COVID-19 latest news from Asia-Pacific

16 April 2020
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, convenience operators are implementing measures to ensure everyone has access to the food and consumer goods products they need. We will continue to update this article as the latest initiatives are announced. Latest from UK Co-op has invested £3m to install thousands of protective Perspex screens at till points in its 2,600 stores, alo...
16 April 2020
Beauty-products retailer, Sa Sa International, has posted its Q4 results. Group turnover fell 56.5% to HKD892.4m (US$115.1m). Multiples factors impacting turnover The significant decline in Group turnover was partly due to the closure of Sa Sa’s Singapore business. Sales to mainlanders in Hong Kong and Macau fell 80.8%, as consumer sentiment and travel restrictions following Coronavirus (CO...
16 April 2020
Coundown has launched its first darkstore in Auckland, helping the retailer meet the growing demand for ecommerce in the country's largest city. New centre will meet rapidly growing demand Even before the Coronavirus (COVID-19) surge in demand for online grocery deliveries, New Zealand was experiencing some rapid growth in the online channel. The new 8,800 sq m darkstore in Penrose will hel...
15 April 2020
In a letter to stakeholders, Starbucks provided an update on how COVID-19 has impacted its business and how it is responding, as well as sharing preliminary financial results ahead of its Q2 report on 28 April. McDonald’s has also released a statement ahead of its Q1 results, due for release on 30 April. For more on the company’s announcement, read more here . Starbucks’s focus Sinc...
15 April 2020
Taiwan has been widely recognised to have, so far, contained the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) well. However, the risk of community transmissions remains high, likewise a second wave of infections could be caused by returning residents from other regions. We look at how businesses in Taiwan have responded to the pandemic. Looking after everyone Carrefour Taiwan is providing disposable...
09 April 2020
Walmart China announced at the Cloud Supplier Conference that it plans to invest CNY3bn (US$426m) in Wuhan, where the pandemic first started, over the next five years. Plans include the opening of four Sam’s Club stores, 15 shopping malls and more community stores. Strengthening its presence in Wuhan Wuhan is strategically important to Walmart. It is the capital of Hubei province, where t...
09 April 2020
To help boost consumption and accelerate the economic recovery from the pandemic, China’s Suguo supermarket chain, owned by CR Vanguard, issued CNY100m (US$14m) worth of promotional coupons last week. Bringing tangible benefits to customers Between 25 and 29 March, customers who are Suguo members could receive a CNY100 (US$14) voucher for any amount they spent with the retailer. Non-Suguo...
08 April 2020
Alibaba’s Taobao Live is helping more industries in China digitise their operations. Live streaming in agricultural and retail sectors Alibaba is increasing Taobao Live’s reach and accessibility. Taobao Live announced that it would offer training to 200,000 farmers in ongoing efforts to increase business in rural areas across China. The livestreaming platform aims to generate CNY15bn (US...
07 April 2020
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, declared a month-long state of emergency on 7 April in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The government has also approved a record stimulus package worth JPY108 tn (US$990 bn) to support the economy State of emergency until 6 May Abe told a televised news conference, “We are not at a stage where rapid nationwide spread is being observed, b...
06 April 2020
The Consumer Goods Forum held a special webinar and invited Walmart China’s C-level executives to share the actions they took to overcome the challenges they have faced since the outbreak of coronavirus in the country three months ago. The in-depth discussion covered many areas of business, including retail, shopper behaviour, supply chain, customer and employee health, food production, person...
02 April 2020
Following the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) three months ago, retailers in Singapore have responded with urgency and empathy as the situation evolves - we will continue to update this article with the latest developments... Improving efficiency for online Lazada is closing its online store for two days to implement key changes  Reducing assortment:  prioritise daily essentials s...
01 April 2020
Following the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) three months ago, retailers in China have responded with urgency and empathy as the situation evolves - we will continue to update this article with the latest developments... Contactless delivery Remote drop off : customers of all major retailers, including Walmart, Carrefour, Alibaba and JD.com,  can have their orders delivered touch-...
