Last week we saw a resumption of economic activities in China, and hoped our speakers’ business would be up to steam before the summer, including a few months for event organizers to get their act together. But recent developments show that the coronavirus crisis might only be starting in the rest of the world, as European countries and the US have started to lockdown their economic activities to stop the spread of the virus. Together with gloomy assessments of the lackluster way those countries deal with the crisis, our first analysis might have been too optimistic.
China and South Korea might be starting to resume their economies, the rest of the world is getting further into lock-down mode. After Italy, the rest of Europe and the United States are only at the beginning of the corona virus pandemic. And for sure nobody in those countries is in de mood to prepare for a life after the current crisis.
At the China Speakers Bureau, we do start to look ahead, also as more events are cancelled and international flights still seem in a unstoppable free fall. But one thing is sure: even when timing is unclear, this crisis will be disappearing in the months to come, even when experts already predict a second wave of patients after the summer. In our line of business the average lead time between inquiries for speaker’ assignments and execution is on average three months, and we do not want to start for resumption of our business until the pandemic has officially stopped.
The China government is trying to push positive news in the way it handles the coronavirus crisis, but the economic fallout is only shaping up as the panic moves to other parts of the world. Airlines, shipping lines and other logistics and hospitality providers are maintaining the reduction on services, as demand is not yet picking up. Some logistic providers contemplate resuming services only in June, although they do not wish to confirm that less-favorable scenario.
Europe has become the latest victim of the coronavirus panic, and the number of patients rises, while numbers in the Americas are still low, but expected to go up too.
One of the major global initiatives by China was the massive Belt and Road Initiative, reviving the old silk roads. In May 2017 a major international conference showed what our experts were already expecting: now all roads lead to China. Even countries who suffered from difficult relations with China, including both Koreas, appeared in Beijing.Larger than the former Marshall Plan after the Second World War, OBOR is going to redefine global trade.
The EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager banned the merger of European rail giants. They presented the merger as the way to stop competition from China. China expert Harry Broadman commends Vestager for her much debated ban as, Broadman argues, size is not the way to fight Chinese companies. Innovation is, he writes in Gulf News.
South-Korea was the latest country to suffer from economic boycott measures from China after it deployed THAAD missiles on its soil. Tourism backed out and Korean factories suffered surprise inspections. A standard procedure, says business analyst Shaun Rein to CBS. Norway, France, Japan, Taiwan and other suffered from similar boycotts.
South-Korea is not the first country to see China can fight an argument without sending the army in: Japan and France are just a few examples where tinkering with economic power was more effective, for example by redirecting its tourists. It is easier to bully South Korea than Japan,” says business analyst Shaun Rein in the South China Morning Post.
The world looked up surprised when the Tiens Group took 6,500 of its employees to Paris and the Cote-d´Azur, but for China rich-list founder Rupert Hoogewerf says in IBT that this move fits into a tradition. More surprising is that an international company like Tiens has stayed so long under the Western radar.