China News Service, August 19. According to Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao, the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce has conducted the “2020 Business Opinion Survey” in the past two months. According to preliminary findings, the epidemic has a direct impact on companies. 80% of the businesses surveyed experienced a decline in turnover, and another 75% reflected a decline in profitability.

  In the survey, the General Chamber of Commerce collected feedback from nearly 1,000 member businesses, 95% of which are small and medium-sized enterprises.

  The survey results show that half of the surveyed businesses believe that the epidemic has had a major impact on their business models. 58% of businesses expect that it will take a year or two for their business to recover to their pre-epidemic levels; 23% are more pessimistic, believing that it will take more than two years to recover.

70% of businesses retain employees and about 8% intend to lay off employees

  Facing the impact of the epidemic, 70% of businesses retained their existing employees, and about 8% of businesses intend to lay off employees.

  The survey shows that the three major challenges faced by enterprises are shortage of funds and cash flow, rising business costs, and uncertain external political and economic prospects. They increase their turnover mainly by finding new business opportunities, accelerating digitalization and adopting technology, and innovating products and services.

  The investigation was conducted before the government announced a new round of aid measures worth 8 billion yuan. The Chamber of Commerce expects to release another more comprehensive report in October.

  Huang Shanzhong, President of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, said at the opening ceremony of the SME Conference and Credit Business Conference held recently: "The General Chamber of Commerce will continue to work with the government to help SMEs overcome immediate challenges, transform and explore new business opportunities. As a corporate representative, I call on everyone to continue to improve their competitive strength and continuously build new capabilities."

  Huang Shanzhong pointed out that due to the inconsistent recovery of various industries, the General Chamber of Commerce hopes that the government can continue to help local enterprises when necessary through methods other than the four rounds of budget assistance.

  Liu Yanling, Minister of State of Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, is the guest of honor at this conference. In her speech, she said that the epidemic has accelerated the structural changes in Singapore's economy. The government hopes to continue to assist local employees and enterprises in accelerating the digitalization process with this additional funding of 8 billion yuan. This includes seizing opportunities in new growth areas such as the Internet, healthcare, and artificial intelligence to better prepare for the future.

  Liu Yanling revealed that the pro-business group under the Ministry of Trade and Industry and business partners have developed the GoBusiness Gov Assist micro-site, which integrates all government departments’ supporting plans for enterprises to facilitate enterprises to understand relevant assistance measures. The website also has an "e-Adviser" function, allowing companies to obtain more targeted information.

  The epidemic has forced the cancellation of large-scale events. The General Chamber of Commerce moved the conference to online this year, attracting more than 2,000 people to sign up. The topics discussed at this year's conference include how companies can seize new opportunities and develop new business opportunities in the new post-epidemic era, and how companies can make good use of technology for digital transformation. (Chen Ziyun)