Global Business Development

China and Global Supply Chain Update May 26, 2020

William (Bill) Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS), has been doing business in China for 38 years, starting with living in China from late 1982 through mid 1985. He has been the Master Franchisee for a U.S. franchise in China. EGS opened an office in Beijing in 2014 and we are currently helping four U.S. brands enter the Mainland China market. Our U.S. Clients are all consumer-faced franchise brands.

The following are extracts from a variety of information sources and our network inside China.  This is bipartisan and does not reflect a point of view.

“China may become one of many hubs as companies diversify manufacturing after coronavirus shock: The coronavirus is ‘a wake-up call for pretty much every company,’ said Gerry Mattios, expert vice president at Bain. ‘The number one item on the agenda is, “how do I build resilience in my supply chain?’ ‘China is still a very attractive total supply chain solution,’ said How Jit Lim, a managing director with consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal. ‘There are very few countries in the world where you can find almost everything you need to build something.’” CNBC, May 25, 2020

https://bit.ly/Chinamanyhubs

“Coronavirus won’t kill globalisation – but a shakeup is inevitable: Globalisation relies on complex links – global value chains (GVCs) – that connect producers across multiple countries. These producers often use highly specialised intermediate goods, or “inputs”, produced by only one distant, overseas supplier. COVID-19 has severely disrupted these links…..But GVCs follow the principle of efficiency. They are the result of businesses sourcing the best possible inputs to meet their production needs at the lowest cost – wherever those inputs come from. This is good news for globalisation’s survival. While efficiency remains the main target, businesses will continue to shop globally.”, The Conversation, May 23,2020

https://bit.ly/ConversationGVCs

“European Luxury Is More Chinese Than Ever: Designer labels will need to contemplate a wave of European store closures as they become more dependent on China for sales. Chinese luxury consumers, who are almost two decades younger and less indebted than their Western counterparts, can afford to spend a larger chunk of their disposable income on designer baubles. Already there are signs of what stock analysts are calling “revenge spending” as lockdowns lift in Chinese cities and shoppers head to the mall. Consulting firm Bain estimates that by 2025, up to 49% of global luxury sales will be made to Chinese shoppers, an increase from the consulting firm’s earlier forecast of 46%.”, Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2020

https://bit.ly/EuropeanLuxuryChina

“Business travel showing signs of life in China: While the Chinese hotel industry saw a significant performance increase during the Labour Day holiday to start May, some urban markets saw continued demand after the holiday, fueled by a modest return for business travel. Business transient was also strong enough to maintain performance levels following the holiday in Shanghai, with occupancies hovering in the 30% range. While better than performance seen so far in 2020, it still lags well behind what was seen in previous years. ‘For perspective, midweek this time of year in a normal year (occupancy) is about 90%,’ said Jesper Palmqvist, area director for the Asia/Pacific region for STR.”, Hotel News Now, May 20, 2020

https://bit.ly/3cWVpZL


EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter

Issue 4, Monday, May 18, 2020

By William (Bill) Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

 “Worry is like a rocking chair: It gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” humorist Erma Bombeck.

 “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Marie Curie

 Introduction

The goal of this newsletter is to keep the reader up to date on the economic and business situation in key trading countries. We monitor 30+ countries, 25 daily international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our team on the ground covers 43 countries and provides us with updates about what is happening in their specific countries.

Please send us your input and perspectives so that we can publish a balanced view about the world every other week.  Our contact information is at the bottom of this newsletter. You may opt out from receiving this biweekly global business update at the bottom of this blog.

The Focus of This Issue

This issue focuses on what is happening in 28 countries that impact consumer spending. The three themes of this issue are the continuing reopening of businesses around the world, travel openings and restrictions and a new section at the end that has links to special reports from several global information sources such as McKinsey’s May 15th ‘Short List’ of global updates at this link:

https://bit.ly/May152020newletter

The Latest GlobalVue™ Country Ranking Charts

We just issued our first quarterly GlobalVue™ country ranking since the novel Coronavirus outbreak. We’ve added a dual ranking, which first ranks countries on all parameters and then ranks countries on how they are expected to emerge post pandemic. The GlobalVue™ country ranking chart has been issued quarterly since 2001.

https://bit.ly/EGSGlobalVue052020

International Travel Updates

“Countries and destinations are continuing to implement additional health screening maries at their borders, including temperature checks, COVID-19 tests, questions on itineraries and 14-day quarantine periods.” This includes Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.” Lonely Planet, May 15, 2020.

https://apple.news/AGD9wpcNWQNadUjlTMchQzg

China, South Korea consult Japan on easing business-travel curbs: China and South Korea have consulted Japan about easing border controls on business travelers to help revive business activities, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Sunday without citing sources.”, Reuters, May 20, 2020

“Disneyland Shanghai reopens in test case for recovery: Strong demand from Chinese consumers as park limits visitors to less than a third of capacity. Disneyland Shanghai has reopened to a limited number of visitors kept apart by strict social distancing rules, as the group searches for a global recovery blueprint. The resumption of business on Monday after three months of coronavirus-induced closure marks the first Disney park to attempt a comeback after closure due to the Covid-19 crisis. The success of the reopening will be closely monitored as a potential model for Disney’s other venues that span from California to Hong Kong, Paris to Tokyo, as well as for other large theme parks around the world.”, The Financial Times, May 11, 2020

Emirates is resuming flights to London, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne on May 21st

https://apple.news/A5sXdLD01RGW3zmWhrkpvQw

Very good news for global brands in airport locations: Lagardère, the global airport brand operator announce that it has reopened retail stores at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. They have also reopened 9 Relay stores in France. 16 Relay store have now reopened in Europe.

