What are the innovative strategies in the ‘new normal’ commercial environment? Although there are signs that COVID-19 is being contained in some regions in Asia, it is still taking time for local economic activities to recover as the pandemic threat has yet to be eradicated globally. According to a survey released by the Hong Kong government in June, both large and small-and-medium-sized enterprises were still seeing subdued business sentiment. To understand what innovative strategies the traditional industries can adopt under such a challenging business environment, China Daily Asia Leadership Roundtable organized a virtual roundtable with prominent speakers Mr Suthiphand CHIRATHIVAT, executive director, Central Group, and executive director, ASEAN Studies Center at Chulalongkorn University; Ms Elaine SHIU, director, Ejj Holding Limited, and COO, Luways Travel Company Limited; and Mr Sunny TAN, executive vice-president, Luen Thai Holding, and deputy chairman, Federation of Hong Kong Industries. Below are some of the key points made by them: The pandemic is a big test and even big businesses are no safe haven now. As an apparel and bag manufacturer and supplier primarily for US brands, such as Ralph Lauren, Coach, Tory Burch and Kate Spade, Luen Thai Holding is facing big problems due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Sunny TAN: Historically, the period from April to July is Luen Thai’s production season. But this year, customers have canceled orders, while the company is witnessing tight cash flow due to the extended credit terms. It’s difficult, but we still managed to navigate through the problems by working with banks and our customers. In order to survive the epidemic, it is vital for entrepreneurs to have good financial management and think out of the box. Sunny TAN: It’s a tough time for the industry and only the fittest will survive, only the one who has the right financial management and is willing to bring down the overhead and operating costs will survive. Luen Thai has been in survival mode, cutting all non-essential expenses, trying really hard to lower overheads and, unfortunately, having to let go some employees. Suthiphand CHIRATHIVAT: All kinds of businesses need to be truly resilient, innovative, creative, and see what stands as the real value with the kind of future society and the world we are moving into. Digital transformation is significant in the post-pandemic world, and what we are doing is to think of what technologies can fascinate consumers and how to respond to the changing consumer habits. Elaine SHIU: For now, we have to focus on local tours in order to survive. Over the past six months or so, people were completely stuck in Hong Kong and could not travel outside. This really hurts local travel agencies like our one. Organizing local tours is really an opportunity for travel agencies to survive at the moment and also one of the new trends against the backdrop of the pandemic.