Economic recovery amid pandemic depends on global unity, responsible gov'ts: expert

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 27 2020 06:23 PM | Updated as of May 28 2020 09:04 PM

Economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic will depend on countries working together, and responsible governments, an expert said.

MANILA - Economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic will depend on countries working together, and responsible governments, a Hong Kong-based expert said Wednesday.

Geng Xiao, president of the Hong Kong Institution for International Finance, said that economic recovery does not depend on a country’s political system, but on how its government responds to save lives and ensure citizens’ health and livelihood, especially since there is the danger of a “second and third wave" of the fast-spreading COVID-19 "coming in the future.”

“The future of economic recovery really depends on how the whole world can work together really in containing this new novel coronavirus,” Xiao said at a China Daily Asia Leadership Roundtable.

Xiao said the future is great even for countries with only basic measures against COVID-19, such as testing, contact tracing, isolation, hospitalizing those with serious conditions, and mandatory wearing of face masks.

“The future actually looks great for those countries who have successfully contained the pandemic even though they are using very low tech technology: basically testing, contact tracing, quarantining and then hospitalizing people with serious problems,” he said.

On the business front, meanwhile, China-based QFPay Founder and CEO Tim Lee projects that online businesses and cashless payment systems will become the norm after COVID-19.

Lee said his company that provides e-payment solution continues to innovate.

“Online business, online channel… will become the norm. So no matter you are offline business or you’re already online, there will be more and more money, and more or more resources will be poured over the online channel. And also, there will be a faster mobile payment… because right now, having cash may be a carrier of COVID-19. So we’re talking about a total cashless payment,” Lee said.

Dennis Ng, founder and CEO of Philippine-based Mober Technology, shared how his company came up with a sustainable plan of adapting to the surge of online sellers and motorcycle delivery during the lockdown by partnering with a big mall operator in the Philippines to set up fulfillment and delivery services.

“After we open the market or the city after the lockdown, I think social distancing will deter… There will be long queue going to the supermarket, long queue going to the shopping mall. And I think, having us as their logistic partner and giving all the buyers an easy way to book delivery is a better opportunity for us rather than reacting to be an on-demand delivery platform,” Ng said. 

Edith Yeung, general partner at Race Capital, described the COVID-19 event as a “black swan” of the decade, saying companies have to think hard, cut costs and reduce expenses at least for the next 12-24 months to be able to address the pandemic’s economic impact. She told entrepreneurs to “hang in there.”
“Black swan” is a metaphor used to describe rare and consequential events.

“As Dawin would say, it’s not gonna be the strongest, (most) intelligent who’s gonna survive. It’s gonna be the one who’s most adaptable,” Yeung said.