（Written by Li Min / Translated by Chen Zhiying）Have you wear masks and have you been scanned health code and tested temperature today? The pandemic lasting for more than 1 year has gradually turned these pandemic prevention measures become a routine in people’s daily work and daily life. But obviously, in addition to these visible changes, some invisible changes are taking place. It may be the world order, perhaps the trade pattern, or the industrial development.
Under the pandemic, some industries were temporarily stranded, while others gained better development. When the former could go through difficulties and how the latter would develop are unclear, but it’s sure that the world will change after the pandemic.
Distance creates opportunities
We can hear lot of slogans that encourage people to stay at home at the peak of the pandemic. Facing the fierce situation, isolation and reducing the flow of people and gathering have become effective methods for pandemic prevention and control without vaccines. Therefore, staying at home and reducing contact are encouraged by the government, becoming people’s active or passive choice during the pandemic.
It is because of the distance that people must keep that contactless economy and home economy can gain development, that “intelligent +” can achieve great achievement, and that some relevant industries can embark on the fast track. These industries not only contribute to maintaining a normal society during the pandemic, but also are expected to become a new growth point in the post-COVID-19 era.
Among them, online industry is the most eye-catching. With the support of digital technology, online business such as E-commerce, telemedicine, online office, education, entertainment, etc. makes it possible for people to complete most of their work and meet most of their daily needs online. From face to face to screen to screen, the pace of digitization of traditional industries has been greatly accelerated.
In addition to boosting online industries, the high-tech industry represented by artificial intelligence also gains development. It has become a powerful assistant to anti-epidemic workers. From infrared imaging, non-contact rapid temperature measurement to auxiliary diagnosis, from scientific tracking and judgement of the COVID-19 to intelligent robot, artificial intelligence based on big data and cloud computing not only reduces the infection risk of anti-epidemic workers, but also improves the work efficiency and empowers the technology to carry out medical treatment. During the pandemic, smart home, intelligent express cabinet, smart city, intelligent factory, etc. have also been paid more attention to.
Of course, the pandemic makes ordinary people focus more on their health. Therefore, big health industry such as protective equipment, health insurance, healthy light food and fitness gains an opportunity for development. The high-end medical equipment manufacturing meeting the demand of the fight against the pandemic and the gene industry based on high-throughput sequencing technology also ushered in a new round of booming.
In general, digitization, intelligence and health will be the major trend in the post-COVID-19 era. In fact, these trends already have emerged before the pandemic and the pandemic itself has also accelerated the trend.
It is an opportunity for the world, and also for China-ASEAN cooperation
The trend of digitization, intelligence and health has brought many investment opportunities. And for China, who has controlled the pandemic at an early time, and the emerging ASEAN market, there exist more opportunities for cooperation.
In fact, as promising land for digital economy development, Southeast Asia boasts huge potential. According to the e-Conomy SEA 2020 Report released by Google, Temasey and Bain, the total scale of Internet users has reached 400 million since 2020, with the Internet penetration rate exceeding 70%. Because of the pandemic, the average online time of Internet users in Southeast Asia rose from 3.7 hours per day to a maximum of 4.7 hours per day. The report also noted that GMV (Gross Merchandise Value ) of Southeast Asia Internet economy is expected to exceed US$ 300 billion by 2025.
On this basis, the online industry has been very active in Southeast Asia: Unicorns accelerated the consolidation of their status. Start-ups made efforts to seize opportunities. Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Tencent, Didi and JD have already entered the Southeast Asian online market in terms of capital, policy and human resources. With the further improvement of logistics, customs clearance, payment and after-sales services, cross-border E-commerce is expected to become a new growth point of economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN in the future.
With the development of artificial intelligence, China and ASEAN are strengthening cooperation in building smart cities. In 2019, China and ASEAN issued the ASEAN-China Leaders’ Statement on Smart City Cooperation Initiative to support Chinese cities and ASEAN smart cities to establish partnership and promote cooperation in policy research, standard setting, technology innovation, market sharing, talent training and other fields. At present, China and Singapore have carried out cooperation on smart cities in China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, taking the first step of building smart cities.
In Brunei, China’s BGI Genomics has created a new model of cooperation in the health industry by establishing a novel coronavirus detection laboratory called Huo-Yan Laboratory. The laboratory took less than 14 days from planning to completion. On March 30, 2020, the laboratory was officially operated, serving as the first Huo-Yan Laboratory constructed by BGI Genomics in ASEAN countries. MGI has provided a high-throughput automatic sample preparation system MGISP-960 and a virus RNA extraction reagent, which can diagnose the COVID-19 cases in Brunei rapidly. “We are very grateful to BGI Genomics for supporting us in building the Huo-Yan Laboratory. It will increase our current detection capacity by about four times,” said Dato Paduka Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Jaafar, Brunei’s Health Minister. In addition, cooperation on vaccine and related scientific research under the pandemic is also conducive to the sustainable development of health industry between China and ASEAN.
Go fast and far
Before the pandemic, the improvement of digital infrastructure, the iterative progress of artificial intelligence, and the continuous breakthrough of biotechnology have laid a foundation for the accelerated development of relevant industries and social services after the pandemic. These foundations will also provide a guarantee for the future development of the industry.
The pandemic indeed reshapes people’s consumption habits and thinking mode to some extent and provides some emerging industries with marketing education opportunities, but it does not mean that after the pandemic, the industrial growth will always be at a high level.
In the post-COVID-19 era, how much influence will these habits and thinking have on consumers and who can really gain benefits are unclear. But in general, strengthening the basic construction, focusing on the quality and safety of products, enhancing the influence and value of the brand, and promoting industrial standardization are the key to long-term development.
18 years ago, SARS forced people to stay at home. Benefiting from the demand for home consumption, Alibaba welcomed the first increase of turnover on Taobao. On the contrary, Ctrip was affected by the sudden drop in travel demand, nearly bankrupt. But when the pandemic came to an end, it ushered in a 200% increase in ticket booking volume. Now, industries are more diversified, technology is more advanced, and of course, the situation is more complex. Maybe 10 years later when we look back, we will get to know it is just an industrial change at that time.
Source: China-ASEAN Panorama