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Top execs weigh in on post-pandemic business prospects

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-05-22 06:40

Curt Ferguson, President of Coca-Cola in China. [Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Curt Ferguson, President of Coca-Cola in China

A1: As a company with the mission statement "refreshing the world and making a difference", we have been paying special attention to the Chinese government's strategic initiatives of building a better shared future through stimulating domestic demand, building a green China and fighting poverty, as well as furthering reform and opening-up. We look forward to the announcement of more policies to drive the implementation of these initiatives during the two sessions.

Given the impact of COVID-19 on the country's economy, we are particularly looking forward to the much-anticipated proactive policies to generate domestic demand and boost consumption. I think policies to help small and medium businesses and alleviate poverty will be a highlight, and the Coca-Cola China system looks forward to contributing with our sustainability and social impact initiatives.

A2: As the situation improves in China, we are seeing encouraging signs of increases of away-from-home consumption. I feel confident this is the harbinger of a more robust economic recovery.

We are working with bottlers on initiatives to regain momentum and better position the Coca-Cola China system for long-term growth. These initiatives include investing in talent acquisition and development, upgrading our manufactory facilities and supply chain, enhancing our digital and innovation capabilities and supporting communities.

With firm confidence in the resilience of the Chinese economy, we remain unwavering with our long-term commitment to China. In 2020, the Coca-Cola China system has made a series of investments, including a partnership with Mengniu, building the first plant in Guizhou province by COFCO Coca-Cola and expansion of the Swire Coca-Cola Zhengzhou plant. Swire Coca-Cola's six new production lines are scheduled for operations in the second half of 2020.

A3: The government has made impactful efforts to revitalize businesses, which have benefited our business in three aspects, business environment, employment and consumption.

First of all, the government continues to open the market and improve the business environment, making it easier for us and our partners to invest and grow our business in China.

Second, the government has released a raft of measures to ease financing difficulties and reduce operation costs and other burdens. These policies have benefited our bottling partners, customers and small retailers during this challenging time.

Lastly, the government issued guidelines for phased opening of public venues and launched consumption promotion campaigns to stimulate spending, which is very helpful for regaining momentum in away-from-home channels.

A4: Though COVID-19 has brought challenges, it has also provided us with opportunities for expediting digital transformation in order to be more competitive.

Since the outbreak, we have experienced an upsurge in e-commerce and O2O delivery. We believe accelerating digital transformation is critical for us to drive long-term growth.

We are investing in digital capabilities enhancement to strengthen consumer connections and piloting several different digital-enabled fulfillment initiatives, whether B2B2Home, D2C platforms or new trends such as livestreaming, to capture online demand for at-home consumption in the future. Going forward, we are looking to scale similar partnerships with more customers and explore new ways to connect with consumers.

We are seeing good results from Coca-Cola China's strategies in business continuity and recovery, including supply chain management, stakeholder engagement and workforce management, which we believe are valuable experience for our colleagues worldwide.

A5: Coca-Cola China's talent acquisition and development programs remain unchanged, as investing in talent is investing for the future.

We highly value our employees' development and positive mentality. During the COVID-19 outbreak, we developed online skills training courses for employees to equip them with skills needed for long-term career development. We also launched several engagement activities to boost morale.

In terms of recruitment, we continue to open job positions and bring in talents. Since the outbreak, we have moved recruitment online to protect the safety and health of candidates and ensure a smooth hiring progress.

In July, a number of fresh graduates who have gone through the recruitment process by the end of 2019 will join Coca-Cola China as planned.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, we have engaged the new hires via online engagement activities to better prepare them for the onboarding.

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