China Focus: Foreign companies start resuming business amid epidemic outbreak

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-10 20:40:20|Editor: mingmei
Video PlayerClose

SHANGHAI, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- It was a quiet start for many foreign companies resuming business Monday after an extended Spring Festival holiday due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Over 20 factories across China under the U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill resumed production, following the instructions of the local governments in a bid to guarantee supply amid the epidemic outbreak. One of its feed plants based in Hubei Province, which is the hardest hit by the disease, has not yet resumed work.

"The health and safety of our employees are of primary consideration, and we strictly apply comprehensive measures to protect our employees, resume production and fight against the epidemic," said Liu Jun, China president of Cargill.

According to Liu, telecommuting solutions based on Internet technologies helped the company a lot in communication. "We can stay efficient with emails, calls and online video chats with communication apps of all kinds," said Liu.

Eighteen of Honeywell's 21 factories in the Chinese mainland have resumed production as of Monday, while 95 percent of the company's office clerks will work from home this week. The company hosted an online meeting Monday with over 3,000 employees joining live through the Internet.

The Ministry of Commerce issued a circular Monday urging local authorities to provide better services for foreign-funded enterprises amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Efforts should be made to help foreign-funded companies resume production and operation in an orderly manner.

There are some 50,000 foreign-invested companies in Shanghai, according to the Shanghai Association of Foreign Investment. Those manufacturing anti-epidemic materials and daily necessities did not halt their productions, while others are gradually resuming business and production.

Many of the foreign companies have turned to telecommunication to better protect their employees. Jiang Zhuo, an engineer of a Shanghai-based foreign automaker, used to take 18 metro stations from home to work.

"I will work at home for at least one week and be able to stay with my daughter amid the epidemic. I feel fully cared for by the company," Jiang said.

"China has taken decisive and powerful measures to control the epidemic, and we firmly believe that Chinese and Japanese enterprises will work together to tackle the difficulties," said Tatsuo Sugiyama, the regional general manager of the East Asia Region of Nippon Express Co., Ltd.

Liu of Cargill said the current epidemic outbreak will have an impact on his company's business as well as China's society and economy to a certain degree. However, the trade volume will see recovery growth after the epidemic.

"We are prepared in accordance with possible economic fluctuation," Liu said.