27 March 2020
China is already working to return to a state approaching normalcy following the outbreak of coronavirus three months ago. Reopening for business Businesses affected by lockdowns have reopened and customers are cautiously returning to stores:  Shopping malls : after this week, most shopping malls will reopen to the public, with adjusted business hours of 10 am–10 pm Gyms : most...
26 March 2020
We roundup the latest developments in India, amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Nestlé and Coca-Cola have announced the temporary suspension of parts of their operations in the country, amid the countrywide lockdown due to the epidemic, while Walmart’s Flipkart is to resume its online operations after a temporary halt. Nestlé in discussion with the authorities In a regulatory filing,...
26 March 2020
Singapore and six other Pacific Rim countries have committed to work closely to keep their supply chains open during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Myanmar, New Zealand In addition to Singapore, the leaders of six other countries from the Pacific Rim have issued a joint statement that recognised the importance of not imposing export controls, tariffs ...
26 March 2020
Tesco Malaysia has created a cheeky shopping guide for male shoppers as only heads of households are allowed to shop for the family during the lockdown period ordered by the government. Source: Tesco Malaysia Serving customers, a little better Shoppers have been posting photos of male shoppers struggling to buy the right products in supermarkets on social media as their wives are usua...
26 March 2020
On February 28, SPAR International released a document on Preparedness Planning to help its customers and partners respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Recognising consumer behavioural shifts SPAR outlined the anticipated consumer behaviour shifts:                       Avoidance of dining out along with shifting to more meals at home, especially where schools might be clos...
25 March 2020
Australia’s competition watchdog has allowed major supermarket chains to work with each other to overcome supply issues, given the unprecedented demand by consumers in recent weeks during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and IGA (Metcash) The four major supermarkets are due to sidestep competition rules for six months, to ensure consumers have a “reliable and fai...
25 March 2020
FairPrice and Cold Storage in Singapore are setting up priority shopping hours for vulnerable groups to boost social distancing measures. First hour every Monday at all FairPrice stores The retailer has recently launched safe distancing measures, like floor markings at checkouts, to manage queues. It has also put a stop to food sampling activities for now too. It has also announced a Priori...
25 March 2020
Retailers in Thailand are responding quickly to shoppers’ concern at their stores, while looking after their employees. The broader context for Thailand Thailand reported its first COVID-19 case in January but had been recording low numbers in new infections. This started to change on 15 March as a few large clusters were identified in Bangkok and the number of cases increased. The Thai gov...
25 March 2020
Our team has been continually monitoring the latest developments from retailers and manufacturers globally over the past few weeks. In this article we highlight three ways retailers are and could further adapt their online operations to deal with the on-going effects of the pandemic. 1. Making online groceries available for those most in need We have seen retailers around the world flex the...
25 March 2020
Woolworths Australia has announced that it is to delay the demerger of its Endeavour Drinks business until 2021. Uncertainty puts demarger on hold The business was meant to be demerged in-mid 2020. However, with financial markets struggling and the business being forced to close all hotels in the wake of forced shutdown due to Coronavirus, CEO Brad Banducci has been left with no option but ...
25 March 2020
Consumer goods company Unilever has announced a series of measures aimed at supporting consumers, communities and suppliers. Product donations, partnerships and education programmes Unilever is donating products such as soap, sanitiser, bleach and food worth at least €50 million to the COVID Action Platform of the World Economic Forum, whilst adapting its current manufacturing lines to prod...
24 March 2020
In reaction to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic Australian retailers have started implementing a number of measures to ensure that everyone has access to the food and consumer goods products they need - we will continue to update this article with the latest measures... Ensuring social distancing in-store Woolworths has started installing transparent screens at its checkouts to ensure...
24 March 2020
From midnight tonight, Hong Kong will ban non-residents and transit arrivals from entering the city for 14 days in an effort to prevent a second wave of imported coronavirus cases. More stringent restrictions Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, said, “From midnight of Mar 25, all non-Hong Kong residents flying in from overseas will not be allowed into the city." All arrivals will be su...
24 March 2020
The retailer launched the service on 21 March to support the global efforts to limit the impact of the virus. Sharing invaluable frontline experience The service is an upgrade of its Chinese-only medical consultation platform, launched a few days earlier on 17 March, which has received more than 50,000 consultation requests and more than 3.2m visitors. The upgraded version has the follow...