“Lufthansa plans 1,800 round trips a week by the end of June: German flagship carrier Lufthansa on Thursday said it would be offering 1,800 round trips a week to more than 130 destinations around the world by the end of June.”, Reuters, May 14, 2020

https://apple.news/AGUw7GMGDQPGyD_bR1tWxB

“Chinese carriers restart their engines: In the first week of May, a holiday in China, capacity was scheduled to be only 10% lower than in the same period a year ago, estimates the capa Centre for Aviation, a consultancy. In America, meanwhile, it was 73% lower. As Western rivals slash flights, China Eastern this month claimed the title of the world’s biggest airline by current seat capacity, according to oag, an aviation-data firm.” The Economist, May 7, 2020

“Summer Travel Europe: Many Countries Plan To Be Open” As European lockdowns start to lift across the continent and land borders reopen, tourism is set to rise from the COVID-19 ashes in time for summer holiday travel. Countries with similar corona infection levels plan to welcome tourists, guided by strict EU safety and hygiene recommendations.”, Forbes, May 14, 2020

https://apple.news/AFBZ4Dw08QDqRef0rub1nHg

“How the Coronavirus Pandemic Will Change the Way We Travel: Trips will return, but they won’t be the same.”, Architectural Digest, May 13, 2020.

https://apple.news/APuGJmbrVS3iNXqEmkKh2zA

“Ryanair is planning to reintroduce 1,000 flights a day by July 1, with passengers undergoing temperature checks at airports to combat the spread of coronavirus. Europe’s busiest airline said today that 40 per cent of its flight schedule would be restored within seven weeks, subject to government restrictions on travel across the Continent being lifted.”, The Times of London, May 12, 2020

“9 Aspects To Consider Before Traveling Overseas Again: While being grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, this million-mile traveler considers what’s going to be needed before he will feel safe traveling again.”, Forbes, May 8, 2020

https://apple.news/A2BBJftP9SJWfvHFYeJVEoA

Argentina

“Argentina extends quarantine for capital, relaxes elsewhere: Argentina extended until May 24 a quarantine for its capital Buenos Aires but relaxed the restriction aimed at slowing the spread of the new coronavirus elsewhere in the country, President Alberto Fernandez said on Friday.”, Reuters, May 9, 2020

Australia

“The Federal government has unveiled a thee stage plan to ease COVID-19 social distancing restrictions over the next two months, with reviews to occur at three-week intervals to assess the plan’s progress, according to a media report. Each stage will open more facilities for business, pleasure, and recreation, and increases the number of people which may gather in one place provided COVID-19 protocols including 1.5-metre physical distancing and good hand hygiene are maintained. Employees will be encouraged to continue working from home if possible. Intra- and interstate travel restrictions will also be progressively eased, but international travel beyond New Zealand and some Pacific Islands is unlikely to resume anytime soon.” Jason Gehrke, Managing Director, Franchise Advisory Centre, Brisbane

“On 26 April 2020 the Australian Government launched the COVIDSafe app to assist with contact tracing of COVID-19 cases in the community. Since its release more than 5.3 million Australians have downloaded the app.”, MST Lawyers, mst.com.au

“Australia’s biggest beer drinkers prepare for the end of lockdown with 300,000 pints: Australia’s thirsty far north is preparing for the party of the decade as a convoy carrying 175,000 litres of beer — 300,000 pints — heads there for the reopening of pubs next week. The Northern Territory capital, Darwin, whose population of 132,000 are Australia’s biggest beer drinkers, is expected to be the first to emerge from the coronavirus lockdown. Michael Gunner, the territory’s chief minister, ordered his office to arrange a huge road convoy that is trucking beer the 1,600 miles from Adelaide to Darwin in readiness for the expected opening of pubs next week.”, The Times of London, May 8, 2020

Brazil

“Our president is allowing reopening flexibility, but not every city is making use of it. Today’s headlines say that contamination in our city, Belo Horizonte, is 10x slower than São Paulo due to social isolation.” Ursula Aleixo, Business Director, Fastdezine Team, Bello Horizonte

Cambodia

“Thailand’s CP Group will oversee the Cambodian debut of 7-Eleven convenience stores next year under a master franchise agreement with 7-Eleven Inc, the US subsidiary of 7-Eleven Japan Co. CP All Plc, the conglomerate’s SET-listed retail arm, has concluded a deal with the US firm to operate 7-Eleven stores through CP All (Cambodia) Co beginning in 2021. The first outlet will open in Phnom Penh, a spokeswoman for the Japanese retail group Seven & I Holdings Co said.”, Contributed by Paul Jones, Barrister, Solicitor & Trade-mark Agent, Jones & Co., Toronto, Ontario

Canada

For an excellent update on the status of the provincial reopening plans for restaurants, cafes and other food service establishments across Canada, please go to the link below for the Cassels Brock law firm update:

https://bit.ly/CBCanadaReopening

“McDonald’s will restart take-out services at 30 restaurants in Canada, weeks after shutting down all of its stores in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company’s Canadian unit said.”, Reuters, May 14, 2020

“Wage Subsidy extended to the end of August: The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program will be extended to the end of August. The program — which covers 75 per cent of an eligible company’s payroll, up to a maximum of $847 per week per employee — originally was set to expire next month. Companies that saw their revenues drop by 15 per cent in March or 30 per cent in April and May are eligible for the program.”, Canadian Franchise Association, May 15, 2020

Mainland China

“China’s 2020 economic growth target in focus as Beijing set to convene National People’s Congress: Speculation is mounting over whether China will announce a growth target for 2020 at its annual parliamentary gathering (this coming week), after the coronavirus outbreak delayed the event and lashed the economy.”, South China Morning Post, May 6, 2020

https://apple.news/AGwO8ki6xTXmADsRyAVPMhQ

“China starts exempting some foreign business executives from its coronavirus travel ban. It’s the latest sign that China is taking steps to reopen its borders for business.”, Fortune, May 12, 2020

https://apple.news/AVaEzrvVMR4yl4TTbUtf_aQ

“China’s recovery is on course: Despite external headwinds, UBS CIO expects China’s GDP growth to recover gradually from 2Q thanks to pent-up demand and stronger policy support. UBS CIO Global Wealth Management expects infrastructure investment to be the main growth driver from 2Q, buoyed by greater funding support from larger special local government bond issuance. In 1Q, up to CNY 1.08trn of special LGBs have been issued to fund qualified infrastructure projects, and the full-year quota could reach at least CNY 3trn.” UBS report compliments of Andrew Low, CEPA, CTFA, Senior Vice President – Wealth Management, Certified Exit Planning Advisor, UBS Financial Services, Inc

https://bit.ly/UBSChinaReport

The global law firm, DLA Piper, recently released a very detailed China tax and legal slide update this past week which can be viewed and downloaded at the following link:

