Overseas firms lend helping hand to China in coronavirus fight

Overseas firms 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 (about 1.4 million U.S. dollars) and one million dollars, respectively, to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation to aid medical workers and purchase supplies, according to the companies' websites.

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.

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 January 25 to February 13, and will halve those charges for malls outside Wuhan from January 25 to February 9.

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.

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.

As of Monday, more than 200 overseas companies operating in China had donated cash and materials worth over 1.3 billion yuan to support the epidemic control efforts in the country, 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.

(With input from Xinhua)