Foreign firms lend helping hand to China for coronavirus fight

 |  Xinhua

Foreign firms across diverse industries have lent their support to China's fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak through donations and fee reductions.

Global mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto donated 10 million yuan ($1.4 million) and $1 million, respectively, to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation to aid medical workers and purchase supplies, according to the companies' websites.

BHP CEO Mike Henry expressed the company's wish to stand by the Chinese people to fight the outbreak in a note on the company's WeChat page.

Foreign firms including the Singapore-listed property developer CapitaLand and Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis donated medical supplies like masks, goggles and protective suits to Chinese hospitals.

Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis and an expert on public health, has also expressed deep concern over the epidemic while speaking highly of the control and prevention measures put in place by the Chinese government.

On top of donations, CapitaLand said it will waive rent and management fees for all of its malls in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak from Jan 25 to Feb 13, and will halve those charges for malls outside Wuhan from Jan 25 to Feb 9.

BHP said in an update on its WeChat page that the company has a lot of faith in China in the long run.

Over 200 foreign companies in China had donated cash and materials worth over 1.3 billion yuan by Monday for the epidemic control efforts in China, according to the China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment.

Chinese authorities have also urged local officials to help foreign-funded companies with work resumption and operation amid the anti-epidemic fight including through supporting large foreign investment projects and facilitating the introduction of foreign investment and capital.

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