Coronavirus Pandemic has brought catastrophe in the world impacting all the industries and has caused economic slowdown throughout the world in all the major continents who are thickly populated such as Asia, Europe, the Americas and Africa.
The novel coronavirus originating from Wuhan China in December 2019 has spread to all the regions of the world and caused lockdowns as a preventive measure to limit its spread as there is no vaccine to cure this viral disease other than just go in self or social isolation as per World Health Organization Experts advice.
Though human trials have been started by some Pharmaceutical companies the experts are of the view that it may take one and half year to be available in the market and estimated to be the costliest vaccine ever keeping in view its global implications and rapid speed of spread in the world.
At present China, Italy, Spain, America and Iran are worst hit by this where the death rate was reported 4% t0 7% while it is much lower in other parts of the world.
Given the lockdowns and limitations on gatherings of more than 4, it has paralyzed the world economy with stocks crashing and showing the negative trend that is alarming as the figures of unemployment and close of Businesses jump high in US, UK, Italy, Spain, France, China, Middle East Region, India and Pakistan where the people are restricted to their houses and there is a complete lockdown.
Several Industries are worst impacted by these global lockdowns and Travel restrictions yet the following industries have completely been shut down and employees are being laid off.
Education has been the worst affected Industry because without education we cannot develop and create awareness among the masses. The Schools, Colleges and Universities have been shut over the fears of this pandemic leaving the students at the panicking situation to deal with. Though some institutes have started online education it is not as interactive as a formal Education in classes.
#Airline and Travel
Airline and Travel Industry has been severely impacted as all the planes have been grounded by all the airline companies and laying off some staff as most of Asian, African and European have imposed Travel bans and people stranded in various countries have no other choice but to stay there until the covid-19 Pandemic may be brought under control if WHO introduces any drug to this incurable disease.
# Restaurant, Food Franchise, Hotel and Motel
The people have lost their charm to travel and stay at luxury hotels to enjoy their vacations, Trips and Business Meetings all have been overshadowed with Covid-19 Fears and have completely shut down as preventive measures to avoid Mass gatherings.
The Food Franchises such as KFC, McDonald’s, Dunken Donuts, Subway, Pizzahut, Burger King etc which were the best choice of people living in Metro cities have been closed for an indefinite period over the sudden outbreak of covid -19. They have born the loss of millions during this global lockdown as these have global presence
#Cold Drinks, Ice Cream and Mineral Water
Adults and children loved eating cold drinks, Ice Creams and Milkshakes during the hot days when temperatures rose to cool themselves but now the WHO and Other Health Experts advise people to use hot items to stop the Covid-19 outbreak as per research Cold items have more chances of contracting Novel coronavirus over hot items, therefore, Health experts strongly advise consuming hot items including water as cold water may cause the spread of the Virus. The lockdown and preventive measures cause loss of millions to this industry especially the people associated with the sector.
#Sports, News & Media, Entertainment and Services Industry
The Sports the industry has been heavily hit as it involves mass gatherings as spectators. All the sporting events have been suspended, series and Leagues have been rescheduled and big events such as PSL, IPL, FIFA World Cup, Olympics Games and others have been completely cancelled raising concerns among the players. Even the players are facing the trauma having travel history to the epicentre of Covid-19 Pandemic and tested positive .
The Entertainment industry has been heavily impacted as all the dramas, Films and comedy shooting and recording has been postponed till indefinite period and all the events including concerts have cancelled due to covid-19 and actors have lost the source of living.
The services industry especially the skilled and non-skilled have been subjected to starvation as all the roadside small business such as Hair Cutting Salons, Cobblers, Gold and blacksmith shops, Electricians, Booksellers, daily wages workers and Masons have lost their living owing to lockdowns globally.
Unfortunately, Governments have not done anything for providing any relief package for these daily wages workers who have no other source of Income. Some philanthropists and NGOs are working to provide rationing and Financial support to these underprivileged segments of the society.
Finally, the Print and Electronic Media are partially impacted though they are a very vulnerable community as they have been busy in coverage of the pandemic around the world and are prone to contracting the deadly virus due to close contact with Patients at Quarantine Centres and the Health specialists working at the hospital and temporary health centres specially set up for an emergency.
The Print Media has been hit hard as people consider it risky to read a Print copy of newspapers over covid-19 fears and prefer epaper or online edition of the newspapers. Hence, such a trend has impacted the Newspaper Sales badly.
On the other hand, electronic media such as News Channels, Radio and Digital Media such as Websites, YouTube are grabbing people’ attention. The Social Media is also buzzing with Covid-19 updates though Social Media and Silicon Valley companies have asked their employees to work from home and follow the preventive measures these include Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and Search Giant Google.
TIKTOK’s global growth and expansion : a bubble or reality ?
Social media has offered amazing tools and apps that have revolutionized the lifestyle of people. Social networks always keep you connected with your friends, colleagues and family. Some creative apps have become very popular in recent times especially among the enthusiastic youth who create funny clips with the help of TikTok.
