With the local government's help, Taiwan-funded enterprises in Jiading have gradually overcome difficulties created by the COVID-19 outbreak and are continuing to adjust product structures and marketing strategies, local media reported April 17.
Johnson Fitness, the largest fitness equipment manufacturer in Asia and third largest in the world, epitomizes this trend.
Founded in Taiwan in 1975 and having its manufacturing base in Jiading, Johnson Fitness has long profited from overseas orders. While the COVID-19 outbreak put off its original plan to resume work after the Chinese New Year holiday, the company ran short of fitness equipment and lost numerous overseas orders.
Li Yung-kai, head of the Jiading base, had to face a difficult choice – whether to go back into full production or cut or even stop the production lines.
A silver lining caught his attention when he noticed that on the e-commerce platform Amazon in the United States, sales of household electric treadmills quadrupled in just two weeks.
Sensing the different business climate, the company immediately decided to change its production lines from commercial equipment to household items and its research and development (R&D) center started working on new products and services.
The company's efforts brought great benefits, as its household fitness devices were a hit on e-commerce platforms and sales far exceeded those seen during major holidays such as Black Friday.
"I've planned my work for the whole year," said Lin Chih-yen, chief engineer at the company's R&D center. "We are currently working on the recording of video instruction programs done by personal trainers and also focusing on the development of wearable devices. An app integrating socializing, body building and online shopping is under closed beta tests and will soon be available to the public."
Li Yung-kai said: "Jiading's friendly business environment and supportive policies have provided great convenience for us in manufacturing and foreign trade. With production getting back to normal and new products being developed, our company is expecting a recovery in its business performance in the second half of this year." Statistics from the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Shanghai government show that 92.7 percent of Taiwan-funded enterprises in Shanghai have resumed work and 89 percent of their employees have gone back to work. Manufacturing enterprises have all resumed, and 90 percent of production-oriented service enterprises and 70 percent of life-oriented service enterprises have restarted work.