https://bit.ly/DLAChina0520

“McDonald’s China is hosting an online job-recruitment fair for the first time as the fast-food giant eyes the addition of 1,000 new locations over the next two years. A livestreaming job fair will be held today and aims to hire and train 1,700 additional store managers to oversee new outlets. A virtual tour of the quick service chain restaurant will also be offered for potential job applicants to learn about the company’s working environment. It operates 3,500 storefronts in China’s mainland as of February this year.” Also from Paul Jones, Barrister, Solicitor & Trade-mark Agent, Jones & Co., Toronto, Ontario

https://www.shine.cn/biz/company/2005158161/

“Fast-forward China: How COVID-19 is accelerating five key trends shaping the Chinese economy: Events expected to play out in the Chinese economy over the next several years have been compressed into a short few months. Over the last few months, COVID-19 has spread across the world, uniting humanity in a shared experience that has highlighted the vulnerability of our societies. As the first country to grapple with the crisis, China has been on the frontlines both of post-COVID-19 economic recovery, and of the societal changes the pandemic has precipitated.”, McKinsey Highlights, May 6, 2020

https://apple.news/AELPrgE6qPtyv8HFJOTWW7Q

Denmark

“Fast in, first out: Denmark leads lockdown exit: Four weeks after Denmark began easing its lockdown, Danes on Monday returned to cafes and restaurants, confident that the coronavirus outbreak is under control.”, Reuters, May 18, 2020

Dominican Republic

“An article in a DR publication which included an interview with the “Father of Tourism” in the DR – Frank Rainieri. Frank is the Founder & Chairman of Grupo Puntacana, which is the #1 tourist destination in the DR, and includes hotels, villas, residences, marinas, stores, restaurants, etc. Frank said he was optimistic about the recovery of the tourism sector in the DR and in the Caribbean overall. He noted just this week alone 21 different international airlines have contacted him requesting when they can resume flights into Punta Cana (Frank owns the private Punta Cana airport, which is the country’s busiest). He expects to resume the extensive operations of the Grupo in June. Source: “Mercado Daily” digital news publication for the DR, May 7, 2020.  Bob Jones, Chief International Officer, Edwards Global Services, Inc.

Egypt

“IMF approves $2.77 billion in emergency pandemic aid for Egypt. The International Monetary Fund on Monday said its executive board approved $2.77 billion in emergency financing to help Egypt grapple with the new coronavirus pandemic that has brought tourism to a standstill and triggered major capital flight.”, Reuters, May 11, 2020

“Egypt extends nationwide nighttime curfew until end of Ramadan: Egypt extended a nationwide nighttime curfew until end of the holy month of Ramadan (May 23rd) to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Thursday.”, Reuters, May 7, 2020

Germany

“Apple Stores in Germany next to begin reopening on May 11: Apple Stores in Germany will be among the next to reopen after extended closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Following reopenings across South Korea, Austria, and Australia in recent weeks, Germany’s 15 Apple Stores will all reopen on May 11 at 11:00 A.M. Germany hasn’t mitigated coronavirus infections to the extent of other regions.”, 9T05Mac, May 8, 2020

https://apple.news/ACT4rLu_eS1mLaD6LDy9V7w

“Germany to Reopen Most of Economy in Coming Weeks as Coronavirus Recedes: Germany announced a further phasing out of its lockdown, putting itself at the front of a group of large European countries feeling their way back toward economic normality after slowing the spread of the coronavirus.”, The Wall Street Journal, May 6, 2020

https://apple.news/AEHAv626wT9Oezv_eGP-nJw

Greece

“Greece reopened the Acropolis, museums and other major tourist attractions as the coronavirus lockdown eased in bright sunshine in Athens on Monday.”, Reuters, May 18, 2020

Hong Kong

On May 13, the global U.S.-based Snap Fitness® franchise group reopened its 6 Hong Kong gyms and announced the award of another franchise for Hong Kong.

“Hong Kong business travelers prioritised in economy relaunch once pandemic is defeated. Attracting business travelers will be the top priority when Hong Kong reopens its economy to the world as part of the city’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the commerce minister has said.” South China Morning Post, May 14, 2020

India

“The current Lockdown will now end on May 31st. Some restrictions will be in place though.  The Government has already opened offices and shops with restriction on number of people (Like 30-40%). Trains have started to run.”, Rajeev Manchanda, Inventure India, updated May 18, 2020

“Modi unveils $266bn stimulus package to revive Indian economy: The package is equivalent to about 10 per cent of India’s gross domestic product. “Coronavirus is going to be part of our lives for a long time, but we can’t let our lives revolve around it,” he said.”, The Financial Times, May 12, 2020

Italy

“Italy will welcome foreigners to save tourism industry: Italy will open its borders to European visitors on June 3 to lure back German holidaymakers and save its tourism industry despite the threat of another wave of contagion. It is the latest in a series of steps to roll back Italy’s lockdown, which was introduced on March 10 to quell an outbreak that has killed more than 31,000 people. “We’re facing a calculated risk, knowing that the epidemiological curve could rise again,” Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister, said.”, The Times of London, May 18, 2020

“Things are slowly coming back on-line. Restaurants & Bars are open for take-out and delivery, from the 18th they will be able to welcome customers as long as they stick to guidelines: ample space for social distancing, hygiene requirements and masks, plexiglass shields and behavior manuals for staff. Similar regs apply to other businesses where people work closely together; controls on building sites have also been increased. There are strict regulations on number of people present at any one time, how many people can travel together to work, disinfecting (2 times per day), masks worn at all times, social distances when working or using communal spaces. Anyone entering the site will have their temperature measured. All workers will need to follow a hygiene/guidelines course and all areas require appropriate signage. Schools will not be reopening before September. Under Phase 2, Italians are allowed to travel within the same region and visit relatives without showing special documentation, exercise outside, hold funerals with 15 or fewer attendees, and reopen bike and scooter shops to alleviate demand on public transportation.” Andrew Shearn, ADEA Group, Milan

Japan

“Japan Largely Lifts Coronavirus State of Emergency: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted a state of emergency in much of the country outside of the capital and credited voluntary restrictions for bringing down new coronavirus infections sharply, Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2020

Malaysia

“Malaysia on Sunday extended its conditional lockdown for a further four weeks to June 9.”, South China Morning Post, May 10, 2020

