Chinese manufacturing sector faces critical resumption decision amid epidemic

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/6 23:37:30

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 Despite the continued outbreak of the novel coronavirus, China's economic activities are unlikely to stagnate indefinitely as businesses in most regions of the country are scheduled to resume work next week.

Having observed China's unusually long Spring Festival holidays, some in the West are eager to declare the temporary shutdown of Chinese factories will lead to a "de-Sinicization" of the global industrial chain. But that has done little to impact those who are busy preparing for the restoration of operations in the country's manufacturing industry. 

Admittedly, the epidemic does pose an unprecedented dilemma for China's manufacturing sector due to its need for on-site work. The decision to resume work under the current circumstances is a difficult one and must be made based on local conditions and the conditions of individual companies. Yet companies are unable to wait until the epidemic is declared fully under control, so comprehensive preparations to prevent further spread of the virus must be made. Businesses as well as local authorities and health agencies should work together to pull through this difficult time.

Next week will be a pivotal test of Chinese manufacturing's resilience, and it will also be a crucial time in the fight against the epidemic. While containing the spread of the virus is important, the conditional resumption of work is also essential. A public health crisis can never be dealt with in an entirely isolated environment. Local governments and companies need to remain calm and make objective and accurate judgments about the resumption of work. That may turn out to be harder and more complicated than declaring a city lockdown.

Restarting manufacturing sector operations is imperative, and has a direct impact on overall economic activities. Even those currently racing to produce medical products like protective suits and masks need support from logistics and relevant manufacturers.

It is not just the domestic economy that needs China to resume its manufacturing sector operations across the supply chain. The global economy is also in need. A so-called "de-Sinicization" reflects nothing but ignorance. China's manufacturing sector has long been deeply integrated in the global industrial chain. China is one of the leading exporters of auto parts, electronic components and other manufactured goods, with about 65 percent of global smartphones and 45 percent of laptops made in the country each year. Global supply chains may run into trouble if Chinese factories continue to postpone their resumption of work.

Playing down the Chinese economy won't change the nature of its economic fundamentals, but spreading panic and pessimism may dampen expectations. At this point, it is essential that local governments and companies take on responsibility and make resumption-of-work decisions based on the actual situation.

Posted in: GT VOICE

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