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Top execs weigh in on post-pandemic business prospects

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

Connell Zhang, executive vice-president of Ecolab & president of Greater China, Ecolab. [Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Connell Zhang, executive vice-president of Ecolab & president of Greater China, Ecolab

A1: We're expecting the implementation and enforcement of the new foreign investment law and related policy guidelines, which will further level the playing field for businesses of various kinds and strengthen multinational companies' confidence in investing in China in the long term to support quality business developments as a whole. 

The policies on intellectual property protection related legislation are an important contributor to improving the business environment as well. 

It is equally important to further enable multinational companies to participate in setting industry standards and collaborating with Chinese partners in that regard.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn people's attention to maintaining a healthy public environment, we are also looking forward to higher hygiene and sanitization standards and requirements in general.

A2: We have seen a surge of demand for sanitization solutions since the beginning of the outbreak, resulting from significantly improved awareness of personal and public hygiene. 

Except sanitization, the demand from our customers was depressed in general due to less traffic to restaurants and hotels, and due to fewer orders from the export market.  But, it is now picking up with the gradual resumption of normal economic activities.  We believe that digital solutions will play an even larger role in this recovery process.

China is one of Ecolab's three mega markets across the globe, and we will continue our commitment here. Meanwhile, we are looking into localizing more production to support our customers and to grow with the Chinese nation.

A3: We are encouraged by the resourcefulness and commitment that the government has demonstrated to guarantee a safe public environment, which in turn, helps all companies, including Ecolab,  protect associates and provide timely support for customers, and allows us all to recover to a point of normal operation.

The strong financial incentives offered by the government are also crucial for companies to reduce operational costs and overcome difficulties during this challenging time, providing sound and effective measures for companies to boost business and long-term growth.

A4: We have seen significantly improved awareness in public health and hygiene, resulting in opportunities in some previously under-served segments, such as small- and medium-sized food service providers and the manufacturing sector. 

Digital transformation is undoubtedly the most obvious trend amid the pandemic, which has been a focal point at Ecolab for so long. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, we have been leveraging digital tools (e.g. 3D TRASAR™) to help our customers do remote monitoring, and launched "Food Safety 365" mobile app for food service and hospitality clients during the outbreak. 

China is ahead of the curve in this pandemic, so we have been able to share our experiences here with other regions, in terms of staff protection, work resumption, customer servicing and such. Meanwhile, we have also been learning from the rest of the world and exchanging experience and expertise in a mutually beneficial way.

A5: Our three key focus areas during the pandemic are protecting associates, serving customers, and sharing expertise. Our global and local teams have been working to help ensure the safety of our 3,400 associates in China. We have established rigorous protocols to guide decision-making as we serve our customers and reinforce safe practices. 

We are committed to the long-term development of China and the region. We expect to continue to grow our business quickly, building upon a close partnership with our associates in the country. We are very confident that Ecolab and our 3,400 China associates will play an even more important role in helping build a cleaner, safer and healthier society here, and at the same time, benefit from these great developments in China.