Tiktok is the greatest platform for creating short mobile videos. These videos contribute to inspire creativity and bring smiles on the faces of people even amid pandemic and lockdowns. The app has become very popular even in Pandemic and as some of the best informative and educational content went Viral.
Tiktok is the subsidiary of Grand Tech Startup Byetdance -a leading Chinese Startup with mushrooming growth. TikTok has always been expanding its reach worldwide due to its aggressive expansion programs. At present, Tiktok has offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, and Tokyo.
Tiktok was founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. Video sharing is the most popular segment among youth and the company has tapped tremendous growth. The Company is also called douyin in China but its global version is called Tiktok. The continual growth empowered it to acquire its American rival app musical.ly. The Company has expanded its outreach globally.
New Dimensions i.e. Online Education
The covid-19 has affected the Education badly throughout the world and the online digital education has been getting ground. Most of the Schools, Colleges, Universities, Coaching centres and Academies have anchored to Online Education such as live lectures, quizzes, Presentations and Webinars. Tiktok has announced to enter the online Education in India as some of the content uploaded on Tiktok related to Education and learning has become viral earning millions of views and generating great revenue prompting Tiktok to enter the world of Education.
Tiktok has already interacted with content creators and firms in India to Provide innovative Learning material as all the educational institutions are closed for an indefinite period and Tiktok finds it the perfect time to enter the world of Education.
According to statistics that social Media app used by more than 200 million users every month in India and Tiktok will cover the range of Science and Math related topics to help students learn from this service.
It has partnered with tech startups Vedanta, Toppr, Made Easy and Gradeup that will produce educational content for TikTok. It is also collaborating with social enterprises Josh Talks and the Nudge Foundation to mentor 5,000 people across India.
Continuing Growth amid Pandemic
According to reports of Forbes and Bloomberg, Byetdance surpasses Uber growth as it has become the top Startup with value at $78 Billion. Byetdance is the parent company of Tiktok that runs various services. Byetdance has made London as its strong base owing to trade war of the US with China in the aftermath of the Wuhan covid-19 outbreak. Trump Administration has imposed limitations on Chinese companies to pressurize China to accept US’ demands. Byetdance has attracted many professionals from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Apple to establish a strong hub at London to expand its outreach in Europe.
Hiring than Firing amid Pandemic: A big surprise
It is really surprising that when the biggest companies and Franchises are constantly laying off their employees owing to prolonged lockdowns due to Covid-19, The Parent company of Tiktok, the Byetdance has gone on a hiring spree and plans to recruit 10000 professionals in engineering, software and marketing fields that has stunned the world as even tech giants Google, Yahoo, Microsoft have laid off their staff and closed their offices over the covid-19 outbreak advising their employees to work from home.
Increasing Visibility of Byetdance Globally
With the ambitious journey of growth and reaping the enormous benefits, the company has no more remained a secret for the world as its subsidiary Tiktok has broken all the records of usability and popularity exploring new frontiers with successful footprint. The recent leap of Tiktok to launch its Education initiative in India will further its grip in the Asian markets.
Will the bubble burst or Sustain Market Shocks?
The Byetdance has established footprints in Asia and Europe building strong basis and marketing its services, it is estimated that it can sustain the jolts of pandemic and will retain its position as some reports regarding bubble reputation will fade away forever as the popularity graph of the company maintains upward trend and keeps going.
The majority of the world population is youth so if Tiktok focuses on youth-related interests by adopting AI practices, it has already achieved the milestone.
The Tech experts argue that TikTok has foreseen opportunity amid pandemic when the entire markets have crashed, Offices, Business, schools, colleges have been closed and stock markets crashed, even in such circumstances, if a company keeps hiring that means it established its strong bases so the bubble is not going to burst likely in post-Covid-19 World provided that it adheres to its policies of customer retention, market intelligence and the most important Artificial intelligence to explore the interests of users and offering more relevant content.
Besides profits, Tiktok pledged a huge amount for Vaccine development for Africa under its Tiktok for Good endeavours.
What will the post-COVID world look like?
Although virologists have been warning of the risks of a global pandemic since the SARS outbreak in 2003, the world was still mostly unprepared when confronted with the COVID-19 crisis. However, it was also unlucky.
It was unfortunate that the pandemic came in the run-up to a US presidential election that has created an environment as politically polarized as any the country has experienced. As a result, much of the US media coverage of, and debate about, the virus and the global policies needed to deal with its effects have been more about the presidential race rather than the pandemic.
This has obviously had a clear effect on international politics because of the importance of the role of the US and its global leadership.
It was also bad luck that the health crisis came at a time of high tensions between the US and the second largest global power, China, where the virus originated. This further complicated any potential global unified response.
As a result of the global uncertainty, it is difficult to forecast how critical aspects of the crisis, which seems likely to continue for at least another 12 months, will play out in the Middle East, and also what a post-COVID world might look like.
One certainty is that most countries will be forced to shift their focus and resources to domestic matters rather than regional issues.
