The COVID-19 outbreak has dealt a huge economic blow to China. The country’s supply chains are collapsing, many manufacturing firms have closed down, there is minimal human interaction, and consumer behavior has changed in unprecedented ways. However, as in all known crises, a lot of new business ideas and opportunities have come out of the prevailing crisis. Online-to-offline commerce (O2O) is on the rise, the demand for 5G has increased, and the need for online education has skyrocketed.

New shopping preferences have necessitated mass changes in China’s labor market. Employers need to hire locals with extraordinary skills and talents; workers with the needed muscle to withstand the harsh realities of the ongoing lockdown and social distancing.

Note that these talents are needed within days, not weeks if the companies are to continue providing their services seamlessly. Foreign companies cannot pull this off without the help of an international PEO (Professional Employer Organization). That is why PEOs are playing a key role in shaping current employment trends in China.

With proper workforce management strategies, mostly through international PEO, the following business ideas are thriving across china:

1. Online entertainment

As a result of China being under lockdown, event venues and cinemas remain closed. The consequence of this is almost 600 million short online videos being recorded, shared on social media, and streamed live on different video streaming sites. More and more artists are performing virtually and online movie premiering is quickly becoming a trend.

2. Grocery delivery apps

Chinese consumers are wary of person-to-person COVID-19 infections and as a result, they are reluctant to go to offline grocery stores. Online grocery shopping is picking pace fast and with it, downloads for grocery delivery apps have skyrocketed. Traders who were reluctant to take their grocery stores online are now struggling for survival.

3. Online games and live webcast

With more people staying indoors now, the demand for online games and live webcast has increased by over 500%. The online gaming industry in China is now a billion-dollar industry, up from about $218 million.

4. Increased demand for cloud service

Remote working was not very popular in China before COVID-19 turned everything upside down. Most Chinese companies are setting up new remote teams for the first time, which explains the upsurge in demand for cloud service.

5. Online education

Educational institutions across China have now shifted to online learning. That has precipitated a sudden upsurge in online content demand within the country’s education industry, with the download rate of educational apps increasing by nearly 300% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the last quarter of 2019. It is safe to say that the future of education is e-learning, and it has come sooner than initially projected. App developers must move with speed to leverage this new-found market.

6. Remote healthcare

Healthcare professionals are offering their services through digital platforms. While this has been motivated by the need for self-isolation, branded online healthcare apps are likely to stay beyond the COVID-19. Remote healthcare will not end- it will only get more advanced with time.

7. Online food services

The restaurant industry was hit hard by the government’s ban of eating in public places. Many food businesses have since created ways to limit human interaction, such as online food services. Customers are placing their orders online and delivery guys are delivering the food safely and affordably using bikes. Another solution that has become popular is the “contactless” self-served food cabinets. Customers are ordering food via mobile apps, the food is prepared and placed on a cabinet, and then the customer picks it up from the cabinet without interacting with other humans.

8. Online fitness & wellness

With offline gyms banned, Chinese fitness enthusiasts are increasingly embracing digital workout programs. These programs have been helping people to exercise from home for a long time now, but their demand has never been as high as it is now. Online training apps, yoga apps, and meditation app developers are in for a windfall over the coming months.


China is still grappling to find solutions to the many challenges that COVID-19 spread is presenting every day. Nobody can predict for sure what will happen in the future. What is apparent, however, is that the social interactions will not be the same again even after COVID-19 is contained. Business leaders must start figuring out ways of surviving in a “contactless” economy.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Entrepreneurship, China
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