COVID-19 has been the greatest protagonist of 2020. The virus impacted all businesses around the world, bringing a cooling effect for many firms while it also accelerated growth for others.
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, countries scrambled to close borders and restrict travel. Sectors related to travel and hospitality took a heavy hit in the first half of the year as business nearly ground to a halt.
Many restaurants in the food industry faced the harsh reality of fewer customers as lockdowns were imposed all around the world. During this time, on-demand delivery services for food, fresh produce, and household items gained in popularity.
Online and digital forms of entertainment also saw increasing demand, as staying at home and limiting social gatherings were widely encouraged by governments. Tech companies operating in the online education field, and remote working, also experienced historical high demand.
The year has also been marked by financial scandals affecting Chinese companies, with one name taking the top spot on this list: Luckin Coffee. The rising star in the Chinese coffee scene was discovered to have inflated over USD 300 million of revenues in 2019. Edtech firm TAL Education also revealed inflated class sales, while GSX was the target of short attacks by Muddy Waters Research, together with online streaming service iQiyi.
In the wake of these high-profile scandals and increased scrutiny from US regulators, Chinese firms turned their focus to domestic IPOs in Hong Kong and Shanghai. JD.com and NetEase launched secondary listings in Hong Kong in June. However, not all listings have gone as planned: Ant Group’s widely anticipated dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong, which was expected to raise USD 35 billion in what would have become the world’s largest IPO, was halted by Chinese regulators.
To learn more about these and other events that marked the year, check out our year in review video:
To watch other videos by KrASIA, please visit our YouTube channel.