Mexico

“With the economy in freefall, the question facing Mexico’s central bankers is how much to cut interest rates. Analysts are expecting a reduction of half a percentage point, to 5.5%, a four-year low. That will do little to stem the bleeding. The peso is trading near an all-time low against the dollar. (Of 42 major, national economies tracked by the Economist Intelligence Unit, our sister company, Mexico is expected to fare the worst this year.).” The Economist, May 13, 2020.

https://apple.news/AlEF9C4q5S66fTCWz1RQLLA

New Zealand

May 13th was the first day at level 2 with all shops and restaurants open. Huge queues for haircuts. Malls are also open. Schools soon. Most people continue to work from home. Stewart Germann, Stewart Germann Law Office, Auckland   Please go to this link for Stewart’s latest reopening advice:

https://bit.ly/StewartGermannNZReopening

Panama

“With a high increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, the situation in Panama is not good. Some restaurants are just delivering. Gyms are closed.  Hopefully at the end of May we will see more businesses operating but with lots of restrictions.”, Jose Enrique Tellez, Business Consultant, Panama City

“Panama’s Copa Airlines expects to fly 40% of its usual flights by December: Panama’s Copa Airlines expects to resume 40% of its usual flights by December, the company said on Wednesday, the latest carrier to predict a slow recovery in traffic due to the coronavirus crisis.’, Reuters, May 6, 2020

Singapore

“Singapore partly reopens despite rise in cases: Singaporeans are able to get a haircut at the barber or pop in to their favorite bakery as the government loosened restrictions.”, ABC News, May 13, 2020

“Groomed but still grounded: Hairdressers reopen during Singapore lockdown: Long queues formed outside hairdressers in Singapore on Tuesday as the government eased some restrictions of a nationwide lockdown, although any styles beyond a trim would have to wait.”, Reuters, May 12, 2020

South Korea

“‘Smart Work’ and COVID-19 Transforming the Workplace in South Korea: In February and March government agencies and companies across South Korea opted to keep workers home in what can be seen as a mass experiment with the remote work system. One issue that did not hamper work from home was Korea’s Internet infrastructure robustness even as the demand for telecommuting solutions rapidly increased. As most of Korea has returned to working on-site, the big question remains open as to whether working remotely and adopting “smart work” systems will become an option and part of the new normal.”, Don Southerton, Branding In Asia, May 11, 2020

“South Korea’s Early Coronavirus Wins Dim After Rash of New Cases: South Korea, which largely succeeded in quelling the spread of the coronavirus, is back on the defensive, with Seoul’s bars and clubs ordered closed, as the country reported its biggest one-day increase in new infections in a month.”, Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2020

Spain

“Spain aims to reopen borders to tourism in late June: Tourism-dependent Spain aims to reopen borders to visitors around the end of June as its coronavirus lockdown fully unwinds, a minister said on Monday, in a much-needed boost for the ravaged travel sector.”, Reuters, May 18, 2020

https://apple.news/AnI2QxEozTlys8AbDn52jww

“From May 11, F&B places will be able to open for terrace service (with 50% occupancy reduction) and also will be allowed to continue with their home delivery and pick-up services. From last week, they have set 3 daily separate groups to go out of the house:  1)  People over 14 till 69 yrs old doing sports or walking (6am to 10am and 20 to 23h); 2) Walking the kids under 14 (12 to 19h); and 3) over 70 yrs old (10-12am and 19 to 20h).  From May 11, they will allow get togethers of a maximum 10 people.  Unfortunately, no news about business travelling yet.”, Tarsicio Merin, CEO, Almanor International, Madrid

“Spain will require all arriving travelers to quarantine for 14 days: Traveling to Spain in the near-term will require a mandatory period in isolation. On May 12, Spain announced that it was set to impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine for international arrivals. Beginning May 15, Spain will require that all passengers arriving from international destinations self-quarantine for two weeks.” The Points Guy, May 12, 2020

Switzerland

“This week Switzerland became the first country in Europe to end restrictions on its hospitality sector — offering a peek, albeit through the lens of the wealthy alpine state’s relatively rarefied dining scene, of what future lies ahead for restaurants, cafés and bars in a post-Covid-19 world. Restarting the hospitality sector is a key priority for Bern as the country emerges from lockdown — a message the government has pushed hard this week. More than 260,000 people are employed in the hospitality sector. In many cantons, more people work in restaurants than in shops.”, Financial Times, May 14th, 2020

Thailand

“In Bangkok, street food and takeaway alcohol are back on the menu but nightlife stays on ice. Hair salons, restaurants and even street-food stalls in Bangkok’s Chinatown came back to life this week, albeit with social distancing in place, as Thailand eased its lockdown rules and an alcohol ban after making progress in controlling the spread of the virus.”, South China Morning Post, May 5, 2020

During a recent call with Stephen Anderson, Senior Commercial Officer, and Commercial Specialist Thanyathorn Voravongsatit at the U.S. Commercial Service post in Bangkok, they mentioned ‘Thailand 4.0’. This is the government program to go from Thailand 1.0 agriculture to Thailand 2.0 light industry to Thailand 3.0 heavy industry to Thailand 4.0 Prosperity, Security and Sustainability.  You can download detailed information on Thailand 4.0 at this link:

https://thaiembdc.org/thailand-4-0-2/

Turkey

“Turkey’s reopening: malls before schools: Turkey has the ninth-highest number of confirmed covid-19 cases worldwide. But the country has managed to limit the spread of the virus over the past month and so is moving to ease its lockdown. The government has already lifted travel bans in some provinces. On May 10th the elderly, who were placed under a strict curfew at the start of the pandemic, were allowed to go out for a few hours for the first time in nearly two months. Everyone else was ordered to stay home.”, The Economist, May 10, 2020

United Arab Emirates

“Dubai businesses ask for more state help to survive coronavirus. Proposals include reduction of utility costs, customs duties and expats’ residency fees. Dubai’s private sector has proposed government interventions including state subsidised loans, assistance in covering salaries and lower taxes, to help businesses survive the fallout from coronavirus. Representatives of the Gulf hub’s family-owned business community called for the government to speed up payments to contractors and suppliers and to cut sales tax from 5 per cent to 2 per cent.” Financial Times, May 12, 2020

