HONG KONG, CHINA / ACCESSWIRE / April 30, 2020 / The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the very core of humanity, and has united friends, families, and colleagues to fight for the greater good.
During the peak of China’s coronavirus pandemic, Unique1Asia Limited, a Hong Kong-based consulting and trade company, made the decision to allocate their time, resources, and global network to help hospitals, frontline doctors, clients, family, friends, and underserved populations to fight against COVID-19.
Yuval Golan, an Israeli entrepreneur who heads Unique1Asia and has been active in China’s Hainan Province for nearly a decade, joined forces with a few old colleagues and friends from SEMPROGROUP and Hairusalem Technology. Together, the cohort embarked on a global hunt for medical supplies.
Golan traveled to eight countries in ten days: Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, France, Israel, Uzbekistan, Turkey, and Brazil, and negotiated deals in India and Bangladesh. The rest of the team was deployed to Germany and Poland.
The cohort discovered that entrepreneurs, individuals had turned to previously untapped sources of medical supplies in various countries to take the new opportunities. Equipped with cash and trucks, they took over new factories and production lines, opening up their own networks of local suppliers.
During stable times, those financing an undertaking such as this would rely on bank wires, flexible and negotiable terms, and contracts; but this epidemic has created new rules. “In light of the new reality, the Chinese authorities were smart and very efficient,” recalls Golan. “They entrusted legitimate suppliers and companies with procuring equipment for them globally. Our team was a perfect example. We were able to adapt quickly, were available 24/7, spoke a total of eight languages, and provided results no matter where we were.”
The rules of the game were extremely dynamic – changing hourly, so it seemed. For example, the group’s first procurement deal was made in India, but suddenly, exporting masks was banned. At the suggestion of an old friend, Golan then flew to Uzbekistan to pick up equipment; however, the supplier reneged on their promises, and upon arrival, Golan discovered no stock and no production capacity. Moreover, he found himself in physical danger, but luckily, thanks to the company’s network in the country, he was eventually able to extract himself from harm.
Turkey was Golan’s next destination, and after researching options there, he set up a new production line. Still, as soon the goods were ready, the local export regulations changed, which limited – and then banned – exports of medical products. Meanwhile, the European team (SEMPROGROUP) was sourcing thermometer guns in Poland and dealing with constant challenges as well.
During this time, Unique1Asia had also been negotiating an alternative deal in Brazil, and was waiting to move on it. Golan arrived in Brazil, and through the company’s network, was able to find a direct, reliable source in one of the largest medical suppliers in the country. The company owner was already burnt out from thousands of requests from other prospective procurers, but Unique 1 quickly built up trust with him and cooperation between the two entities commenced.
The team set up a base camp at the warehouse in Joinville, Brazil, daily inspecting each shipment, checking quality of product, and ensuring smooth operations to guarantee the export process.
Together, Golan and the rest of the cohort shipped out 3.42 million masks to China and over 8 million to Canada, Israel, Italy, and the United States. They also personally donated more than 30,000 items such as surgical masks, N95 masks, and thermometers to the Hainan Red Cross, hospitals in Hainan and Israel, doctors, and individuals.
Golan thought that was the end of his mission…until his loyalty to and love for his country spurred him to reunite the team to help Israel as well. Equipment was sourced outside of Brazil. However, Golan was forced to remain in the country because of flight restrictions, and thus the team decided to set up three operations: in South America, China, and Israel.
Meanwhile, some of Israel’s leading tech entrepreneurs jumped in to help the Israeli government, her hospitals, and other institutions requiring assistance. Unique1Asia joined them as well, providing assistance and advice, and playing a crucial role in the procurement of several thousand ventilators – an extremely scarce item at the time and even now.
The challenges never ended. But nothing got in the way of the team’s humanitarian efforts to procure and deploy equipment to the frontline doctors in China, Israel, and other countries. Team members stayed awake 21 hours a day on average; on several occasions, their cross-border operations kept them up close to 31 hours at one go.
The group puts interpersonal relationships without borders and politics at the very forefront of their operations. Aside from procurement of essential equipment, they are also helping many other countries and organizations by providing data and information. Unique1Asia has committed to carrying on with their mission as long as the threat from COVID-19 still exists. Golan emphasizes, “We genuinely want the story to end with as few casualties as possible, and we wish health and wellness to all. The team is extremely thankful to all the medical teams risking their own lives to save ours.”
They are also thankful to their families and friends, as well as to the Peking University and Kellogg (Northwestern) networks who have assisted along the way. Special thanks to Kerry Logistics, Zhongxin Wanguo, Hainan Airlines, China Southern Airlines, SinoTrans, China Customs (Haikou), Haikou Commerce Department, and other friends and companies who have opened up “green channels” to ensure that the medical supplies are delivered safely and in a timely manner to their destinations.
Globes – Israel Business News. The Medical Equipment Underworld. https://en.globes.co.il/en/article-the-medical-equipment-underworld-1001324693
SOURCE: Unique1Asia Limited
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