Businesses play big role in Sichuan quake rescue

Dozens of domestic companies said on Wednesday that they are actively participating in rescue and relief missions while assessing their business operations in a remote region of Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, which was struck by a severe earthquake.

Most of the firms said that so far there has been no impact on their assets in Jianzhaigou, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture from the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the region on Tuesday night. The death toll was 19 and more than 200 people were reported injured as of press time on Wednesday.

But Jiuzhaigou, a popular tourist destination, has been closed for travelers, as rescue efforts are still underway. It remains unclear how the shutdown would weigh on the economy, which relies heavily on tourism revenue.

More than 30 centrally administered State-owned enterprises (SOEs), including State Grid Corp, China State Construction Engineering Corp, China Railway Construction Corp and Power Construction Corp of China, are assisting the ongoing rescue and relief efforts in Aba, according to a statement from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) on Wednesday. SASAC overses these SOEs.

State Grid’s Sichuan unit set up a team of 181 power emergency workers and dozens of pieces of equipment for rescue missions in the quake-stricken regions to ensure a power supply, according to the statement.

State Construction workers at a construction site in the region responded to the quake, rescuing more than 60 people and providing shelter for more than 260, it said.

The SASAC added that other companies, including Sichuan SOEs, also offered assistance in their respective areas, such as communication and road building.

In a statement on Wednesday, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission also responded to the earthquake by ordering insurance institutions to quickly assess damage and open a fast track for insurances claims resulting from the quake.

“All sectors are actively responding to the earthquake and offering their assistance in the rescue work,” a soldier surnamed Hu of the Aba unit of the Sichuan Armed Police General Corps, which is at the forefront of the rescue mission, told the Global Times on Wednesday. “So far, the rescue work is going very well… we’ve got sufficient resources,” Hu said.

Business impact

While assisting the rescue mission, companies are also assessing their business operations in the region, though no major impact has been reported as of Wednesday.

China Railway Construction told the Global Times that the company is currently conducting an assessment of its assets and operations in and around the region and so far, there have been no casualties or property loss.

China Three Gorges Group and China Communications Construction Co also told the Global Times that its business operations in Sichuan have not been affected by the deadly quake.

Travelers take pictures at the Jiuzhaigou tourist attraction in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province on July 29. Photo: IC

At least three publicly traded companies, which are located or have assets in the region, also said their business operations have not been affected.

Sichuan Minjiang Hydropower Co, which is said to be the only company in Aba that is listed on China’s A-share market, Sichuan Datong Gas Development Co and Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group said their business operations have not been affected, according to media reports and company statements.

Share prices of the three companies saw a mixed reaction to the news on Wednesday, with Minjiang Hydropower seeing a 1.76 percent drop at market close, and Sichuan Datong and Sichuan Yahua both seeing an over 2 percent rise.

However, some hotels and local businesses sustained minor damage to their properties, according to media reports. Nevertheless, most businesses in less-affected areas remained open, also offering assistance to local people, according to Hu, the Armed Police solider.

Meanwhile, China Central Television reported on Wednesday afternoon that Jiuzhaigou’s tourist sites has been closed without a reopening day and travelers have been told to change their visiting plans.

In 2016, Aba received more than 37.61 million domestic and foreign visitors and drew 31.84 billion yuan ($4.77 billion) in revenue, up 11.7 percent from 2015, according to data from the Aba government released in February.

It still remains unclear how the earthquake will impact the local tourism sector and, in turn, the local economy.

Source: Global Times

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