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China’s Tech Scene during the Coronavirus Outbreak

Stella Xu
Stella Xu
Feb 4 · 3 min read

The Coronavirus outbreak in China since December 2019 has influenced the daily life of billions. While many people stay at home with the extended Chinese New Year holiday, tech is playing a significant role in the fight against the deadly virus.

I spent last week in China and here are my observations.

Telehealth application

Coronavirus spreads extremely rapidly. With an increasing number of confirmed cases, the hospitals in the most infected areas Hubei Province are overloaded. In other less infected areas, people with symptoms are hesitant to go to hospitals because there is a high risk of cross-infection.

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Self-driving robots are used in hospitals to distribute food and medicines.

This created soaring demand for telehealth consultations.

Platforms such as DingXiang Doctor, Alibaba, Weibo, Tencent, JD, Chunyu Doctor, Haodf and Guahao launched Coronavirus consultation service, where patients can book in online sessions with certified doctors. Free consultations provided by volunteer doctors are also available at some of these platforms.

E-commerce & delivery platforms

People are discouraged from going out to prevent the further spread of the virus. Most restaurants and shopping centres (e.g. Apple, starbucks and haidilao) are temporarily closed.

On the other hand, e-commerce delivery platform such as SF Express, Freshhema, Meituan and Eleme are getting a busy Chinese New Year season.

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Rumour detection sites

Rumours spread faster than truth.

This January, people consumed more news than usual. Information is frequently shared via social media platforms such as Weibo, Douyin/Tiktok, and WeChat.

Rumour collection and detection sites are becoming more popular.

WeChat’s rumour debunker app that collects all the popular fake news identified by organisations such as police and science academy. You can find out all the relevant fake news you have previously read in the WeChat platform. The app now has more than 235k daily reads, reaching 300M WeChat users.

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Wechat rumor debunker

Big data in epidemic prediction

Big data and cloud computing enable more accurate reporting, visualisation and prediction of virus infection.

An app where can search the public transport records of confirmed patients attracted 35M times within 4 days.

Baidu published a Chinese New Year migration map, which shows that the spread of the Coronavirus is positively correlated with the migration time of people out of Wuhan.

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Baidu migration map

Accountable charity

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12M people watched the constructions of Wuhan’s new hospitals live

8.7 billion Yuan was donated to battle against the Coronavirus. Charities are urged to provide a higher level of accountability and transparency. Web streaming and detailed records are published in social media by responsible charities.

My heart goes out to families who are impacted by the Coronavirus. I respect the brave doctors, nurses, builders and all other people who are combating the Coronavirus.

Main Sequence Ventures

Stella Xu

Written by

Stella Xu

deeptech investing @mseq.vc

Main Sequence Ventures

Useful thoughts from the front line of big science and venture.

Stella Xu

Written by

Stella Xu

deeptech investing @mseq.vc

Main Sequence Ventures

Useful thoughts from the front line of big science and venture.

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