How China’s leading tech companies are helping contain the coronavirus outbreak
China has done a lot to fight the Wuhan coronavirus.
The Chinese government has quarantined tens of millions of people, extended the Lunar holiday, and spent enormous resources to contain the spread.
China’s government isn’t alone in fighting the coronavirus.
China’s big tech companies Tencent Holdings Ltd (SEHK: 700), Meituan Dianping (SEHK: 3690), and Baidu Inc (NASDAQ: BIDU) have also joined in the fight. Each have been affected by the coronavirus and are now helping defeat it. Here’s how.
The Wuhan coronavirus has hurt some parts of Tencent’s business and benefited others.
If Chinese consumers stay at home, Tencent’s mobile payment business could suffer due to fewer people making transactions through its payment platform, Wechat pay.
On the other hand, people staying at home could spend more time playing online video games Tencent owns. It’s also likely many will spend more time on Tencent’s social media application, WeChat.
To combat the outbreak, Tencent has committed 300 million yuan in aid. Half of that sum has been allocated to the purchase of materials crucial to stopping the virus, including masks.
Beyond that, Tencent’s cloud division has offered cloud computing solutions for free to some research teams fighting the virus. And these commitments are only the beginning. The company has said it plans to offer more aid in the future.
The Wuhan coronavirus could potentially hurt Meituan Dianping in the short term.
Due to apprehension over the outbreak, many Meituan Dianping customers are avoiding ordering their usual food deliveries. To solve this problem, Meituan Dianping has introduced new ‘contactless delivery,’ which allows consumers to have food delivered without directly interacting with a delivery person.
This new feature could alleviate consumer anxiety. However, it is still new. It will likely take time for consumers to get used to the concept.
In the long term, however, Meituan Dianping could benefit. Due to the outbreak, many Chinese consumers could turn to Meituan Dianping’s delivery services for the first time.
Meituan Dianping is helping fight the outbreak by donating RMB 300 million in aid, with RMB 200 dedicated to medical staff in hard-hit areas. The other 100 million will be aimed at customers.
Internet giant Baidu does not have the same physical presence as retailers or food delivery companies, but the tech giant has still been impacted by the coronavirus.
Due to the outbreak, Baidu postponed its fourth quarter earnings release. The company also asked its employees to work from home as a precautionary measure.
To combat the outbreak, Baidu has established an RMB 300 million fund to assist with cure research. The company has also provided many scientific research institutions with free access to its AI algorithm, LinearFold. This kind of technology could help scientists find a cure faster.
China’s leading tech companies have been impacted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in different ways. That said, it is unlikely the outbreak will impact these companies in the long term.
Beyond that, these tech titans are helping combat the outbreak through cutting-edge technology and hearty donations.