2020, the year that Blue Concept Asia (BCA) came into being, was a very tough one. COVID-19 emerged from China and brought death and economic disruption across the globe. To date, the pandemic has claimed an estimated 2.15 million lives.
Hong Kong was all quiet at this time last year, its citizens preparing for the Chinese New Year. Then COVID-19 surged, shattering the normalcy, and the World Health Organization declared the pandemic shortly thereafter. International travel was immediately suspended, and fear for life and health led countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Israel, Kuwait, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, the USA, Russia, and Indonesia to close their borders immediately. In Hong Kong, demand for personal protective equipment and cleansing agents escalated. Surgical masks selling normally for HKD 20.00 fetched as high as HKD 300 per box, yet demand for them never subsided.
Businesses have been adversely affected, none worse than the transportation, tourism, hospitality, retail, food & beverage, supply chain, luxury goods, banking and insurance industries. Hong Kong’s visitors dwindled from 217,065 the same day last year to only 1,588 this year. The abrupt decrease of passengers has caused Cathay Dragon to fold up. Others such as Singapore Airlines, Emirates and American Airlines have laid off 4,300, 9000, and 19,000 staff respectively. They rely heavily on freight cargo nowadays to survive.
Other industries and services have had their share of distress, too. For lack of travelers, hotels have been turned into quarantine sites. Service providers such fitness teachers, beauticians, masseurs, party-room operators, taxi drivers have been subsisting on loans. Vacant shop and offices have become very common. The global economy has seemingly stagnated.
Every nation has dealt with the pandemic in the most urgent way according to the circumstances. Panic buying for medical devices has not ceased, especially in Hong Kong. In some countries, the situation has worsened. According to the United States, their COVID death toll has exceeded that of World War II. Now, everyone is in a race against time to find an effective vaccine.
Some companies, fortunately, have been able to create opportunities for themselves. Sellers such as Amazon, Ebay, Zoom, Pfizer, Netflix, Alibaba, and Baidu have been able to capitalize on the reality that consumers make their purchases and need entertainment at home when locked down.
If 2020 has taught us a lesson, it’s that “When the sun is shining, we should repair our roofs.” The days of ease and plenty should be spent preparing for the grimmer days ahead. As of September to November of 2020, Hong Kong’s unemployment rate stood at 6.3%, while its underemployment rate stood at 3.4%. This translates to more than 240,000 jobless and 130,000 underemployed citizens. This stark unemployment numbers shows just how important it is to make investments while and whenever we can so that we may have something to fall back on in dire stretches of time such as a pandemic.
Let us remember 2020 as the year of BCA’s incorporation but leave everything else about it behind. Let us look into 2021, the year of the ox, with renewed strength and hope for new opportunities.
When it comes to wealth planning advisory services, Blue Concept Asia is a name you can trust.