The world economy has been hit hard by the Covid pandemic, but the first signs of a recovery are now beginning to emerge.
Didi Chuxing, which is China’s biggest ride-hailing company, has seen its ride sharing orders in China this month recover to levels seen over the same period a year earlier, its founder and Chief Executive Cheng Wei said. Didi’s peak daily ride sharing orders surpassed 30 million, Cheng said in a statement on Saturday, adding that the company’s bike sharing business, Didi Bike, saw daily orders reaching 10 million. The recovery in orders comes as most of China has reopened for business after the coronavirus outbreak. The country, where the virus emerged late last year, has seen a sharp fall in cases since March.
Data from China ought to be taken with a pinch of salt, but there are now several indications that the country, which was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, is beginning to emerge from the crisis. Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated, has now been open for over a month, and flights and buses in the city are also running. The number of new cases has already sharply decelerated, and the country claims to have only 65 active cases at the moment.
India, of course, is still struggling with the pandemic — the number of cases is still sharply rising, and the state of Maharashtra alone now has seen more cases than the overall number of cases China had seen. But the virus had started off in India a few months after China, and it’s possible that India will also follow the same trajectory as its eastern neighbor. If India can effectively manage its healthcare system, and enforce social distancing guidelines, India might end up in the same state as China is in a few months.
This should come as good news for India’s startups and companies, which have been hit hard by the pandemic. Ride-hailing companies in India have laid off large numbers of staff as their revenues have ground to a halt — Ola has fired 1400 employees since the crisis hit, and Uber has fired 600 employees. Other companies in the hospitality sector have also laid off employees. But China’s numbers — if they are to be trusted — should bring Indian companies some hope. Domestically, there are other good signs too — UPI payments in May rebounded to February levels after dropping nearly 40 percent during the lockdown. India’s still fighting hard to beat the pandemic, but some data points are beginning to emerge that there may be light at the beginning of the tunnel.