The Covid-19 pandemic with its humungous effects has brought in a fresh wave of challenging situation for the world. The world stands at a halt today due to incessant lockdowns and consequent shut down of trade and economy.

In the wake of the global epidemic when the world is still struggling to recover, the mammoth country China, from where the virus supposedly originated has now finally opened its economy. China has been in constant limelight and a major topic of discussion all throughout this pandemic for various reasons.

The Country has not remain untouched by the effects of the pandemic. In an attempt to balance out its strengths and weaknesses to overcome the deadly virus, it has also unlocked a fresh arena of opportunities and threats for itself.

Strengths

Owing to its centralized government, China has been able to smoothly implement all its plans and mechanism devised for corona virus.  In the wake of health emergency of such magnitude, the country came up with robust mechanism for all departments for effective management and quick and joint prevention of the disease. Various emergency response teams were set up to provide immediate relief to all the citizens struck by the pandemic. All necessary efforts were made to bring the situation under control and to effectively meet the needs of the people. Department of transport was given a list of comprehensive strategies on frequent sanitization of all public transport, traffic control measures in key places such as stations, airports, and to ensure that necessary measures, such as ventilation, disinfection, and temperature monitoring, are observed.

The chinese national government disbursed 4.4 billion yuan to various agencies performing prevention and control related work. Alongside 500 million yuan were disbursed to insurance agencies to cover all the expenses of combating the disease faced by the ordinary working class people.

On the economic front, the  department of trade was given strict directions for keeping a check on all areas of trade such as market places, bazaars, supermarts that sell, all or any kind of animal meat.

The Government made a prudent use of various  media platforms  for spreading information regarding the rules and regulation of the disease, the do’s and don’ts; while also providing free working cable channels to engage the masses.

Weakness

While the strengths did help the country in the middle and later stages of containing the disease but a lot of damage had been done in the initial stages due to the erroneous perception of the Government. The delay in understanding of the potential damage that could be caused by  the virus  and non-communication of the same on a timely basis  caused many lives not just in the country but in the entire world.

With a large population base of 1.395 billion people  which includes temporary residents, tourists, floating population of 241 million people, large scale crowd movement and their management turned out to be difficult while managing prevention and control of a disease.

There was a constant tussle between supply and demand of protective medical gear and equipment. The average demand of 100000 masks, gloves and protective clothing in Hubei and Wuhan city was not met. With a few licensed manufacturing companies being able to match up the level of demand, the imbalance still persisted. The cost of managing the disease, aiding and funding for setting up of more and more hospital beds and equipment was paid for by the government.

Due to prolonged lockdown, all forms of trade including e-commerce were shut down causing a gap in the revenue generation of the country, forcing the government to use their national reserves. Majority services were paid for by the government creating a dent in the reserves. Various reliefs were provided to the working class people through subsidies and free meals and shelters where they could stay in quarantine safely. Rebate to business owners was provided, especially to small scale business owners so that the pandemic does not affect their livelihood.

Meanwhile the service industry also took a major hit. Hundreds of people lost their jobs and were forced to live on subsidy provided by the government. There was no movement of the crop ready to be out in the market and the cost paid by the government to these farmers was far less than what they would have got in the free market.

Flustered population faced with a grave disease can sometimes act like a mob and defy government and its attempts to control the circumstances and prevent further contamination. Spreading of rumours and false information can cause more harm than correct information, peace.

While managing the prevention of the pandemic the government and the officials also had to manage ways to combat spreading of false information.

Opportunities

Where the rest of the world is still trying to recover from the effects of pandemic, the resumption of trade and  commerce in China  has enlightened the hope that the market will soon recover the cost that was spent during combating the pandemic. With the population of china requiring new opportunities to grow on an individual basis and as a community, this opportunity can be used by the Government  to improve public health systems and aim for educating the people of serious threats, an emergency like this can pose and how to combat it with quick and efficient response.

By observing various safety measures during reopening of the chinese economy will boost confidence of the people. Consumer demands will gradually increase and that will lead to a growing economy. With the rest of the world still under lockdown, China is on its way to become the new trade giant. This is an opportunity to  promote chinese industries to recover the cost bore by them, while also maintaining a balance of foreign investments and a foreign market.

With a large part of the population left unemployed due to lay-offs, the Chinese Government has a large manpower at its disposal to direct the time and resources to major industries and exploring new venues. This will not only provide employment to people but will also boost the economy. Thus, by formulating detailed national economic plans for each sector affected by the pandemic supervising their implementation, China can turn this adversity into an opportunity for itself.

Threats

Due to origination of the deadly virus from Wuhan and the delayed communication of the same, the trust factor between China and rest of the nations  seem to have weakened. This can pose a serious threat to the trade relations that China has with other countries of the world.

The reliability of China as a service provider and manufacturer can take a serious step back while the world takes caution due to the pandemic. As only few countries open their markets, they have started looking for alternate investment options from their Chinese counterparts. It can be a while when the globe starts taking on active trade. The countries are already looking for ways to attract foreign companies and investors can take advantage of this unique circumstance, providing low cost alternative investment solutions. International diplomatic relations have also witnessed a strain among the countries. Dwindling image of china in the current global scenario can seriously affect its economic aspirations.

To sum it up, China may have been able to manage the pandemic well for its citizens, yet it has not remain untouched and unaffected. It’s still a long way ahead for the country to gain its importance and position back in the World.

Akshay Aggarwal

Management Trainee