StarTimes: The Chinese Media Enterprise`s Response to COVID-19 Crisis in Africa

StarTimes: The Chinese Media Enterprise`s Response to COVID-19 Crisis in Africa
Case Code: BSTR620
Case Length: 14 Pages
Period: 2019-2020
Pub Date: 2021
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.400
Organization: StarTimes Group
Industry: Media
Countries: China
Themes: Crisis Management, Business Continuity Planning, International Operations, COVID-19
StarTimes: The Chinese Media Enterprise`s Response to COVID-19 Crisis in Africa
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


The case is about Chinese media company StarTimes Group’s (StarTimes) response strategies to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. Since setting foot in the African continent in 2002, StarTimes had led the continent’s transition from analog to digital services and provided digital TV services to more than 33 million users in 37 countries across the continent. The company’s success in Africa was attributed to its commitment to provide affordable and quality digital TV content to every African household. The outbreak of COVID-19 in Africa in February 2020 saw StarTimes reshaping its corporate strategy. It quickly adapted to the crisis by launching “4 Healthy initiatives” set by StarTimes’ chairman Pang Xinxing (Pang) – Healthy Environment, Healthy Mindset, Healthy Behavior, and Healthy Body. StarTimes adopted internal guidelines to minimize the risk of the virus spreading across all its offices in Africa and trained employees on how to protect themselves. In order to position itself as a trusted source of news and information about the disease, StarTimes launched a dedicated daily news update called the COVID-19 Report, broadcast in multiple languages. To help people know whether they needed medical examination, StarTimes launched the “COVID-19 Self-evaluation and Reference System” on its streaming app StarTimes ON. It also provided home schooling programs for primary and high school students throughout Africa, and launched an integrated e-commerce shopping platform called StarTimes GO to provide people with a technology-friendly shopping experience.

Despite its efforts that saw its consumption grow amidst the COVID-19, StarTimes faced some challenges including rising operational costs, declining ad revenues, and a growing demand for innovative content from customers. In a bid to cope with the economic effects of COVID-19, StarTimes raised the prices of its subscription plans in August 2020, and faced a backlash from customers. Amid the uncertainties facing the African economy due to COVID-19, the challenges before Pang would be: How to broaden StarTimes’ content offerings without compromising affordability. How to best serve customers and ensure business continuity? How can StarTimes equip itself to be more resilient in an uncertain post-pandemic world?


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Evaluate StarTimes’ entry and expansion strategy in Africa.
  • Analyze the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on StarTimes’ business.
  • Understand the different types of strategic responses to a crisis.
  • Evaluate StarTimes’ response to the COVID-19 crisis in Africa.
  • Explore the future strategy and actions that Pang can take to recover from the crisis and position StarTimes for growth in the post-pandemic world.



Crisis Management; Strategic Responses to Crisis, International Management; COVID-19; International Strategy Framework; The Value Disciplines Model; Business Continuity Plan; The Respond-Recover-Thrive framework;Service Innovation

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