China as the winner of the CoViD-19 pandemic

But service industries lacking behind factory output

by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS

Dear reader,

Within the last 15 years box-office revenues in China, starting from practically zero, reaching almost the 11 billion USD level of USA in 2019. Thanks to the virus-induced shutdown of cinemas and the box-office success of ‘The Eight Hundred’, which earned more than 50 million USD in the first few days of showing in China last month, in 2020 China will for the first time steal the crown of the biggest movie theater market in the world, with about 70% box-office revenues from films Made in China.

That is of course not the only field in which China is winning: The OECD forecast just published names China as the only G20 country with a positive Year-on-Year GDP growth of 1.8%, all others reported negative growth rates. Six country are expected to have double-digit negative GDP growth rate, including UK, Italy and India. The average forecast for all G20 countries is -4.1%. For the third quarter of 2020, China’s GDP is supposed to grow by 5%, almost back to the official level of 6% in 2019.

Domestic tourism in China saw a bumper summer season, with hotel occupancy rates and number of flights back to 2019 levels. Especially the Southwest of China, the most “exotic” destination to find within China with minority inhabitants and lots of nature left untouched, saw record visitor numbers, as Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, pointed out in our online panel discussion last week (In the last edition of COTRI Weekly the link to the video of the panel got lost, sorry, here it is: https://lnkd.in/g2K_48A)

On a global scale, factory output has made up nearly all the ground it lost during the lockdowns. Services activity is still a lot below its pre-pandemic level, largely because services are vulnerable to people avoiding crowds and restrictions based on social distancing. The number of diners in restaurants remains 30-40% lower than normal worldwide. The number of scheduled flights outside of China is about half what it was at the beginning of 2020.

Still, the doors of international travel are slowly opening again. The number of flights between China and other countries continues to increase, almost daily the lifting of yet another travel restrictions especially in Asia is reported, even though many of these apply to business travellers and foreign residents. The USA will stop next month to require a quarantine after entering the USA from China. Germany will start again from October to decide travel restrictions country by country instead of a blanket ban, which hopefully will put China on the green list.

There are currently 7.5 million known CoViD-19 contagious persons, but only 0.8% of them are seriously or critically ill, down from around 5% in March, when only persons with symptoms were tested. In the last five week, the number of daily deaths actually fell by 12%, even though the media are concentrating on the number of daily discovered infections, which rose by 10% globally during the same period. In China meanwhile, in the last five weeks the number of new cases per day stayed below 50 all the time, most of them imported, and a single death was recorded as caused by CoViD-19 on average.

Time to prepare for the new Chinese visitors, to achieve an ADVANTAGE: TOURISM. Watch this space to find out more about this initiative to help destinations and companies to recover in a new and better way the Chinese outbound market in the coming weeks!

As always, best wishes for the coming week from Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the COTRI Weekly team!