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Top execs weigh in on post-pandemic business prospects

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

Hungchih Liu, senior vice president Asia Pacific, leader for strategy & development, cities market sector leader, Greater China, AECOM. [Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Hungchih Liu, senior vice president Asia Pacific, leader for strategy &development, cities market sector leader, Greater China, AECOM

A1: In April this year, the National Development and Reform Commission for the first time defined the range and direction of new infrastructure, and the investment in new infrastructure has become an important driver of China's economic development. The new infrastructure is based on new technology that has a strong driving force. The constantly innovative technology promotes the application of new infrastructure and promotes the creation of new products. Therefore, the development of the new infrastructure will help continue the reform of China's infrastructure-centered economy. We look forward to seeing more discussions on the topic of new infrastructure during the two sessions and hope specific policies and allocation of funds for new infrastructure construction could be implemented, putting forward concrete measures to mobilize social resources and technological development of enterprises.

A2: While facing challenges during the COVID-19 epidemic, we are also faced with some opportunities. The business stagnation due to the epidemic makes us understand risk management, and the inability of employees to return to work also makes us think about the dilemma of relying on human resources and traditional technology paths, so as to seek digital methods and practice the transformation of business models. We have also made new attempts in working methods, such as online telecommuting or flexible working to reduce the cost of renting office space. The outbreak has also made us learn about the prospects of multidisciplinary collaboration.

Under the current large-scale market impact, we see the uniqueness and advantages of the Chinese system. We think China's economy will be in a long process of growth and optimization. For AECOM, China is a positive market that can be expected to continue to grow. The government's determination and work performance during the epidemic also gives us more confidence in the steady development of China's business environment, so we will increase investment in the Chinese market in the future, and investment will focus more precisely on serving a living environment that places greater emphasis on the health and resilience of communities and cities.

A3: The COVID-19 epidemic has brought both negative impact and positive motivation to all sectors, and the new infrastructure will offer new opportunities. China has been investing heavily in new infrastructure and fostering innovative industries, which will create new economic growth points, bringing new investment opportunities, information flow, technological development, market vitality and comprehensive growth of commercial value to the city, creating huge market opportunities. In terms of urban development, the new infrastructure policy covers three aspects: informational infrastructure, integrated infrastructure and innovative infrastructure. From this we can see infrastructure starts its transformation from focusing on pure hardware investments to service functions hosted by hardware. The traditional urban infrastructure is the supply and demand system of public service, and the new infrastructure is about to change the system, helping cities to make a quick and efficient response to requirements via data information, so as to promote the healthy development of the city.

A4: The COVID-19 epidemic has exposed information and trust problems in urban governance. Under the opportunity of new infrastructure, improving the quality of information and trust, promoting the healthy and efficient operation of cities and building resilient and livable cities will become the goal of people in urban planning and design. After the epidemic, more horizontal integration of technologies and interconnection among various fields will emerge in the urban planning and design industry, and the longitudinal integration of technology will also be promoted so as to enable cities with science and technology and lead new possibilities in urban construction.

The COVID-19 epidemic has created new scenarios and demands in cities, and the new infrastructure policies has created new market opportunities, encouraging enterprises to seek change and innovation. In the future, AECOM will expand and transform to digitalization, platform, producibility, integration and specialization, and promote the public spatial asset capitalization and service products modularization. Through the stages of planning and design, development and implementation, and management and operation, we respond to different stages of urban development and requirements of various scenarios by combining three modules dynamically into a spatial asset operation portfolio scheme, which can be applied to specific projects.

A5: AECOM has always been concerned about the health and psychological conditions of all employees throughout the epidemic. We provided 24-hour EAP consultation service. Professional psychological counselors could answer staff questions at any time and help employees deal with the challenges of the epidemic. Responding to the epidemic, we detailed management units by grouping employees for layer-by-layer reporting, to get real-time information updated and understand the health condition of all employees. Meanwhile, the Safety, Health & Environment (SH&E) department followed up on the epidemic situation on a daily basis, updated employees and formulated office epidemic prevention rules. Now AECOM has mainly resumed production and work, and we advocate employees mainly return to work assisted by commuting staggered to peak hours, flexible working hours, rotational work and other methods, ensuring the safety and health of employees.

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