The virus and the resultant shutdowns imposed to “flatten the curve” of infections have had, and will continue to have, devastating consequences on economies and national budgets. It seems that despite the soft reopening of parts of economies around the world, the current health concerns will prevent a full restoration of business activities for some time, especially if the number of infections and deaths start to rise again after governments relax precautionary measures.
In our increasingly interconnected world, it is difficult to determine whether any country will come out on top economically, and consequently geopolitically, especially given mounting levels of debt.
Countries able to borrow in their own currency seem to be at an advantage; this applies mainly to the US and the EU (if the European countries can unify their policies), and indirectly also explains the current debate in the Gulf about the unpegging of currencies.
Another certainty is that with less money available, wars and proxy wars will become prohibitively expensive and all parties will be forced to scale down their ambitions. As a result, aggression will be reduced and consensus and agreement might be more readily reached. Countries and their allies or proxies who have refused to sit at the negotiation table might now change their minds and mellow, or perhaps even be forced to completely withdraw from conflict zones.
Take Iran, for instance, which has been targeted recently by a successful US policy of maximum pressure. The country is facing problems domestically and, with the added pressure of low oil prices, it will be less able to maintain its financial support to the Houthis in Yemen, the militias in Iraq, and Hezbollah.
Does that mean Tehran will cease its meddling? Nothing is certain but domestic turmoil might force it to do so.
As Iran’s problems have grown, the region has witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic the emergence of a more assertive Turkey. This has happened despite the fact the country is also suffering economically.
It has been a long time in the making. Turkish involvement has spread to many regional issues beyond its normal national security zone. Its involvement in neighboring Syria is understandable, given that the conflict there directly threatens Turkey’s security. More interesting is the Turkish interest in Libya, where Ankara is pushing for a continued presence with no apparent direct threat or rationale to explain this. This is happening while it also increases political rhetoric that promises continued interference in the domestic affairs of Arab countries in the years to come.
A closer look at the issues reveals that Turkey is focusing its involvement on key points on Europe’s energy routes. This is not surprising, as Europe remains Ankara’s main and constant focus. So, Turkey is now directly competing with Russia — the biggest supplier of gas to Europe — in Syria, where Iran is also strongly entrenched as the country is a key Mediterranean access point for its gas and energy deliveries to Europe.
Turkey is challenging Russia for control of the tap that provides Europe with its energy stability, and this explains its involvement in Libya and other countries. The same logic explains Ankara’s negative reaction to the Israeli-Greek-Cypriot gas-pipeline project, EastMed. This motivates its strategy, as it hopes to leverage it to make more gains in the region.
Therefore, we can expect an increased Turkish focus on the Mediterranean and on supply-chain routes and access points for energy, as well as merchandise being shipped from the East to Europe.
On that point, the land routes of China’s Belt and Road Initiative include one that goes through Russia and another that passes through Turkey. This massive project is also something Turkey is well aware of, and Ankara is striving to ensure it has a presence on key points along the BRI’s Maritime Silk Road. Once again, it is being guided not by national security concerns but a desire to increase its regional clout.
It is difficult to forecast how critical aspects of the corona crisis will play out in the Middle East.
Khaled Abou Zahr
While Russia and Turkey face off on the ground over an increasing number of issues, it is interesting to note the apparent lack of any direct involvement by the US or China, the two biggest global powers, and, surprisingly, the total absence of European nations, which should be the most concerned about what is happening.
In weighing how global and regional powers will direct their foreign policies and manage existing conflict zones, their own domestic political, economic and social stability will play an important role.
Yet, apparent weaknesses might invite bold moves and dangerous power-grab attempts. This delicate balance will be the key driver for international policies in the coming years. One might say that uncertainty and volatility have spread from the stock-markets to the geopolitical arena.
- Khaled Abou Zahr is the CEO of Eurabia, a media and tech company. He is also the editor of Al-Watan Al-Arabi.
Courtesy : Arabnews.pk
US warns of ‘consequences’ if China abandons trade deal
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday he expects China to uphold a trade deal reached with Washington this year, and warned of “consequences” if the country did not.
The comments come amid a sharp drop in global trade caused by the coronavirus pandemic as well as a dispute between the two powers over fault for the spread of the virus, which first broke out in Wuhan, China.
The US and China in January signed an agreement to end a nearly two year-long trade war, that included a commitment by Beijing to buy an additional $200 billion in American goods over the next two years.
“I’m expecting them to meet their obligations,” Mnuchin said on Fox Business Network.
“I have every reason to expect that they honour this agreement and if they don’t, there would be very significant consequences in the relationship and in the global economy as to how people would do business with them.”
However, relations between Washington and Beijing have soured in recent weeks, with US President Donald Trump blaming China for the pandemic, and threatening tariffs.
The US has been hit with tens of millions of layoffs as the virus has spread, significantly weakening the previously solid economy, which Trump was counting on to win re-election in November.
The trade agreement signed in January includes $77.7 billion in additional purchases from the manufacturing sector, $52.4 billion from the energy sector and $32 billion in agricultural products.
The US currently runs a trade deficit with China, and the objective is to realign the trade balance between the two countries.
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