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So what’s life like offline?
Though the staggered removal of lockdowns was implemented months later in May, the revenge consumption prompted by pent-up demands didn’t come as expected – even as of now – instead, people are saving hard for the uncertain future as the pandemic is growing into an international issue.
Several cities in eastern China including Nanjing, Qingdao and Ningbo started giving away e-vouchers through mobile payment platforms to ‘raise residents’ purchasing power’. The RMB 50 million worth of municipal vouchers issued by the Nanjing government can be redeemed for various commodities, including food and beverages, sports facilities, books, and others. The incentives are distributed through a lottery drawing system, which requires residents to register and apply for participation through the executive app developed by the authorities. Domestic spending was drastically reduced by the Covid-19 outbreak, which has resulted in a decline in retail sales in China by 20.5% year on year in January and February.
Besides, the authorities are starting a staggered resumption of schools and universities from April, led by Jiangsu province announcing the dates for kindergarten of Apr. 7th and high school, Apr, 13th. Meanwhile, the government has been working closely with private tech enterprises such as Tencent and Alibaba to develop and promote self-check health QR code systems in a bid to curb further spread of the virus. Fuxuema, supported by Tencent’s mini programming technology, will play an important role in reporting students’ temperature and other health information daily, 14 days before and after the start of school, which will identify any possible infected students.
What are tech giants are doing?
Jack Ma received rounds of worldwide positive publicity as he and the charity foundation under his charge are donating testing kits, surgical masks and medical use protective suits to countries that are afflicted by the outbreak of coronavirus. Besides, he donated RMB 1 billion worth of medical supplies to central Hubei province where epidemic cases were first found, and RMB 100 million to the research and development of Covid-19 vaccines. His first-aid distribution tweet which manifested his benevolence has drawn nearly 430,000 likes. Other entrepreneurs, such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates who is also a member of the world wealth club, has pledged to donate $100 million for the global fight against the current novel coronavirus.
A free international collaboration platform which facilitates “medical professionals to share information and advice on prevention and treatment of the Covid-19 outbreak” debuted on Alibaba’s productivity app Dingtalk. The launch responds to calls by authorities to be supportive dealing with the growing worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Besides, a handbook outlining and explaining the best practices learned from China’s experiences is also available now in several languages due to the industrious work by Alibaba. Jack Ma is soliciting the ‘spread and share’ of the handbook on his tweet, wishing more reads can save more lives.
Apps in China like Alipay, WeChat and Douyin have been playing an important role in battling the COVID-19 epidemic, with a great range from social impact driving, education technical support to infotainment and payment options. However, facing the rampant threat of the virus on a global scale, such facilitation of technology is transcending boundaries and spreading across the world. Take a look at COVID-19 Global Hackathon. The initiative starting March 26, 2020, invites developers worldwide to “build software solutions that drive social impact, with the aim of tackling some of the challenges related to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic”.