The role of Overseas Chinese in the global markets (Post-pandemic)
After the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the world economy is facing huge uncertainty, and overseas Chinese, as a unique group, are also profoundly affected. The many changes that have taken place in the overseas Chinese community since the 21st century are caused by a combination of factors. Instrumental elements such as place of residence, country of origin, international relations, and technological advancement all have varying degrees of impact on the survival and development of Chinese abroad, as well as the evolution and changes in overseas Chinese attitude. How to cope with substantial changes in the status of overseas Chinese, particularly the new scenario and new problems in the post-epidemic age, needs special attention and thought.
Although the tourism industry has been severely hit in the past two years, the overseas Chinese group still attracts attention.
In 2020, the number of Chinese tourists traveling to Brazil amounted to only 63,000. This shows a substantial decrease compared to the previous year when nearly 69,000 people from China visited the South American country.
The number of Chinese tourists paying for various accommodations in Germany in 2020 fell sharply from the previous year due to the pandemic. About 158,000 Chinese tourists stayed in Germany in 2020, compared with about 1.55 million Chinese tourists in 2019. At the same time, the number of Chinese tourists to Austria reached nearly 72,000 in 2020, down from 1 million in 2020.
According to the survey among 200 outbound travel agencies in China, around 91.5 % of respondents anticipated that COVID-19 prevention and control at the travel destination would be a highly considered factor among Chinese tourists when selecting travel products in the next year following the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, about 52.5% of the agencies believed Chinese tourists would pay close attention to the cancellation policies for travel products.
The reduction in tourist development is unavoidable, but the pandemic has had little effect on overseas students’ plans to study.
A recent analysis from Times Higher Education (THE) points out that a pre-pandemic downward trajectory in the number of Chinese students going abroad for post-graduate studies appears to have deepened over the last two years. In examining graduate outcomes for students from China’s top 10 universities, THE finds that fewer students are going to graduate schools abroad and are opting to remain in China to pursue an advanced degree.
And there are some signs of strengthening outbound numbers around the end of 2021 and the first months of 2022, and for some destinations at most minor. In the UK, for example, the February 2022 data release from the national UCAS admissions service reports a 12% year-over-year growth in the number of Chinese applicants. And in Canada, immigration officials say that the number of new study permits issued to Chinese applicants in 2021 (19,640 in total) exceeded the number granted in 2019 (16,176).
Furthermore, the overseas Chinese who had immigrated before COVID-19 can help the local economic development
According to the Ministry of Commerce statistics, in 2021, the trade volume of goods between China and countries along with the ” The Belt and Road Initiative” reached $1.7 trillion, a year-on-year increase of 23.6% and a new high in eight years. As an important area along the “Belt and Road”, Latin America’s economic and trade cooperation with China maintained rapid growth during the epidemic. According to statistics released by the General Administration of Customs of China a few weeks ago, the total trade volume between China, Latin America, and the Caribbean will exceed $450 billion in 2021.
Zhang Tuo, former Chinese ambassador to several Latin American countries, said in an interview with this newspaper:
“In the context of the spread of the new Coronavirus epidemic and the difficult recovery of the world economy, the total trade volume between China and Latin America accounts for about a quarter of the trade volume of the countries along with the ” The Belt and Road Initiative”. The achievements of people are inseparable from the efforts and dedication of every overseas Chinese businessman, and the new and old trading Chinese businessmen have played an important role in promoting ‘Made in China’ to go global.”Zhang Tuo, former Chinese ambassador to several Latin American countries
In the face of the epidemic, overseas Chinese businessmen have actively expanded their customer base through e-commerce while adhering to traditional trade methods and optimizing and upgrading products. While working hard, Chinese businessmen have also contributed significantly to promoting local economic development, enhancing mutual trust and love between the Chinese and Latin American people, and promoting the cultural diversity of their countries.
On the other hand, the Chinese catering industry has always been the largest working group of overseas Chinese. Since 2022, with the relaxation of epidemic prevention and control restrictions in some countries, the overseas Chinese catering industry has gradually ushered in a recovery time. However, the overseas Chinese restaurant industry still faces many challenges, affected by factors such as the epidemic and inflation. Facing difficulties, overseas Chinese restaurant practitioners innovated their business methods and actively responded to challenges.
Fang Gang, founder and chairman of “Mi Qilin” in London, UK, said that since the British government has relaxed the restrictions on epidemic prevention and control, since March this year, the operation of most Chinese restaurants in the UK has tended to be stable and healthy. In the past two years, because of the inability to travel, the purses of the British have swelled up and increased spending on food and beverages. Currently, the business of Chinese restaurants in the UK has resumed, and tour groups from European and American countries have gradually resumed.
According to the information and data presented above, in addition to Chinese tourists driving local consumption and the economy, overseas Chinese living in various countries are still a group of local concern due to the development of multiple industries and the improvement of the education level of international students.
Due to a large number of overseas Chinese engaged in traditional industries such as catering, tourism, commerce, and trade overseas, facing the virus threat, isolation and control, economic downturn, employment reduction, racial discrimination, and other adverse effects brought about by the epidemic, overseas Chinese groups and overseas Chinese organizations in various countries have formed a platform. They were taking advantage of the benefits, timely collection, and distribution of supplies, sharing anti-epidemic information and providing remote diagnosis and treatment plans to minimize the epidemic’s impact on overseas Chinese physical and mental health. At the same time, the overseas Chinese have resisted racial discrimination and economic pressure, sought opportunities in crisis, innovated and adjusted their employment forms, and sought ways of transformation and development. They have strived to integrate and give back to the society in which they lived, enhancing local people’s understanding of overseas Chinese. Finally, they have promoted the cooperation between Chinese and foreign nationals as well as people-to-people exchanges which have contributed greatly to the global economy.
Unlock New China for the Post-pandemic era
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