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COVID-19 and the Future of Doing Business in Asia

The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s regional program, Regional Economic Programme Asia (SOPAS), has conducted this research, “COVID-19 and the Future of Doing Business in Asia” jointly with the Asian Institute of Management Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness (AIM RSN PCC) to outline how the “new normal” will look like. Asia’s resilience to the shocks brought about by COVID-19 provides a first sketch of how the structural changes accelerated by the pandemic have reimagined and reformed the roles of the State and businesses. As businesses in the region resume economic activity, Asian governments and enterprises are in a unique position to define and structure the “new normal”, providing Germany, Europe and the rest of the world a tentative template of how to respond to these unprecedented challenges.

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The COVID-19 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 crisis 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. Asia has weathered through previous crises and have emerged stronger in spite of these setbacks.

The publication looks at how COVID-19 is reshaping the future of doing business in the region. Data was collected from Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam to understand how COVID-19 is affecting (1) agility, innovation, and resilience among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), (2) the future of work, (3) the state of globalization, (4) Asian-European relations, and (5) institutions and economic regulations.

The study looks at how business leadership has changed in the current highly uncertain environment and illustrates how SMEs have innovated in response to the crisis. The findings highlight the changes in the relationship between employers and employees, the way the economic and cultural concept of work is altered as remote work has been adopted more widely, and the burden placed on the “lock down generation” as a result of these developments. The publication examines how perceptions towards globalization has changed as well as the recent trends towards regionalization and reorganization of supply chains to other parts of Asia. It also discusses the current developments altering Asian-European relations. And finally, the research takes a closer look at how the relationship between the State and private sectors have changed and if these ties will persist in the future.

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Cristita Marie Perez

Cristita Marie Perez KAS

Senior Programme Manager, Regional Economic Programme Asia (SOPAS) +81 3 6426 5041


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