China’ struggle against the coronavirus has been on the front pages worldwide on the past weeks. Western CEO’s of companies with operations in China have been calling for calm and try to convince their audiences all is well for those operations. The question is whether that is more than wishful thinking.

China has been into lunar festival mode over the past weeks and all offices and factories would have been closed anyway. Damage might have been obvious in the consumer industry as even outside Wuhan many inhabitants kept off the streets. But the major question is now, as the lunar festival holidays end, whether China’s massive work force returns to their workplaces.

Half of China has already extended the holidays to February 10, many office workers might work from home, but for many operations this is a matter of time before the damage might become clear. Are my workers returning after Springfestival, is a question many companies have to ask themselves every year, but this year the answer is more unclear than ever. Also, decisions about events taking place, and participants attending those event including speakers, will be taken in the coming weeks.

What does not help is that larger trade partners like the US, Australia, Singapore and others have limited access from people traveling from China. Many larger sport events have already been cancelled, and Chinese sport teams have been put into quarantine when traveling abroad. Fortunately, most European countries do not follow those strict measure sparked off by panic.

The China Speakers Bureau is following the developments continuously and got several signals indicating also our industry is hit severely. While some events have been delayed or relocated, we also see many cancellations. Individual speakers prefer not to visit China, because they might not a able to return to their home countries. If possible we still hope to help you in advising you on how to make your China event possible.

We are in this for the long haul, we fear. Mostly it takes up to six months to organize a decent China event with international speakers and visitors, and – even if the Wuhan virus would disappear miraculously tomorrow – the effects will be felt for months. And at this stage the effects of the virus are still in the early phase of spreading on a global scale.

Do you need our take and what might be possible for your China event? Do not hesitate to get in touch.

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