While China is seeing its new confirmed cases of the deadly Covid-19 in drastic decline, Europe, unfortunately, has now become the new epicenter of the pandemic. As the outbreak, which by early March 23 has killed over 14,700 people and sickened 340,000 more globally, is taking a heavy toll on our healthcare, manufacturing, industries, and daily lives, Chinese and European companies are ramping up their efforts to support Europe’s battle against Covid-19, showing solidarity that is much needed at this critical and challenging moment.
Photo: @China Daily. 照片来源：《中国日报》
Trip.com Group, China’s largest online travel services provider and a worldwide leading one, on March 18 announced to donate 1 million surgical masks to epidemic-stricken Italy, Germany, France, UK, Australia, the US, Canada, and many others. This marked the latest move of the company, itself a victim of Covid-19 due to the virus’s giant blow to the tourism industry in China and beyond, to safeguard travelers, minimize impact, and combat the virus.
Photo: @Trip.com Group 照片来源：携程公司
The Group’s efforts were joined by peers in China and Europe. On March 22, French luxury group Kering announced that it will provide the French health service with 3 million surgical masks, apart from a series of donations in finance or medical supplies previously made to Italy and China; on March 18, a cargo plane carrying 1.5 million masks was wheels down in Liege Airport, the biggest cargo airport in Belgium and the first European partner to join the Electronic World Trade Platform initiated by China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba. The supplies, donated by Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, were supposed to be delivered to France, Slovenia, and Belgium. A few days earlier, donations of millions of masks and test kits from Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation had reached their destinations in Italy, Belgium, and other European countries. Alibaba’s logistic arm Cainiao Network announced that it will charter five cargo flights a week from China’s eastern city Hangzhou to Liege Airport, fully loaded with medical supplies.
Photo: @Jack Ma Foundation 照片来源：马云基金会
Italy, by now the most hit country by Covid-19 outside of China, has received plenty of supplies and funds from Chinese and European companies. Huawei Italy on March 16 announced to donate 200,000 FFP2 CE type masks to Milan after 1,000 protective suits had been addressed to some hospitals in the city; on March 11, the Italian football club Inter Milan and its Chinese owner Suning International, donated 300,000 medical masks and other healthcare products to the Italian Civil Protection agency; on March 6, Xiaomi Italia donated tens of thousands of FFP3 face masks to the Italian government to help address a critical shortage of such materials in the country.
意大利目前是中国外受疫情影响最大的国家，收到众多中国和欧洲公司捐赠的设备和款项： 3月16日，华为意大利宣布向米兰捐赠20万个 FFP2口罩，其此前已向米兰一些医院提供了1000套防护服。3月11日，意大利足球俱乐部国际米兰和东家苏宁国际向意大利民防局捐赠了30万个医用口罩和其他医疗用品。 3月6日，小米意大利向意大利政府捐赠数万只FFP3口罩，以帮助解决意大利化解医疗用品严重短缺难题。
On the ground, to name a few, Milan-based fashion giant Giorgio Armani announced to donate 1.25 million euros; Italian fitness equipment manufacturer Technogym announced 1 million euros, for Italy to combat Covid-19.
Photo: @Technogym 照片来源：泰诺健公司
Apart from donations, companies are creatively finding new solutions to help combat the pandemic. Chinese electric car maker BYD swiftly developed its production line and now reportedly becomes the world’s biggest mask manufacturer, which can make up to 5 million masks and 300,000 bottles of disinfectant per day.
Photo: @BYD 照片来源：比亚迪公司
In France, the world’s biggest luxury goods group LVMH announced plans to use its perfume production facilities to make sanitizers and distribute them free of charge to French hospitals.
Photo: @LVMH 照片来源：路威酩轩集团
Many European factories, including Span’s Inditex, the world’s biggest fashion retailer, and Sweden’s H&M, are seeking to convert part of their production lines to respond to current urgent needs of medical suppliers, the European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said during an online discussion co-organized by the think tank Bruegel and the Financial Times on March 19. Several companies worldwide have been pouring millions of dollars into the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund, created to support the World Health Organization in preventing, detecting, and managing the pandemic.
In the digital domain, telecom companies, SMEs, and start-ups are supporting innovative digital initiatives in droves, either for better smoothing of the internet or to provide pro bono services, thus facilitating the transformation of work and life habits of millions of individuals forced at home. For instance, in Italy, several telecoms and smart work suppliers responded to the Italian government’s call for “digital solidarity”, giving out free services to promote smart working, e-learning or digital entertainment.
As the fight against Covid-19 is global, unity and solidarity stay central to beat the virus. Europe set up efforts to support China’s battle against Covid-19 back in January and February, but now becomes the new epicenter of the pandemic itself. What Chinese and European companies have been doing is sending a strong sense of solidarity to the world.
The efforts from the private sector also echoed the call for reciprocal support made by both public sectors. China has not forgotten the EU’s and several member states’ earlier help in containing the crisis and is now responding in kind, as recently pointed out by European Commission President von der Leyen.
Photo: snapshot of Ursula von der Leyen’s tweet
“We are waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree, flowers from the same garden”. As reads the quote on the shipment crates of Xiaomi’s donations, friendship and cooperation are among the ultimate silver-bullet solutions to the human beings’ common enemy, and those great efforts from Chinese and European companies deserve tremendous respect at the time of the global crisis. United we stand, we hope that more private companies will donate funds, surgical masks, ventilators, protective suits, and other desperately-needed medical supplies to support the fight and save lives. Let us work together to get through the hardship, overcome the worst, and build the path towards the final containment of the emergency and recovery of normal economic activities.
Photo: @Xiaomi 照片来源：小米公司