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30 ways companies are reactivating business and reimagining the future beyond COVID-19
Nick Leung, Joe Ngai, Jeongmin Seong, and Jonathan Woetzel 2020-09-14
As the first country to suffer the outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese economy was severely affected, with official statistics declaring first-quarter year-on-year GDP growth at negative 6.8 percent. Leading companies across sectors responded swiftly with a range of measures aimed at protecting their employees’ health and safety, and engaged in creative ways to protect their business. Well before the outbreak subsided and lockdowns were lifted, they worked hard to find ways to reactivate business activities, identify new platforms for growth, and position themselves to survive the crisis—and thrive beyond it. Some firms doubled sales during the crisis, while others acquired tens of millions of new customers.
To understand what leading companies did to reactivate their business and adapt to a post-COVID-19 world, we conducted a study of more than 200 examples of initiatives taken by companies from across 15 industries in China, which we then sorted into 30 categories (Exhibit 1). These represent just a sample of the millions of microeconomic actions taken by individual companies that, when viewed in the aggregate, drove the acceleration of five major macroeconomic trends during the few months that COVID-19 “pressed the pause button” on the world’s second-largest economy: digitization, declining global exposure, rising competitive intensity, maturing consumers, and the stepping up of the role of the private and social sectors.