Dr. Kayla Leung, Global Entrepreneur
The most prevalent topic right now is undoubtedly COVID-19.
Every industry across the globe is facing unprecedented difficulties with the virus. In East Asia, many SMEs (small and medium enterprises), particularly those in tourism, F&B, and retail have gone or are on the verge of going bankrupt. Airlines all over world are having the most difficult times facing all the flight cancellations due to ever-changing travel restrictions. The United Kingdom is expected to announce mass groundings of aircraft and potentially huge redundancies, even layoffs of tens of thousands of jobs in the aviation industry as the virus escalates.
Governments are busy with coming up with aids to ease the economic difficulties while banks get non-stop application for business loans. Where is this all heading?
By the end of February, the demand of surgical masks have been at least “100 times higher than normal, and prices are up to 20 times higher.” The global shortage for masks may get worse as demands from medical professionals could not even be met.
In China, there were a bunch of surgical mask sellers who made a lot of money when the virus first broke out. It was impossible to buy masks in China when all the factories were closed. Here is an example of how they made a lot of money during this crisis. A seller would first contact a mask production factory to ask for the price for an order of one million masks. The factory would come back with the quote of $0.30 per mask. The seller would then list each mask at $0.36 online and, very soon, the masks would all be sold out. The seller also puts out a refund guarantee if supplies do not last. Now he uses the money raised from these buyers to pay for the one million masks he has ordered. When he receives the masks, he now puts another listing on another online marketplace at $ 0.57 per mask that are ready-to-ship. He then proceeds to refund all the buyers from the first round. The seller, without having to put up with any capital, easily makes approximately $270,000 without violating any rules and regulations. This was the practice many mask sellers used in February before mask production picks up within the country. The same thing happened to the sales of other supplies such as alcohol, hand sanitizers and gloves. Unethical? Depends on your perspective. Smart? Yes.
Many conferences and tech events are being cancelled all over the world. The much anticipated Collision, the biggest tech conference in North America, will be going online. Schools are being closed down for a minimum of two weeks. Many companies are asking employees to work from home. The world is experiencing unprecedented demands for online conference tools. Amidst the market crashes these days, prices of video conference stocks such as Zoom and Facebook VR Goggles shot up like meteors. The stock prices of pharmaceutical and medical supplies companies are on the surge too. Prices of gold are also very strong due to the uncertainties and confusion surround the stocks. Afterall, gold is always the gold standard that has been that world’s hard currency for centuries. Oil is not mentioned here due to a huge decrease in the amount of travels people would be doing in the next few months.
Rather than being dragged down by the impact of the virus or any crisis, it is much better to sense the opportunities. Infectious disease researchers at The University of California San Francisco Biohub predicted that, under the assumption no drug is found effective and made available in the near future, up to 1.5 million American citizens can die from the virus in the next 12-18 months. Would there be any shortage in cremation services? With everything from restaurants to entertainment venues closed, people will need to preoccupy themselves with home entertainment. Perhaps there will be more opportunities that in food-delivery services and online gaming?
In times like these, always ask questions and be in question. As questions can lead to clarity and possibilities. Whereas going into conclusion stops all creations.
About the Author: Kayla Leung is a Global Entrepreneur that owns and manages multiple businesses in tech and financial industries. Kayla’s education includes a doctorate in clinical psychology, a bachelor’s in economics and commerce, and a degree in fashion. The many hats Kayla wears include public speaker, Wealth Creators Anonymous Facilitator, therapist, etiquette consultant, editor, jewelry designer, buyer, contributing writer, columnist, fashion stylist, blogger, marketing manager, business consultant and yoga instructor. With all her experience, she has been facilitating classes and workshops around the world to help others. Her empowering talents spreads across many cultures, languages, and countries across the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the UK and Europe. Follow @drkaylaleung.