23 March 2020
The Jack Ma and Alibaba foundations have stepped up their support for countries impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19). Sending supplies across Asia During the week beginning 16 March, the foundations said they were preparing a joint donation of 2m masks, 150,000 test kits, 20,000 sets of protective gear and 20,000 face shields to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. The founda...
20 March 2020
On Wednesday 18 March we were invited to join a webinar organised by France-based Institut du Commerce (Trading Institute) and global consulting firm Bain & Company on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis management. During the webinar, Bain & Company shared learnings from previous crisis in China and South Korea, as well as the current developing situation in Italy to help French retailers and s...
20 March 2020
As authorities are encouraging people to stay at home, the demand for grocery home delivery is rising sharply. Growing online opportunities Since the beginning of the epidemic, online grocery retailers have seen a strong growth in their business: Big Basket: traffic and revenue doubled in less than two weeks. The average basket size increased by 20%. Many new users are placing ord...
19 March 2020
The Chinese oil giant is offering customers a novel way to buy fresh food and grocery amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Buying grocery from a gas station with zero contact Sinopec Group, the world's largest oil refining conglomerate, started selling fresh produce in its gas stations through its convenience store banner, Easy Joy, in February. The move comes as online retailers,...
18 March 2020
Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, reported on 15th March that the number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections had risen by 21 to 117. Retailers have taken different approaches to look after the well-being of their shoppers. There is no consistent recommendation on how best to prevent the spread virus spread around the world.  Keeping staff healthy  All staff members...
17 March 2020
How resilient and responsive is your supply chain?  If you didn’t know before, there’s a chance you will soon find out. There’s been a lot of talk about risk management with regards to Brexit, which seemed like enough of a challenge.  But now many nations around the world are facing the possibility of a COVID-19 (commonly referred to as coronavirus) epidemic, an event that, unlike Brexit, co...
10 March 2020
Despite challenging trading conditions, Hong Kong-based Convenience Retail Asia (CRA) has posted a robust set of annual results, with Group revenue increasing by 5.9% to HKD5,632m (US$724.8m). Revenue and profits up despite tough trading conditions Overall increase in revenue was mainly attributed to a 6.1% growth in comparable-store sales for the convenience store business (turnover increa...
21 February 2020
To help brands minimize impact of coronavirus, Alibaba’s B2B marketplace Tmall is rolling out a series of measures. A support package designed to minimize the impact Tmall has implemented a series of measures to minimize impact of coronavirus to help brands selling on its marketplace. The package includes the following: Reduced fees:  merchant operation expenses, logistics costs and ...
11 February 2020
Alibaba has unveiled measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises in China affected by the coronavirus outbreak. 20 measures across six major areas Reduced or waived platform fees Low-interest and interest-free loans Subsidised delivery personnel and increased logistics efficiency Creation of flexible job openings Tools for accelerating digitization Remote work mana...
10 February 2020
Singapore raised its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level to Orange status on Friday (7 th Feb) as the coronavirus spread within the community. Following the announcement, shoppers rushed to stock up on essentials, resulting in empty shelves and long queues at grocery stores across the island. FairPrice ramps up distribution of essentials Demand for daily essentials l...
04 February 2020
We take a look at how JD.com is using its capabilities in logistics, supply chain and technology to help combat the epidemic and provide a trusted and reliable shopping experience at the same time. Ensuring food supplies to meet online demands Same as Alibaba and Walmart , JD.com also saw large increase of food sales during the ongoing epidemic when compared to the same period last yea...
03 February 2020
With people significantly reduce the time spent outdoors, online grocery sales are soaring in China. Retailers saw explosion of online orders With Chinese nationals being advised to stay at home during Chinese New Year holiday amid the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, demand for fresh food and household items has soared. Walmart’s delivery business, JD Daojia, reported a five-fold increase ...
24 January 2020
Unilever and JD Logistics have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to pursue sustainable solutions in the supply chain. Building on existing relationship The MoU, which creates a framework to identify opportunities for innovative and sustainable growth, builds on Unilever’s existing relationship with Chinese e-commerce retailer JD.com, as both organisations have sealed a deal, back i...