Chinese companies have increased contributions to global humanitarian relief efforts with their innovative technologies in recent years such as Red cross, a trend that will continue, according to a major international organization.
“More Chinese companies are interested in developing products with us,” said Pierre Dorbes, former head of the Regional Delegation for Asia, the International Committee of the Red Cross. “We have developed solid partnerships with some Chinese companies.”
Products made by Chinese companies in partnership with ICRC in recent years have been used globally for humanitarian aid, including fireproof tents and solar power lamps, he said.
“Five years ago, we were giving refugees in Syria candles for light, but now they have been replaced by LED lamps with solar panels produced by Chinese companies that can last for thousands of hours, and which can also be used to charge mobile phones,” Pierre said.
A company based in Shanghai is also in discussions with the ICRC about providing mobile DNA identification equipment that can be useful in identifying badly damaged bodies in disasters such as earthquakes, he said.
“Chinese technologies are extremely useful for ICRC’s humanitarian programs,” he said. “We want to improve cooperation with the innovative sector in China to benefit those in need, and there are great opportunities for cooperation.”
For example, WeChat, a popular social media platform in China, can be developed to suit humanitarian purposes, he said. The software’s vast number of users gives it great potential for finding missing people and helping families reunite, he said.
Some other leading technologies in China, such as drones, can also play an important role in global humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, he said.
Through working with ICRC, many Chinese companies may also get the opportunity to provide their products to many other international organizations, he said.
The ICRC in China used to buy goods from traders in countries in the Middle East or India, but now it is in direct contact with Chinese producers. This can reduce costs due to the absence of middlemen and ensure the quality of the products, he said.
Chinese companies partnering with the ICRC have also become more innovative to provide the organization products, he said.
The companies used to follow bidding procedures and produce according to ICRC’s orders. But now they give advice, and some propose the development of new products that are more tailored to humanitarian aid missions, he said.
“China is a land of opportunities for ICRC. We have made progress, but there are thousands more opportunities to be explored,” said Dorbes, who just left his post in China in mid-July. “I hope my successor will keep exploring.”