United Kingdom

“Rishi Sunak (UK Chancellor) has announced that the government’s wage-subsidy scheme will be extended until the end of October, but employers will have to help bear the cost. The chancellor announced that from August furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with their wages topped up by the government. The Treasury has decided not to cut the overall level of the wage subsidy scheme, which stands at 80 per cent of people’s wages up to £2,500 a month.”, The Times of London, May 12, 2020

“McDonald’s has announced plans to reopen a further 15 restaurants on May 20th which will offer drive-thru services. Each car will be limited to a £25 order and will be encouraged to pay by contactless payment methods.”, LAD Bible, May 12, 2020

https://apple.news/AgZ7OgIAGTGeR76oDKUWvJA

“Britain’s 5.8m small businesses are in the eye of the economic storm created by the coronavirus outbreak. Entrepreneurs pride themselves on resilience and adaptability, but the past two months have thrown up challenges few could have anticipated. The government has responded with support packages providing loans, grants and equity investments for businesses of all sizes. Under the job retention scheme, the state pays 80% of the wages of furloughed workers until the end of next month.”, The Times of London, May 9, 2020

https://apple.news/AgBhcD04WR-6ASsJYbPSTBQ

“No breakfast buffet and smartphones as keys: what London hotels will be like after lockdown: Guests arriving at London’s top hotels famed for their warm welcomes are likely to have to check in online in advance and go straight to their rooms unaccompanied to help keep face-to face contact to a minimum once they reopen after lockdown.”, The Evening Standard, May 7, 2020

Vietnam

“International tourists will come (to Vietnam) but clearly in much less numbers than before. Most if not all international flights are not allowed still though this may open up in the next few weeks hopefully. The main issue is where the planes go to and come from as some countries have been hit hard and Vietnam will limit or not allow flights to/from those countries. When international flights are allowed into Vietnam, it will come with extensive testing at the airports and also 14 day quarantines for some that come from specific countries (at this point do not know who they will require quarantining). Countries like the US, UK, Italy, and Spain are likely going to require some sort of quarantining if allowed to come for the foreseeable future and until these countries can get a handle on the coronavirus.”, Sean Ngo, CEO and Co-Founder, VF Franchise Consulting, Ho Chi Minh Coty

Articles on Moving Through the COVIF-19 Times

One of the most important things that people and businesses can be doing these days is maintaining relationships around the world through calls, video conferences and email messages. We like the article by Ernesto Zuniga with the Avantiis Group at the following link on the value of global relationships:

https://bit.ly/GlobalRelationships

Recently the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published their 2020 and 2021 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth projections for the world in the form of two interactive maps which you can access at the link below. 2020 is not good, of course. But 2021 is projected to show high GDP growth across almost all countries.

https://bit.ly/IMFGDP20202021

“The Great Unwinding: Covid-19 and the regionalisation of global supply chains: A report by The Economist Intelligence Unit The coronavirus pandemic will fundamentally reshape trade, accelerating the trend towards shortening supply chains. For many multinationals, regional supply chains offer resilience and the flexibility to shift production of key components from one location to another, making it a trend that is likely to endure post-pandemic. In a world of increasing uncertainty the pandemic also raises questions around the storage of final goods and critical components”. Download this important report at this link:

https://pages.eiu.com/May-20-Businesses-and-Covid19-registration-page.html

“The world’s food system has so far weathered the challenge of covid-19.” The report at the link below is a comprehensive look at how the world’s food supply chain is performing during the COVID-19 crisis.

https://bit.ly/FoodSupplyReport

“Charting the path to the next normal: A daily chart that helps explain a changing world—during the pandemic and beyond.”, McKinsey

https://bit.ly/DailyChart

In Summary

There is progress in reopening business in the Asia Pacific and in Europe. The Americas and the Middle East remain largely closed down. Air travel will continue to be problematic for the next couple of months at least.

About US

Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) provides a complete International solution for U.S. businesses Going Global. From initial global market research and country prioritization, to developing new international markets and providing operational support around the world. Our U.S. based executive team has living experience living and working in many countries. Our Associate network on the ground overseas covers 40+ countries. EGS is also known for our extensive country, cultural and sector research and publications, including the quarterly GlobalVue™ country ranking chart.

Find out more about the services we provide at:   www.edwardsglobal.com

William Edwards is an executive with 46 years of international operations, development, executive and entrepreneurial experience and has lived in 7 countries.   With experience in the franchise, oil and gas, information technology and management consulting sectors, he has directed projects on-site in Alaska, Asia, Europe and the Middle and Near East.  Founded in 2001, Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) takes U.S. businesses global and currently has activity in 25 countries.  Our Clients are all consumer-faced brands.

William Edwards, CFE, is CEO and Global Advisor to Chief Executives, of Edwards Global Services (EGS). Contact Bill at bedwards@edwardsglobal.com or +1 949 224 3896.


Asia Biweekly Business Update Blog – 4/27/2020

(This is an update of our March 9, 2020 China Blog which now will cover Asia)

Bill Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS), has been doing business in China for 45 years, including living in China, Hong Kong and Indonesia. EGS is currently helping U.S. brands enter Cambodia, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines and Thailand. Our U.S. Clients are all consumer-faced franchise brands.

The following are extracts from a variety of information sources and our Associates across Asia on consumer-focused issues during the COVID emergency.

Introduction

Mainland China and South Korea are seeing businesses starting to reopen. Singapore and Malaysia remain shut down. Indonesia and the Philippines are allowing restaurants to do takeaway and delivery only. Japan is mixed. Vietnam has done a good job controlling the virus and will soon allow businesses to reopen. Thailand will start reopening the week of May 4th. Ramadan, which lasts until May 23rd, is a challenge for businesses in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Asia General

“From coffee in Hong Kong to burgers in Malaysia and Ramadan in Singapore – here’s how Asia’s small businesses cope with Covid-19. Asia’s SMEs are rising to the challenges posed by the coronavirus by adapting their business models and focusing on the positives. Here are five case studies, taken from across the region, of how SMEs are adapting to the challenges posed by Covid-19 – and proving that even the smallest of businesses can have the biggest of hearts.” South China Morning Post, 4/25/2020

https://bit.ly/SMEsAsiaAdapt

“In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, hundreds of millions are unable to congregate during the holy month of Ramadan. Muslims in neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia are also having a more solemn Ramadan as Covid-19 social distancing rules are enforced.” South China Morning Post, April 24, 2020

https://bit.ly/MelancholyRamadan

Mainland China

“Co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates announced that stores of the company in China had resumed their operations that may be a concrete example of how society may return to ‘business as usual.’ Microsoft already sent thousands of its workers back to China, where they would resume their posts and comply with precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic.” Business Times, April 24th, 2020

