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Digital development predicts enterprise resilience to epidemic, survey says

By Wang Junwei | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-07-03 17:47
An employee of an optoelectronic technology company resumes work in Nanchang, East China's Jiangxi province, on Feb 24, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Enterprises less affected by the COVID-19 epidemic tend to be those with high digital maturity and early starts in digital intelligence transformation, according to a recent survey jointly launched by the China Association for Small & Medium Commercial Enterprises and the Alibaba Cloud Research Center.

Regardless of industry type or enterprise scale, 45 percent of surveyed companies with a high digital intelligence maturity were unaffected or influenced positively in terms of revenue during the epidemic. By contrast, the figure of enterprises underperforming in digital maturity stands at 22 percent. Some 60 percent of enterprises with high digital intelligence maturity believe they can quickly resume normal business operations within a short period of time (less than 3 months), while the proportion is 48 percent for those with lower digital footprints.

In general, SMEs have a lower digital intelligence level than the average, and they have a strong will for relevant transformation. Over 57 percent of surveyed senior management representatives of SMEs believe the epidemic will significantly accelerate the speed and process of internal digital intelligence transformation of their enterprises.

For micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, they need more help in digital transformation including financing support, improving digital operation capabilities like online channel building and products deployment, as well as a sound online business environment, according to Su Chen, general manager of Alibaba Cloud Intelligent Research Center.

The survey also showed key development directions which retail SMEs are concerned about, including how to rely on the new generation of digital technology to accurately allocate marketing resources, develop and upgrade new brand positioning as well as create new scenes of smart retail.

In addition, more than 70 percent of SMEs in the survey reported varying degrees of revenue decline due to the disease. Among those with an over 30 percent drop, more than 80 percent are micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Service industries, such as home furnishings, catering, fast-moving consumer goods, department stores, clothing and hotel accommodation, are bearing a greater brunt than other industries.

"The online consumer products market has seen a 'V-shape' rebound after bottoming out in February. For example, apparel, FMCG, home furnishing and other categories have experienced a relatively strong recovery, and some categories have recovered to their normal level," said Zhang Liang, data scientist at Alibaba Cloud Intelligent Research Center.

To help more SMEs get through the epidemic, the China Association for Small & Medium Commercial Enterprises has taken a series of measures, such as coordinating epidemic prevention supplies for enterprises, building diversified sales channels and providing professional consulting services, Xu Xiang, assistant to the president of the association, told China Daily website.

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