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On COVID-19

The Coronavirus has certainly brought lots of impacts to businesses and people's lives. As a junior independent thinker, I have been observing the trends and making some judgments/predictions.

1. Observations:  There is a leadership crisis in some countries.

The reactions of the politicians to COVID-19 reflected weak leaderships for some countries. Examples are immature decisions such as “herd immunity" which could harm the general public. This may be deeply linked to the side effects of capitalism and the country's fundamental operational logic. A nation could fail if their leaders are weak, especially during a crisis. The world is getting more competitive and risky, relying purely on individual and business interests may bring some short-term happiness, but will set a bomb for the long term. Government leadership will matter more in the future.

Among the countries, I would say China and Singapore are doing relatively great. Despite some delays and information transparency issue in Wuhan and some parts of Hubei, the central government did make a few very important decisions which are responsive in the long term and sacrifices lots of short-term benefits.

  • Take quick action to lockdown the Wuhan city
  • Take stringent actions nationwide to prevent the spread of the virus 
  • Take national medical efforts to control and cue the cases in Wuhan and Hubei.

Singapore is also doing good, especially on adapting the most reliable technics to contain and slow town COVID-19, including tracing contacts, border controls, and social distancing measures. However, as a freehub, it is very vulnerable to SG if the world is not safe. If one of the countries is doing badly handling the pandemic, then everyone is at a risk.

Unfortunately, not every country is ready. In fact, most countries may still not be ready even in dozens of years. Meritocracy is probably the least-risky choice that could potentially lead the nations to make the right decisions, especially during crises.
It reminds me of a statement of Mr. Lee Hsien Loong. He says Singapore's politics is somewhat similar to ... China. Everyone was shocked by the statement, but I find it very true. Both nations cannot afford the failure of their leadership. It may lead to the complete destruction of the nations.


2. The industries are suffering and they need to think about transformation.

Our company is specialized in the tourism industry digitalization, we find it heavily affected by COVID-19.  Hotels only have a 20% occupancy rate. Attractions and malls are also quite quiet. F&Bs are even worse. Businesses are not ready, and those empowered by digital tools seem to be better prepared, while those who were completedly traditional seems to struggle the most.

Digitalization solutions should be used as fundamental tools for business to 1. open up channels for the businesses to get online orders. 2. to reduce close contacts with the people(staff/customers).

Some immediate solutions businesses should adapt to include 1. an online-store with stock management. 2. an AI chatbot that could reduce human-to-human interactions.

Sales cost on digital solution adoption: There is definitely a heavy sales cost involved for digital solution adoption, e.g., pre-sale, onboarding, training, etc. Each process costs money but digital solutions are supposed to be as cheap as water. How could this possibly work?

1. We will need to have investments that look into long term returns.
2. We could develop business partnerships which could significantly reduce the cost, though the trade-off would be to sacrifice part of the revenue/profit.

We have been working with a business partner which has complementary skillsets and could possibly work in the long term. Investment-wise, it is quite struggling as the timing is not very right for investments. However, it is essential to get it moving on.




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