AmCham China has released the results of a second Flash Survey that evaluates the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on its member companies. Almost 120 companies responded to the survey. Roughly half of the surveyed members say they are experiencing significant revenue declines, compared with 28% last month. 39% of companies report a drop in demand for their products, up 6 percentage points from last month. 60% (up 10 percentage points month-on-month) said 2020 revenues will decline anywhere between 10% and 50% or more if business cannot return to normal before August 30. Read the full AmCham China Quarterly report at this link:

https://bit.ly/AmChamChinaQuarterly

Indonesia

“Indonesia to ban air, sea travel to end-May: officials. Indonesia will temporarily ban domestic and international air and sea travel, with some exceptions, starting this week to prevent a further spread of the coronavirus, the transport ministry said in a statement on Friday. The announcement came as the holy month of Ramadan began in the world’s largest Muslim majority country, and the government has already banned citizens’ traditional annual exodus from the cities to the provinces during the holiday period.” Reuters, April 23, 2020

https://reut.rs/2Kxl0f4

“With most schools and universities in Jakarta (Indonesia) shut down even before official rules on social distancing went into effect, the transition has been sudden and uncertain for many. With Large Scale Physical Distancing extended in Jakarta until at least May 22, schools will continue to function online. AmCham (Indonesia) held a special forum on the situation on Thursday, April 23, to look at the challenges for schools, students and parents.” Learn more about the conference findings at this link:

https://bit.ly/AmChamIndonesiaSchools

Japan

“In recent weeks, the number of covid-19 cases has increased, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for an 80 percent reduction in person-to-person contact. Yet, some pachinko parlors refuse to close. Earlier this month, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike included pachinko parlors, along with bars and clubs, in the establishments she was requesting shut down to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. Many pachinko parlors followed the request, but some did not.” Kotaru, April 23, 2020. See pictures the lack of social distancing at this link:

https://bit.ly/JapanCOVID

“Japan’s new economic stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic is estimated to boost real gross domestic product by about 4.4%, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Friday. Japan has boosted its new economic stimulus package to a record $1.1 trillion to expand cash payouts to its citizens, as the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic threatens to push the world’s third-largest economy deeper into recession.: Reuters, April 23, 2020

https://bit.ly/JapanStimulus

Malaysia

Malaysia has one of the highest COVID cases and death counts in Asia. Essentially all business is closed. A major challenge for the Ramadan period.

“The (Malaysian) Prime Minister announced that the MCO (movement control order) which was first imposed on March 18 to 31 and later continued with a second phase from April 1 to 14, and a third phase from April 15 to 28 – would be on for a further two weeks. The government, said the Prime Minister, was considering allowing more specified sectors and sub-sectors to resume operations but subject to strict conditions to ensure the people’s health and safety.” The Star, April 23, 2020

https://bit.ly/MalaysiaShutDownExtended

Philippines

In the Philippines, the almost total business lock down is slightly easing. Some Chili’s® and Denny’s® restaurants have reopened for takeaway and delivery. But local sources say the Manila government has issued passes, only one selected member of each household is permitted to go out for food, groceries and to pharmacies.

“The coronavirus outbreak will likely send the Philippine economy into its first annual contraction in more than two decades this year, before it pulls back up for a U-shaped recovery in 2021, the central bank governor said on Saturday. Key cities in the Philippines, among the fastest growing economies in Asia during the pre-pandemic period, are under strict quarantine measures since mid-March. Philippine gross domestic product would likely shrink by 0.2% in 2020 before bouncing back to about 7.7% as policy support measures gain traction, central bank Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a statement.” Reuters, April 25, 2020

https://reut.rs/2VYkHzs

Singapore

Singapore has been under a partial lockdown since April 7 that may be extended past May 4 due to the recent jump in coronavirus cases in migrant workers.  Many businesses, especially F&B, are suffering and may have to close for business due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  The Singapore government has come out with a S$60 billion (US$40+ billion) budget to help businesses, employers, employees, & citizens.

South Korea

Churches, bars, gyms, restaurants are starting to reopen. Travel is not doing well. 400 McDonald’s are open for drive through. From 900 new COVID cases on February 29th, there were 8 new cases on April 23rd.  “Amid the rapid changes caused by COVID-19, there is optimistic recovery progress of American businesses in Korea. Many companies are adapting quickly and finding success in unexpected ways amid these times of uncertainty.”  James Kim, Chairman and CEO of AmCham Korea.  This link is to a CNBC interview with Mr. Kim:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l3oVv2wJYo&t=2s

Early in the coronavirus timeline, Korea created an app that kept track of infected people. It prohibited large gatherings and required virtual church services. Key was wide spread testing. They even had an election.

https://bit.ly/KoreaElection

Thailand

AMCHAM Thailand had a Video Conference on April 22. Here are some of takeaways: The ban on sale of alcohol beverages has been extended until the end of the month (April 30) to discourage further social gatherings. All foreigners have been granted automatic visa extension for another 3 months until July 31. It is estimated that Thailand will end the year with just over 16 million international tourists, far below the 40 million goal. However, they have stated that tourism activities in Thailand could resume as early as May. AmCham Thailand members remain vastly positive toward the measures taken by the Thai government to curb the spread of Covid-19. See the full results are the link below:

https://bit.ly/AmChamThailand

Although the number of new COVID-19 cases in Thailand had a sharp drop to 15 cases on 26 April 2020, the state of emergency is extended another month to end on May 31, 2020. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) issued the guideline of the preparation to reopen the businesses under the Covid-19 situation. High-risk business such as bars, pubs, entertainment venues will remain closed. Medium-risk business such as barber shops, spa, restaurants, department stores and shopping malls would be allowed to reopen gradually.  All airports in Thailand are expected to resume their services on the 1st of May after they have closed temporary for a month.

