Outlook 2021: China POV

February 22, 2021 | Share this article

In the global version of the Outlook 2021 report, a key tension was identified between those who want to capitalize on the “forward momentum” towards digital transformation accelerated by the pandemic, and those who wish to return to the way things were down before, as the driving force for the digital landscape over this new decade. This tension can also be found in the Chinese market, albeit with a different set of approaches and manifestations, compared to the rest of the world.

During the last Chinese New Year, China was in the throes of the pandemic, with hundreds of millions of people on lockdown and forced to adopt additional digital tools and conduct more aspects of our daily life online. This did create strong forward momentum in terms of getting more people to try out various online platforms for remote work, education, and healthcare. Thanks to a strong centralized response, China contained the spread of the pandemic fairly quickly and things snapped back to the way they were before new digital habits could fully set in.

Now, as we celebrate another Chinese New Year, it is becoming clear that the end of the pandemic will mark the beginning of a new phase of China’s digital innovations. Although life has mostly returned to normal in China, the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the transitioning of China’s economical structure and, similar to the global market, led to some rethinking around the digitization in domains such as healthcare, education, finance. This forward momentum may stern from different sources than the rest of the world, but it will nevertheless create new challenges and opportunities for Chinese and global brands to navigate.

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