It has been reported in the Financial Times that a number of providers in video streaming, remote working tools and online gaming are benefiting from the breakout of Covid-19. A large number of people are self isolating and still need to connect with the outside world, but people are generally heeding caution and not attending major events with large numbers of people. Providers delivering the internet services described above are profiting from people wanting to maintain contact with the outside world through the power of the internet.
You would imagine all online businesses are doing well from the outbreak of the virus but that is not so. China’s number one search engine Baidu have provided a warning that Q1 revenues will be between 5% and 13% below revenues of the same period last year. Why is this you may ask? Advertising Revenue. With the majority of businesses closed across China they have withdrawn from their online marketing activity which is not good news for Baidu as three quarters of its revenue is from advertising.
As discussed in a previous post titled ‘Researchers are using AI and Social Media to fight the coronavirus’ there are a number of emerging technologies being used to fight the virus. In addition to those discussed in my previous post examples include a robot developer TMIRob which deployed robots to disinfect hospital wards in Wuhan. A start up by the name of Antwork using drones to deliver medical supplies and a Canadian start-up called BlueDot who used AI on news reports, government documents and social media platforms to predict the outbreak before it was announced.
Chinese start-ups are also having an extremely difficult time as Venture Capitalists are unable to meet and assess start-ups and their founders are therefore unable to get a feel for a venture, as this is best done face-to-face. This has essentially cut off access to funding for these new businesses as VC’s are no longer bringing deals to their investment committees.