SME Corner: JAKSS

[In this segment, Macau News Agency will seek to talk with local SMEs about the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on their business]

One of the youngest SMEs interviewed for this segment, Taobao delivery pick-up shop company JAKSS (尋寶淘) was founded in May, 2019.

The local company helps deliver purchases in the Chinese online shopping giant owned by the Alibaba group to households in Macau, a business model severely impacted by the movement restrictions imposed by Chinese and Macau authorities.

“Our business mainly relies on the China transportation industry. Chinese policies for the Covid-19 that block most of the city have made our clients unable to receive their products bought on Taobao due to mainland transport suspensions,” founder Anthony Chan told MNA.

Although transport and movement restrictions set in Mainland China have eased gradually as the outbreak has slowly been brought into control, the increase in imported cases reported in the past weeks in the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau led to tighter border policies, worsening JAKSS’s business prospects.

Alibaba, whose platforms sell two-thirds of everything bought online in China, saw its labour workforce severely impacted by the large scale lockdowns enforced in China in January and February.

“In that period, our business was facing a serious problem almost without any income while still having to pay the shop rent and labour cost. As the Covid-19 pandemic was brought under control [in the region], business was resumed,” Anthony added.

Yesterday evening, a sudden announcement by Guangdong authorities announced that all arrivals from outside of mainland China including Macau and Hong Kong be subjected to a 14-day quarantine and coronavirus testing, however, exemptions will be granted for some people working in logistics of essentials goods between Mainland China to Macau and Hong Kong.

The company currently employs four people, two in Macau 2 and two in the mainland, with product delivery works between the mainland and Macau outsourced to a different transportation company.

However, the young company is currently unable to apply the Macau Economic Bureau (DSE) Support Plan for SMEs, even after local authorities reduced the required time in operation for eligible applicants to one year.

The startup is now waiting for that as the Chinese economy goes back on track, so do Taobao orders from local residents.