By Paul Yang Mar 02, 2020
Alongside audiences worldwide, we have watched the escalation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in China and overseas with great sadness. The impact on human lives – from patients, to medical professionals, to each of their loved ones – has been devastating. And in spite of the many great efforts to quell the spread of the virus, the need for health care services, supplies and relief is immense. This is particularly true in the virus epicenter of Hubei Province.
For KKR, China is far more than a place where we do business: it’s the home of many members of our team and their families, and the home of tens of thousands employees at our portfolio companies. The safety and wellbeing of these individuals is our top priority, and their distress is ours.
Over the past few weeks, KKR has been organizing a response to this threat in our backyard. In addition to launching a KKR Cares campaign in which members of our global team have been making contributions to two global non-profit organizations that support frontline health workers and institutions responding to the crisis – Give2Asia and Direct Relief – our teams in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong have made monetary donations to the Hanchuan People’s Hospital (汉川市人民医院) located in the second-hardest hit city in Hubei Province that hasn’t received the same level of funding, supplies or resources as many of the facilities in the city of Wuhan.
These efforts come in addition to the specific initiatives carried out by our portfolio companies in China.
As supplies of basic healthcare and food resources in many Chinese provinces continue to be squeezed by overwhelming demand and restrictions, our portfolio companies, including Kareway Health, NVC Lighting, Jiangsu Yuguan Modern Agriculture and COFCO Meat, have contributed to the relief efforts. Together, these companies have assisted in the construction of new healthcare facilities and ensuring a steady supply of food to the hardest hit province of Hubei.
Technology also plays an important role in supporting the many thousands of people who are working and studying from home during this challenging period. Our portfolio companies Cue & Co., ByteDance, Huohua and Xingsheng Youxuan have been leveraging technologies to provide innovative solutions for personal healthcare monitoring, study-at-home programs and online purchase of daily essentials at affordable prices despite supply shortages. (I note of some of these specific contributions below)
Many of these companies – as well as other portfolio companies in China and worldwide – have leveraged their resources to make donations of masks, protective medical scrubs, goggles and other medical supplies directly to the hospitals in China that are on the front lines battling the coronavirus.
China is just one location where the needs are immense. We are closely watching the developments in Korea, Japan, Italy and so many other places worldwide – deeply meaningful locations where our team and our companies live and work. Our thoughts go out to all those affected by this outbreak, and our firm looks to support our friends and companies worldwide as the virus escalates.
We are optimistic that the worst will pass, but in the meantime, every little bit helps and we sincerely hope that any small contribution can bring just a little bit of relief in this time of need.
|Two hospitals managed by Kareway Health – Anhui HeTian and Guangdong Hemai – actively participate in epidemic control by setting up new fever clinics and quarantine areas. Since January 23, these new facilities have supported more than 41,000 patient visits.|
|NVC Lighting has donated a wide range of lighting equipment to the newly constructed emergency hospitals in Huoshenshan, Leishenshan, Guanggusan and Anlu, as well as necessary lighting delivered to patient observation areas across the country.|
|Agricultural companies Jiangsu Yuguan Modern Agriculture Technology and COFCO Meat have ensured the supplies of thousands of tons of mushrooms and meat products, respectively, to Wuhan and have continued frequent deliveries to ensure neighborhood markets and supermarkets in Wuhan have ample food supply.|
|Cue & Co. has collaborated with partners to develop AI-based disease control solutions which combine automatic temperature check, crowd traffic monitoring and big data integration that generate real-time alerts for human verification.|
|ByteDance developed location-based filters that allow users to easily access the latest health and safety information for their cities of residence, while Toutiao’s health channel airs information about available medical resources, hospitals and fever clinics. The app also provides medical guidance, disease prevention tips and a directory of online hospitals.|
|Digital education platform Huohua has provided free online courses to all children between the ages of three to nine, supporting teachers and parents nationwide as families remain at home.|
|In spite of logistical and supply chain challenges, e-commerce platform Xingsheng Youxuan has taken measures to ensure enough high-quality supplies – including masks, hand sanitizers and disinfectants – are accessible to customers at controlled prices.|
|Fujian Sunner donated to a poverty-alleviation charity to ensure necessary disease prevention materials made its way to underprivileged citizens most in need of resources.|