China reported its first case of COVID-19 in December 2019. The coronavirus outbreak tested the resilience of the Chinese people and economy. More than 3,000 families have lost loved ones. Large corporations and small-medium enterprises, alike, have been greatly impacted by a drop in demand, supply shortages and manufacturing delays.

But China is now seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. In a matter of just three months, the country went from massive outbreak to containment and, most recently, to economic recovery. The speed with which the country moved through the phases of the crisis – from first case identified to outbreak to containment to resumption of “normal” operations—is unprecedented.

The speed with which China has mitigated the impact of COVID-19—from the identification of the first case, to outbreak, to containment, to the resumption of “normal” way of life—is unprecedented. Digital business models and new technologies have played and continue to play an important role in the country’s success.

A call to (digital) arms

Undoubtedly, the stringent policies and regulations issued by China’s central government played a central role in stabilizing the number of COVID-19 cases. In addition, digital business models and technologies have played an important role in lessening the spread and mitigating the social and business impact of the pandemic.

As other countries enter the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, China’s experience offers valuable insights that can potentially help governments and companies accelerate their successful response to the pandemic.

Here are four critical ways China is using digital and technology to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19:

1. Contain the spread

  • Track and identify high-risk cases
  • Contain movement and enforce quarantine
  • Minimize human-to-human contact

2. Keep people informed

  • Aggregate and share real-time information
  • Alert people to risks via mobile channels

3. Ensure quality of life

  • Use online-to-offline services to meet daily needs
  • Elevate virtual experiences

4. Re-ignite productivity

  • Keep consumers engaged, online
  • Maintain manufacturing capacity, flexibly
  • Resume work and collaboration, remotely

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Coronavirus & China: Lessons learned

China offers a few examples of how digital and technology can be deployed to help manage and recover from COVID-19. For business and government leaders determining how to rise to the challenges posed by the global pandemic, China’s experience can offer valuable insights.

As governments and businesses develop the digitally enabled responses to the challenges, leaders should ask themselves three key questions:

1. Why are we taking these actions?

Take action to not only address immediate needs but also lay the foundation for what can be done next.

2. What value are we delivering?

Don’t apply technology for the sake of applying technology. Apply technology for the sake of society - customers, employees and businesses you are trying to protect and empower.

3. How can we get solutions delivered?

We’re in this together. No single organization can beat COVID-19 by itself. Game-changing solutions require unified efforts.

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