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As different as Pollmann's home countries Austria, the Czech Republic, Mexico and China are, they have also dealt with the Corona pandemic in different ways. China was particularly strict, pursuing a strict zero-covid policy for three years. Then, at the end of 2022, there was a turnaround: The restrictions were suddenly lifted.
Based on two members of the international Pollmann family, we would like to give you an insight into local life: On the one hand, we have asked the native HR manager Susan Yuan for an interview. On the other hand, Business Development Manager David Gressl, who has been living in China since 2015, but originally comes from Horn in the Austrian Waldviertel, has his say.
What do you say about the lifting of the Corona measures?
David: Of course, I think the relaxations are good, but it all happened too quickly. From one day to the next, 50 people dropped out because they were ill. All of China was extinct due to the exploding corona numbers - restaurants were closed, hospitals were overcrowded. The easing is good, but it should have been slower with an intermediate stage.
Susan: Personally speaking, the relaxation of the corona restrictions is the necessary way to end the pandemic. Now all of the country is opened, that is more convenient for people lives and for the economic recovery. Everything is getting better and better.
How did the local people deal with the situation over the long period of time?
David: At the beginning, people were very positive about the prevention measures, because they had noticed that the virus had spread relatively quickly around the world. This kept the numbers of infected people low at the beginning, which also had a positive impact on the economy. Unfortunately, three years is too long and therefore a certain restlessness had already been felt among the population, especially then with the appearance of the not so aggressive Omicron variant.
Susan, as HR manager, how did you experience the atmosphere among your colleagues?
Susan: At the first beginning, many staff were highly scared because of the rapidly expanding worse epidemic status of Wuhan province. However, this was mitigated by real-time status updates, preventive measures and transparency. The horror has gradually subsided and the virus is now almost irrelevant for the employees because there are only very few cases.
Business Development Manager David Gressl and HR-Manager Susan Yuan tell about the situation in china.
How has the past three years of lockdowns affected your professional life?
David: Above all, I was in the home office a lot. The entire automotive market has experienced ups and downs, which made planning very difficult. Added to this was the fact that certain materials were simply not available. Everyday work was difficult, but we got creative and always found solutions. Our production only stopped in April 2022, otherwise it has always continued.
Susan: Many companies were in a mess. I deeply felt that high level leadership and good decision-making skills could help the company to maintain optimal statement. That motivated me to move forward together with Pollmann through long-term planning.
And how can we imagine the private effects?
Susan: Like everyone, I was exposed to many changes: The kids education changed to online classes, there was an appointment register for hospital service, less travel opportunities and you had to wear a mask everywhere you went.
David: I got married and in September we had a baby. Due to the lockdowns, it was not possible to travel, so there was more time for family life. That's why I see the private effects rather positively. Unfortunately, however, friendships were broken. Because of these lockdowns, many people decided to return home.
Before Corona, you visited your family in Austria twice a year, David. At the beginning of the year, you were back here for the first time after a long break. How did that feel?
David: It was of course very nice, at all because my wife and I traveled for the first time with our child. The three weeks were full of visits, after all, I missed quite a bit.
You went to China for Pollmann. What advantages can you gain from living there and what do you miss about Austria?
David: Privately, I appreciate the ordering services in China, the cabs that arrive quickly and cost only a fraction, and cashless payment. When I returned home, it was quite a change to suddenly need cash again. What I miss about Austria, on the other hand, is the peace and quiet and just being able to switch off. In China, life is hectic from morning to night.
Positive outlook for the future
Of course, the years since the outbreak of the pandemic have also been challenging from an economic point of view. Nevertheless, Pollmann China has always succeeded in maintaining its market positioning and customer satisfaction at a high level. In the long term, the opening of China will bring about a positive development of the automotive market, thus not only a market recovery but also a significant growth can be expected. The chip crisis should also soon be completely overcome, which is why Pollmann China is extremely optimistic about the future.
Currently, Pollmann China employs around 400 people.
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