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AI offers key to digital transformation

China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-18 09:52

Joël Gosset, managing director of International SOS China

A2 International SOS has greatly benefited from China's rapid growth in the past 30 years since we entered the Chinese mainland in 1989. China is now one of our two fastest growing markets. Although China's economic growth has slowed down in recent years, the country remains the biggest engine of the global economy and we have great confidence in its growth potential and will continue our investments in the country.

Specifically, we have more than 100 customers that are Chinese-funded enterprises in China, including State-owned enterprises, central enterprises, government-related organizations, and private companies. Our customer base mainly covers industries such as energy, infrastructure, high-tech, communications, and finance, in which, demand for mitigating medical and security risks keeps growing. We will keep up our investments to accommodate this growing market demand. For example, we provide Chinese language alerts to better meet the needs of Chinese customers and we have also launched an online service platform for real-time communication with our Medical and Security professionals via WeChat.

Moreover, with an increasing number of local companies striving to go global, we will recruit more professionals with a combination of international backgrounds and global perspectives as well as local cultures to better support them.

A4 In recent years both Chinese and foreign enterprises are paying more and more attention to sustainability - achieving a perfect balance between economic growth, social progress, and environmental protection. An important part of this concept is about safety, health and well-being for their employees, which is the key mission of International SOS. We are glad to see laws and regulations in this regard being issued in recent years and organizations are obligated to have a duty of care to their employees, which includes ensuring their safety and health.

We believe we are well-positioned to embrace exciting opportunities in two areas.

The Belt and Road Initiative presents great opportunities for the entire world. International SOS has been operating in Belt and Road economies for about 30 years. With deep knowledge of the medical infrastructure and actionable insights with quality delivery, we can help Chinese enterprises successfully implement projects in those countries.

With more and more Chinese enterprises going global, the number of employees traveling overseas is rapidly growing. Also, more foreign companies are coming to China. These Chinese-and foreignfunded companies need to provide good medical and security support for their mobile employees and expatriates - International SOS plays an important role in helping these companies handle this important task.

We hosted the 2019 Duty of Care Summit and Awards Ceremony in China's leading economic powerhouse Shanghai on Oct 17 to showcase global best practice. This year there have been entries from 31 countries, across 28 sectors, including leading companies and judges from China. We are glad to see that China's best practices and experiences in duty of care and sustainable growth have become a model for worldwide organizations to learn and follow.

A6 We are glad to see the Chinese government's drive to further open the economy by initiating a series of policies and laws including the new Foreign Investment Law. This law will encourage more foreign companies to invest in China while improving the operating environment for those currently doing business in the country. This is a demonstration of China's strong confidence in its competitive advantages in the world arena with its increasingly important role in global economic growth.

International SOS will certainly benefit from a more open Chinese economy with comprehensive coverage of laws and regulations. Duty of care for employees is a priority and also a challenge for foreignfunded companies in China and they need to ensure workplace safety, health and well-being of their employees. We are their partner in this area - leveraging our deep expertise and rich experience in medical solutions and safety risk prevention and management, we can provide them with integrated solutions to help them meet the challenge.

A7 Each and every one of us is fortunate to be living in the current era - a great era where waves of disrupting technologies keep changing the way we work, live, and entertain. We, as individuals or organizations, should keep learning and adapting to survive or thrive in this changing environment. At International SOS we are doing our utmost to keep pace with the many changes.

For example, we are integrating our emerging technologies into our services. In 2018, our award-winning Assistance App and Travel Tracker allowed more than 1,800 customers to locate 11 million international travelers. We have launched an online service platform on WeChat for our customers so they have access to real-time communication with our medical and security professionals. Our e-learning and digital travel risk mitigation services act as a complement to our assistance offerings, providing our members with online tools to understand and prepare for medical, security, and travel risks.

An International SOS doctor takes care of a patient on a flight from Djibouti to Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]
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