The Thai Cabinet approved a stimulus package for soft loans to help businesses. For example, a 6-month debt moratorium on principal and interest for SMEs. “Seth” Sethaphong Phadungpisuth, CFE, Managing Director of Gnosis Company Limited, Thailand.

Vietnam

Sean Ngo, CEO of VF Franchise Consulting based in Ho Chi Minh City, reports on LinkedIn that Vietnam will be one of the first, if not the first country, in Southeast Asia to cautiously lift the lockdown. Social distancing, temperature checks at businesses, and better hygiene practices will not change. See the full US News report at the following link:

https://bit.ly/VietnamCovid

In Summary

We keep our thumb on pulse of the Asia business market, monitoring daily changes and trends, and have insight on how you can protect and grow your brand in this critical market. We will update this Asia business climate blog about every other week.

Feel free to reach out to Bill Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc., (EGS) to ask questions or share best practices at +1 949 375 1896 or bedwards@edwardsglobal.com.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change”. Darwin


China Blog Update – 4/13/20

(This is an update of our March 9, 2020 China Blog)

Bill Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS), has been doing business in China for 37 years, starting with living in China from late 1982 through mid 1985. He has been the Master Franchisee for a U.S. franchise in China. EGS opened an office in Beijing in 2014 and we are currently helping four U.S. brands enter the Mainland China market. Our U.S. Clients are all consumer-faced franchise brands.

Needless to say, things right now are different than ever before. The following are extracts from a variety of information sources and our network inside China on consumer-focused issues post the Wuhan Event.  This is bipartisan and does not reflect a point of view.

Employment

“The official urban unemployment rate of 6.2 per cent in February understates the true level of joblessness and doesn’t include China’s 280m migrant worker population, many of whom haven’t returned to work yet. Close to 500,000 small and medium-sized businesses, the heart of the economy, which were sidelined politically before the crisis, are reported to have failed in the first quarter alone., Financial Times, April 10, 2020

Consumers Trends

Burger King, Dairy Queen, KFC, McDonalds and Starbucks closed over 7,500 restaurants in China by the end of February. Today, over 90% of these restaurants are back open.

Our company’s Managing Director for Greater China based in China says, “the businesses of China have recovered about 60-90% depending on the region. We are still required to wear face masks everywhere and practice social distancing (which is not common in a densely-populated country). Domestic travel is still difficult because place to place travelers have to be quarantined back and forth. Retail, fitness and F&B businesses will need 3-6 months to return to normal levels as people still prefer to eat at home and order in as they did for more than 40 days in February and March. Schools and universities will not start up again until September for the new school year.

“Shopping malls and stores in China have quickly reopened as the government promotes a return to business as usual, only to see consumers stay home and keep their purse strings tight or shop online. Customer traffic is ‘less than half of usual levels’ said a worker at a Walmart store in a Shanghai suburb late last month. The government has in recent weeks highlighted a brisk recovery in business activity, touting efforts to contain the new coronavirus. Shopping centres and restaurants that had closed to stem the outbreak’s spread have rushed to reopen. About 80 per cent of restaurants and more than 90 per cent of commercial facilities have resumed business across China, according to the Ministry of Commerce. But consumers, increasingly wary of government pronouncements and state media, do not feel safe going about their business as usual” Extracts from an article by the Financial Times on April 11, 2020

Life does go on. Yum China Holdings, Inc.‘s newly-acquired controlling interest in the casual-dining brand Huang Ji Huang group, a simmer pot concept, and emerging fast-food restaurant San Fen Bao, to its portfolio. Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Beijing, Huang Ji Huang has over 640 restaurants in China and internationally. Following the acquisition, Yum China will establish a ‘Chinese dining business unit’ comprising three core Chinese dining brands: Little Sheep, East Dawning, and Huang Ji Huang. “Global Franchise’, April 8, 2020

Good news for Chinese small businesses. “Insurance companies in China are taking on an unusual mission: They are promising to cover business losses from the coronavirus pandemic, as hundreds of millions of people return to work, and the country tries to rev up its economic engine. Since February, dozens of Chinese property-and-casualty insurers have rolled out new policies or expanded existing ones to provide compensation when workers contract Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus. The insurance payouts would help companies that are forced to close temporarily if staffers fall sick, other employees have to be quarantined and business activities are disrupted. Some of the policies are provided free-of-charge by insurers, while others have low premiums that are subsidized by local governments. Many sellers of coronavirus-related coverage are state-owned insurers, which can likely fall back on state support in the event of major losses.” Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2020

Most Chinese factories are now back to operating at around 80% of capacity. Some are pushing 100%. Foxconn, the Taiwanese contract manufacturer which assembles the majority of Apple’s iPhones in China, says that with the help of tests for the virus and chest x-rays it has been able to get all its operations on the mainland back up and running with no risk to the health of its workers. In a call to investors on April 1st it reported that it was on target to provide Apple with all the 5g iPhones it needs for the launch of the device this autumn. Many of the measures that made China’s great reopening possible were boring-but-important changes to existing protocols; more hygiene measures, more separation between workers, and screening (companies in China and elsewhere are trying to get their hands on a lot of tests for sars-cov-2 infection). The Economist, April 8, 2020

“Chinese consumers are shopping again, in a timely boost for the beleaguered economy, as they regain some semblance of normal life after unprecedented lockdowns aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic. Demand for travel, cosmetics, outdoor gear and food has surged in recent weeks as policy-driven stimulus kicked in, workers returned to offices and factories and the government started easing restrictions on people’s movement. Transport bookings rose more than 50 per cent, while hotel reservations increased by 60 per cent during the three-day tomb-sweeping Ching Ming Festival through April 6, according to Trip.com Group. Online retail orders have likewise boomed, according to e-commerce site Pinduoduo. South China Morning Post, April 8, 2020

Savills China Retail believes that China’s retail sector will fully recover by the second half of the year, once as the country has recouped from the COVID-19 pandemic, reported Retail News Asia. Entertainment centres, shopping malls, restaurants, and gyms that were affected by the government-mandated lockdown in late January are predicted to flourish post-coronavirus, as consumers cautiously retreat back to their old shopping habits. At present, shopping malls in Shanghai have 30 percent fewer shoppers compared to before the outbreak. However, starting today, malls will return to their regular operating hours, from 10 AM to 10 PM, and most retail tenants will reopen to the public.  Since the reopening, some sources have already revealed long queues outside fashion stores in IAPM mall, as well as difficulty in finding parking slots and seats at coffee shops.  Even though some restaurants have permanently closed due to the unaffordability of labour and rent costs during the outbreak, those who did survive were allowed to reopen as soon as they have reapplied.: Source: Property Guru Report, early April.

