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Opportunities arise as Chinese telecommuting market doubles

China’s telecommuting market is anticipated to double in size this year due to the spread of COVID-19, opening new possibilities for Korean tech firms, the Korea International Trade Association’s Beijing office said Wednesday through a report.

The Chinese telecommuting market is expected to reach 44.9 billion yuan ($6.3 billion) in 2020, about double that of 2019’s estimated 22.9 billion yuan and nearly four times 2018’s 11.7 billion yuan.

This is due to the increased number of days of telecommuting during the COVID-19 disinfection and fumigation periods.

“Cloud computing, various unmanned services, home entertainment and more may become a norm in business-to-consumer, business-to-business and throughout the general society,” said KITA Beijing’s country head Park Min-young.

Prior to the pandemic, China had been relatively hesitant on telecommuting culture compared to the similarly sized US economy.

However, according to KITA while the overall Chinese economy has been showing lackluster performance through the COVID-19 period, the sectors of remote working, online education, telehealth and online grocery shopping have risen in consumer demand.

In March, around 100 million people used 20 million video meetings on Alibaba’s communication platform DingTalk, prompting the tech giant to recruit 1,000 more employees.

Since end-January, over 970,000 people have taken online courses on XinDongFang, China’s biggest online education service.

During the Chinese New Year holiday in February, those who used telehealth applications for online health checkups numbered as many as 6.7 million people -- a 30 percent growth from the same period the year before.

China’s telehealth market had been 19 billion yuan, four times that of 2015’s. KITA suggested that the growth may be steeper this year.

Online consumption via Tencent, Jingdong and Alibaba is rising three to four times on-year, gradually edging out real-world shopping.

“This trend is expected to continue. Korean firms must actively make use of online platforms to enter the local markets,” the report said.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (