hubei province.

He also said it provided large quantities of ethanol for disinfection to virus-hit areas in almost 30 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions nationwide after the epidemic began.

"COVID-19 has connected us and made us re-examine our responsibilities, both as individuals and as businesspeople," Yu added.

Ren Hongpeng, vice-president of China Railway Group, said the group has been teaming up with business partners across the world to sustain its projects, even though a number of infrastructure projects have been slowed by the COVID-­19 pandemic.

Apart from working to resume operations in overseas markets, the Beijing-based central SOE did urgent construction work on the Huoshenshan and Leishenshan hospitals, which were completed within two weeks in early February and provided more than 2,000 beds for patients in Wuhan, Hubei province.

It also worked around the clock and managed to build 45 emergency hospitals across 11 provinces and cities within 30 days, providing over 33,000 beds for patients in those areas over the past four months.

Other central SOEs, such as China Eastern Airlines, China North Industries Group Corp, China State Construction Engineering Corp, China General Technology Group and China Electronics Corp, have reported a surge in service and project operations, as well as high-volume manufacturing of masks and protective clothing.

To prevent financial losses caused by the outbreak in other countries, many central SOEs have shifted a part of their work from newly signed overseas infrastructure and manufacturing projects back to plants in China to ensure activity continues, according to the SASAC.

Kevin Xu, chairman of the board at Beijing-headquartered MEBO Group, a manufacturer of regenerative medicine for burns, wounds and ulcers that supplies markets in more than 73 countries and regions, said in addition to supporting China's battle to contain the virus in Hubei province, the company also worked with the Clinton Foundation of the United States in April to establish the COVID-19 Student Action Fund.

The project aims to provide seed funding for students around the world with innovative and creative ideas to improve methods for battling the novel coronavirus.

Wineries in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region are offering both incentives and supplies to medical staff who had worked on the front lines of the COVID-19 epidemic.

The Party committee of the Ningxia Helan Mountains East Foothill Wine Association has circulated a proposal to all wineries in the region to offer a free holiday for the medical staff around the country who have been involved in the epidemic fight in Hubei province.

"The wines are for the medical staff to open when they finally put their masks down and celebrate their victory over the epidemic. It is our social duty and responsibility as Chinese entities, companies and just as human beings, to take good care of the medical staff who take care of patients every day," said Christelle Chene, the French director of the Ningxia Helan Mountains East Foothill Wine Education Institute.

Chene, a French woman who has been living in China for 10 years, decided to settle down permanently in the region last year, as she saw a greater and meaningful cause behind the business where local companies work together to help build and develop society and change people's lives for the better.

Kuang Ming, founder and CEO of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province-based Zhiyun Jiankang Health Consulting, a digital healthcare service provider, said businesses should shoulder more social responsibilities and by working together, China's economy will eventually recover, turning what was a crisis into a bright new opportunity.

For Valdemar Rodrigues Augusto Tchipenhe, a field-applied scientist from China's genomics sequencing company BGI Genomics Huo-Yan Laboratory in Africa, studying in China and bringing Chinese biotech back to serve Africa gives him a feeling of extra responsibilities on his shoulders.

Tchipenhe, who comes from Angola and has been in China for six years, said BGI has helped three African countries of Gabon, Togo, and Benin install biological nucleic acid laboratories and provided workflow training to local lab technicians to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic.

He was selected to be part of a team for the Huo-Yan Project for the screening and testing of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, for both present and future needs.

"Installing devices, building up labs, training local technicians, and dealing with all the problems that may occur in the process, the things I do here may look laborious, but I do believe that I'm doing good for the benefit of the African people, fighting against the coronavirus," he said.

The event on Friday was the 13th Vision China event since its launch in 2018. Each event has featured global opinion leaders invited to discuss Chinese topics of international significance.

By Zhong Nan
zhongnan@chinadaily.com.cn

Cision

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SOURCE China Daily