Car Sales

(Car) “quarterly sales declined 42% on year to 3.7 million vehicles, the government-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Friday. While demand started to return in March as China’s epidemic situation stabilized, sales for that month were still down 43% on year at 1.4 million vehicles. Sales had plunged 79% in February.

The rebound is already struggling to sustain its momentum. The increase in visits to dealerships trailed off in April, said Lin Huaibin, an analyst at IHS Markit, as Chinese consumers—their confidence still fragile—watched the virus ravaging the U.S. and Europe and realized the scale of the crisis facing the global economy. This fresh “demand shock” would cause auto sales to fall by about 14% this month from the same period a year earlier, Mr. Lin said, compared with a very weak April 2019, when sales fell 15% on year.

Government and Landlord Support

Just in from Deloitte:  The Chinese central government has unveiled a raft of measures to support the market amid the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak. The support plan for SME’s mainly includes:

  1. Easing tax burden: on individuals and corporations
  2. Financial support: increase credit supply, reduce difficulty and cost of loan applications
  3. Stability of employment: delay collection of social insurance premium.

Also, property developers/landlords, including Wanda Group, China Resources, Poly Group, Country Garden, etc. have announced waiving rent for tenants for 1-2 month durations.

Travel

 “United UAL Airlines could announce it will soon resume passenger flights to China, which is rebounding after strong measures brought the coronavirus outbreak under control. United would likely fly between San Francisco and Shanghai Pudong. Demand is increasing for United as business resumes in China and its U.S. corporate customers re-establish supply chains.” Forbes, April 10, 2020

But….” Hotel stay in Beijing only with negative corona test from April 12. In order to stay in a hotel in Beijing from April 12, guests will have to provide a negative result of a nucleic acid test that was taken within the last 7 days as well as national or Beijing health codes that show no abnormal status. China Legal Services, April 10, 2020

 In Summary

We keep our thumb on pulse of the Chinese business market, monitoring daily changes and trends, and have insight on how you can protect and grow your brand in this critical market. We will update this China blog about every other week.

Feel free to reach out to Bill Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc., (EGS) to ask questions or share best practices at +1 949 375 1896 or bedwards@edwardsglobal.com.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change”. Darwin


Our World’s Update – Monday, March 30th, 2020

We are monitoring 22 countries, 25 daily international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Based on decades of international business experience, we believe it is critical to remember two famous British sayings:

“Keep Calm and Carry On”

“Keep Calm and Breathe Deeply”

A month ago, I gave a talk to a local California business group on what life was like in a locked down China. I sited the quarantine at home for over 40 days of our Beijing based managing director and his family. His 8-year-old daughter was kept inside for these 40+ days and was going to her international school online.

This event has changed how Chinese view working from home, as they did not see this as viable before. The result of millions going to offices, is a huge number of high-rise office buildings in big cities. However, now remote work is looking good. My daughter in Cincinnati has been trying to get her company to let her work from home for years. As of today, she has been told it is mandatory to work from home through April.

By the way, our Beijing managing director’s daughter will be back at school with her friends in April. Meanwhile, my 9-year-old granddaughter in Cincinnati is just beginning her own online education from her home.

Never have we seen a disruption like the one caused by Coronavirus in our history. As of this today, “OpenTable bookings at restaurants worldwide are down by over 80% from a month ago. Retail footfall is down 50-80%, depending on the country”, Financial Times, March 22, 2020. Other franchises where customers gather like gyms are 60-100% shut down. Burger King, Dairy Queen, KFC, McDonalds and Starbucks closed over 7,500 restaurants in China last month. Today. 90% of these restaurants are back open.

Our U.S. restaurant clients have closed almost all their units worldwide – expect for China and Korea soon as well. Our clients are almost all going to remote working, clearing out their large offices around the U.S. They have also put into place a no ‘over water’ travel policy for the next three months. We are lucky that our company has been virtual for years. Not just the six of us in the U.S. working remotely, but also the 30+ members of our team on the ground around the world.

One of the groups we are working with to become the Italy licensee for one of our U.S. restaurant brand clients, owns and operates almost 100 restaurants in Northern Italy. They are 100% shutdown with hundreds of employees impacted.

As a Diamond Medallion frequent flyer with 2.5 million miles on Delta, it was interesting to read that Delta Air Lines will emerge as a “smaller” carrier, following the Coronavirus crisis, warns chief financial officer Paul Jacobson, as the airline prepares to wind down the majority of its schedule by April. “We’re going to be smaller coming out of this,” he told employees during an internal webinar last week.

Rod Young, global chairman of Cartridge World and chairman of Sydney-based DC Strategy Group, said “the wild card in looking forward for the Asia Pacific region is the Coronavirus pandemic and this is written in the expectation that the response by China and the rest of the world will see the community and the economy recover some normality after a significant impact on global growth and consumer habits.”

Our company’s associate for Southeast Asia, Sean Ngo, CEO and co-founder of VF Franchise Consulting, Ho Chi Minh City, says “people in Asia took the Coronavirus issue much more seriously earlier than in the West, because of their SARs experience in 2003 and the region is expected to gradually recover in the next – three to six months. Countries in Southeast Asia closed all international flights, while only allowing for domestic travel. The main concern in countries like Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines is about the virus sneaking back into these countries from international visitors.”

An AmCham China webinar from Beijing late last week had the top China-based executives of four international companies explaining how they handled the coronavirus shutdown starting in late February. They said their order of priorities were: (1) their people; (2) their internal business; (3) their suppliers; and (4) their relationships with government regulators. Wisdom for us all in these times.

This immense disruption has slowed down new business development around the world. But it is also causing companies to evaluate their businesses, in order to fine tune operations and systems and better prepare for a brighter and stronger future.

Contact me directly at bedwards@edwardsglobal.com to learn how to protect and grow your brand in the current business climate.


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