COVID-19 and the Future of Doing Business in Asia

The COVID19 pandemic has caused massive disruption and volatility to the global economy. The loss of lives and livelihoods has pushed governments to intervene significantly in response to the outbreak while businesses are adapting to the rapidly changing needs of their people, consumers, and suppliers. As the world contends with the outbreak, countries in Asia have pioneered containment strategies, shaped new protocols, and restarted economic activity. As businesses in the region resume economic activity, Asian companies are in a unique position to define and structure the “new normal.” What will the “new normal” look like? How is COVID19 reshaping the dimensions that define the future of doing business in Asia? Focus countries include the following: (1) China, (2) Japan, (3) Singapore, (4) South Korea, (5) Philippines, (6) Vietnam


Research Objectives and Key Questions

This proposed exploratory research will look at how COVID19 is reshaping the future of doing
business in Asia. Data will be collected from six countries to:

  • Understand how COVID19 is shaping (i) institutions and economic regulation, (ii) the future of work, (iii) state of globalization, (iv) agility, innovation, and resilience, and (v) Asian-European relations
  • Provide directions and recommendations to policymakers, development partners and businesses to effectively rebuild more resilient businesses and take advantage of the opportunities amidst the economic turmoil and disruption

Specifically, it will look at how the pandemic is shaping the five dimensions that define the trajectories of economic activity in the region:


  1. Institutions and economic regulation: How has the relationship between the State and private sectors changed? Will the ties persist? Will the State have a broader influence, or will there be less regulation?
  2. Future of work: How has the relationship between employers and employees changed? How has the concept of the workplace changed in terms of economic and cultural aspects as remote work has been adopted more widely? Do you expect these changes to persist in the long-term? Have these changes already been underway before the crisis?
  3. State of globalization: How have perceptions towards globalization changed? Are there calls towards regionalization and reorganizing supply chains around center parts of Asia?
  4. Agility, innovation, and resilience: How has business leadership changed in the current situation? In which sectors of the national economy do you see the most innovative willingness and capacities to react to the crisis?
  5. Asian-European relations: How is Europe seen from this perspective? How will the current developments alter Asian-European relations?

Scope and Methodology

I. Target audience and geographies for the research

Demographic: SMEs. We will focus on identifying and engaging with interesting cases that have displayed innovative (and to some extent, replicable) strategies in responding to the constraints and challenges brought about by the pandemic.

Geographies: China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam


II. Methodology

The research can employ a case study approach combining information gathered from secondary sources through a literature review of published documents and from primary sources such as expert interviews and focus group discussions. Drawing from both primary and secondary sources encourages triangulation and helps reveal consensus and contribution across themes and issues.


III. Research Publication

Five policy papers discussing each dimension will be released around September 2020. After the publication of the policy papers, additional online media can be produced, depending on the results of the initial study.

Zum Kalender hinzufügen

Cristita Marie Perez

Cristita Marie Perez KAS

Managerin des Regionalprogramms Soziale Ordnungspolitik Asien / SOPAS +81 3 6426 5041