The year 2020 will be remembered for the turbulence caused when a pandemic swept through the world, fundamentally changing people’s way of life, presenting unprecedented challenges to governments worldwide, and forcing businesses to reflect and adapt in order to survive. With this in mind, the Asia Business Council and the Tanoto Center for Asian Family Business and Entrepreneurship Studies at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) embarked on a six-month research project to analyze how Asia Business Council member companies have responded to the pandemic in strategic, innovative, or impactful ways.

Among its many initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Temasek’s investments in medical initiatives best demonstrate its agility, resourcefulness, and innovation. Widely seen as one of the most sophisticated government-owned investors in the world, the Singapore-based company has been applauded for tapping its diverse networks and expertise to find solutions for global shortages of medical supplies such as swabs, testing equipment, and masks.

Collaboration with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) was a recurring theme in Temasek’s initiatives during the pandemic. Not only did this help ramp up local manufacturing capabilities; it also allowed SMEs to thrive in a harsh business environment. Temasek’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt prompted a rethink of the traditional boundaries of philanthropy and social responsibility.