Businesses across China have started to reopen and have ramped up production while taking measures to prevent infections in the workplace, answering the country’s call to battle the novel coronavirus outbreak and support the country’s economy.
More than 90 percent of industrial companies with an annual revenue exceeding 20 million yuan ($2.86 million) in 2019 in several major provinces have resumed production as of Friday, Wang Jiangping, vice-minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at a news conference on Friday.
Shandong, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces reported higher work resumption rates of more than 95 percent, Wang said. Some 52 percent of small and medium-sized companies have also resumed operations, he added.
Gansu-based Jinchuan Group Co Ltd, a mining company which specialized in non-ferrous output, has stepped up efforts in expanding its production. The company reported higher nickel, copper, cobalt and other metals in the first two months of the year.
Jinchuan’s nickel production in January and February increased 4,000 metric tons compared to the level seen in the previous year. Copper production in the same period rose by 4,800 tons and cobalt output went up by 332.3 tons.
Jinchuan said the whole-year goal of the company is to hit 250 billion yuan in revenue. It is targeting production of over 2 million tons of nonferrous metals and new materials, along with churning out more than 5.1 million tons of chemical products.
Jinchuan has taken measures to prevent COVID-19 infections. They include asking employees to file daily reports on their health status, use online platforms for meetings and ensure medical resources to prevent infection from the disease.
The company also increased the production of chloric sanitizers to help in the battle against the epidemic. To date, Jinchuan has donated 634 tons of sodium hypochlorite sanitizers worth 4.9 million yuan to provinces hit by the epidemic.
Jinchuan also donated 10 million yuan to hospitals treating coronavirus patients in Jinchang city. The company donated medical prevention materials valued at more than 4.7 million yuan to the provincial government.
Separately, Fujian province-based NetDragon Websoft Inc resumed operations during the outbreak, using cutting-edge technologies to help control the epidemic.
“AI-adapted corporate management systems are playing an important role in special occasions like where we are at now,” said company CEO Xiong Li.
An online communications platform developed by the company is playing a major role in the company’s management during the outbreak.
By leveraging online communication tools and other cloud office systems, the company asked employees to adopt remote flexible work arrangements since early February. All of the employees are required to report their daily health status online.
For those who need to work in the office, the company deployed a special face-scanning system which is able to recognize faces even when they are covered by masks. The firm recommended employees check their temperatures once every two hours and are required to let their seats spread far apart during meals.
Cong Liang, secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a news conference that although the epidemic has caused difficulties for companies, especially small and medium-sized firms, the situation is under better control thanks to supportive measures by the central authorities and local governments at different levels.
Fujian Huadong Shipyard Co Ltd was one of those companies. Chairman Chen Weiren said the company received help from the local government in Bili township in Fuzhou, especially in the transportation of raw materials.
You Yongwen, Party secretary of the township, said, “We have set up a group to talk to different companies, find out difficulties they have in resuming production and roll out supportive measures to help them restart businesses.”
A total of 72 companies have resumed production in Bili, accounting for 81.8 percent of the total in the village.
Huadong Shipyard saw its production output reach 120 million yuan last month. The firm is repairing a total of 12 ships from overseas.
Chen said the company stepped up efforts to prevent workplace infection. The measures include asking employees to return to work in different batches and requiring those who traveled during the Spring Festival to self-quarantine before returning to the office.
Cong said although the epidemic has caused some impact on China’s economic development, the influence is limited in the short-term and the outbreak will leave the economy unscathed in the long run.