The COVID-19 is obviously hitting China and the global tech supply chain hard. Factories are reopening slowly, and when they can reopen, they have a shortage of parts or raw materials due to travel restrictions and workers and transporters not able to get back to their working cities. Although the situation seems contained and improving in China, the spread of the virus in the rest of the world is worsening. Confinement measures such as quarantines in Italy, for example, and company-wide travel ban measures taken by companies, including tech, globally, mean the way we work will be impacted durably.

Besides the scale of the economic impact, it is clear that the next few months will be dominated by uncertainty, and companies’ stakeholders (clients, suppliers, employees, investors, etc.) will be looking more closely at any information, or lack thereof, given during that period. The uncertainty will make transparency and public activity important to reassure stakeholders. Lack of communication will only fuel the uncertainty and worries. All trade shows and industry events in China have been cancelled until at least the end of April, limiting the opportunity to meet clients and other stakeholders for international companies. Semicon China / Electronica China is tentatively postponed to June 2020 and EDICon to September, for example, leaving the microelectronic industry with limited options to reassure their customers and partners about their plans or new products. But technology is advanced enough that virtual communication activities offer an almost seamless alternative to keep an organisation’s ecosystem updated.

Media could attend the press conference organised by Influence Matters virtually in March 2020

News coverage of Ampere’s press event

Press Events Go Virtual

China is especially interested in the aftermath and recovery of the economy and supply chains, and, when it comes to technology, which innovations will allow the country to build stronger digital preparedness. Influence Matters, a Public Relations firm providing PR services to tech companies in China, has recently supported two of their semiconductor clients, Soitec and Ampere, to present their solutions for a stronger digital economy and update the market on their business with virtual announcements.

Soitec, the semiconductor material company from France with facilities in Grenoble and Singapore, has been a client of Influence Matters since 2016. As with all of their clients, Influence Matters advocates a thoughtleading, locally relevant and consistent approach to communicating with their “ecosystem of influence” in China. On top of digital communications through press announcements and social media digital activities (WeChat), the PR firm holds regular press events when global executives are visiting China. In December 2019, an update was due but as no executives were visiting, they put together a virtual press briefing with the VP based in France. The briefing was attended by top semiconductor and electronic engineering media in China, behind their computers on a video conferencing platform. It has helped Soitec being featured on 21IC.com (China’s top online portal for electronics engineers) and EEFocus (another online portal for electronic engineers in China) among many others, and direct media exposure to Soitec’s customers.

For American chip company Ampere, the PR firm had originally planned a physical press event in Beijing for the launch of their new Ampere Altra(TM) chip for cloud servers to mark the importance of the announcement. Following the corinavirus outbreak during the Chinese New Year holidays in China, the confinement and quarantine measures necessary to curb the virus spread, they swiftly edited the plan to a virtual press event with attendance of over 20 editors from leading EE, semicon, IT and business press in China to ensure the announcement was widely relayed to the market. Every editor invited to attend the virtual press event responded positively to the effort made by Ampere to talk to them during the outbreak as a sign of support to the recovery and China technology development roadmaps. The coverage of the announcement, at this time, will put Ampere firmly in the mind of the cloud computing market in China and set solid bases for their business development with local partners. Media could attend the press conference organised by Influence Matters virtually in March 2020.

Digital Communications Should Take Many Forms 

Influence Matters has also developed a comic strip series for Harting, an industrial connectors manufacturer from Germany, to demonstrate their products in a mobile-friendly manner, more in touch with the formats of content consumed by engineers in China. The rebound in China will be rapid and fueled by the technology sector, with an increased need for a better digital economy heavily reliant on global innovations. Influence Matters expects the rebound to bring increased focus on developing the country’s infrastructures in 5G, smart manufacturing, smart cities and smart health with all the services that will be derived from these areas. International companies with technologies that can support China’s rebound should work now on building or strengthening partnerships in China and communicate accordingly.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Simon Vericel

Founder & Managing

Director of Influence Matters

(a B2B tech PR agency in China)

www.influencematters.asia