Caixin
Mar 31, 2020 08:51 PM
ECONOMY

Industry Is Up and Running in Chinese Province Hit Hardest by Coronavirus

By March 24, work had resumed at a Dongfeng Motor assembly plant in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei province. Photo: IC Photo
By March 24, work had resumed at a Dongfeng Motor assembly plant in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei province. Photo: IC Photo
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The number of Chinese companies getting back to work continues to rise, but obstacles to restarting operations still remain, industry ministry officials said, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact global trade.

Over 95% of industrial companies in Hubei province with an annual major business revenue of at least 20 million yuan ($2.8 million) have resumed work, Xin Guobin, a deputy minister at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at a briefing (link in Chinese) on Monday. On average, 70% of these companies’ staff have returned to work.

Liang Zhifeng, another official from the ministry, said that as of Sunday, 76.8% of small and midsize companies across China had resumed work.

However, Xin said that besides persistent logistical problems posed by travel restrictions, industrial chains had been disrupted due to some companies resuming work later than others.

As the pandemic has grown overseas, the international flow of people, goods and capital has been made more difficult, and global industrial and supply chains have become more volatile, said Xin, adding that “systemic risks are on the rise, which need to be carefully studied and properly dealt with.”

Some companies have already seen overseas orders cancelled. Xin said that the import and export environment may worsen, and it is necessary to enhance the stability of industries such as automobiles and electronics.

The casualties of the pandemic have been on the rise. The total number of confirmed infections has reached over 800,000, including 38,714 deaths, as of Tuesday afternoon, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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For those in industries such as textiles, clothing, light industrial products, toys and furniture, the official said that the ministry will help boost consumption through industry associations and e-commerce platforms.

“On the one hand, we should boost demand, and on the other hand, we should increase policy support,” said Xin.

Contact reporter Timmy Shen (hongmingshen@caixin.com, Twitter: @timmyhmshen) and editor Joshua Dummer (joshuadummer@caixin.com)

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