Early Indications Show China May Be Coming Back Online

Is Short-Term Financial Resiliency Possible with a Strong and Swift Response to COVID-19?

With a TEAM in Hong Kong and thousands of suppliers in the Asia-Pacific region, PrimeRevenue has closely monitored COVID-19 and its impact since the beginning of the year. We have seen the toll it has taken on both an economic and human level as the world crisis continues.

To better understand the potential impact of the coronavirus, I asked a TEAM of PrimeRevenue business analysts to examine our data and help model what we can expect to see moving forward.

What we found is this: while many are still deep in the throes of COVID-19, those that were first affected are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

The economy has bounced back from every economic downturn in the past – and history tends to repeat itself. In fact, our data indicates that Chinese businesses are already beginning to ramp back up to pre-COVID-19 levels, although we recognize that “normal” is beyond the horizon. I’d also caution that this is still early data, and whether or not a recovery is real or sustainable is something we are watching for on a daily basis.

What Data Do We Have?

PrimeRevenue has insight into thousands of companies’ invoices across the globe through our supply chain finance platform. When a company (a buyer) purchases goods such as toilet paper from their supplier, the supplier makes that toilet paper, fulfills the order and sends the goods along with an invoice. When the buyer receives the goods, the company approves the invoice before issuing payment.

Once the invoice is approved, our platform automatically receives the invoice (we call this process “invoice uploads”). The volume of invoice uploads is an indicator of trade transactions – if the overall value of invoices is growing, trade between buyers and suppliers is growing. Similarly, if volume is down, trade is down.

This is where we come in. When an approved invoice makes it onto the PrimeRevenue platform, the supplier can see and choose when to get paid for the invoice. Not only does this provide insight into the status of accounts receivable, it also gives suppliers access to critical cash flow because they can opt to receive early payment by selling approved invoices to a funding institution in exchange for a small, annualized fee.

That’s an example of just one transaction on our platform. In reality, we process millions of invoices and tens of billions of dollars per month, which gives us access to data that provides a benchmark for standard business activity and allows us to look for abnormalities in trading patterns.

What We’ve Seen

It’s important to note that every year, most businesses in China close for 1-2 weeks to allow employees to celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year. The holiday falls on a different date each year, but this year fell on January 25.

Normal business patterns in China show an annual reduction in invoice uploads during this time as employees visit family and enjoy the Lunar New Year festivities. Since fewer goods are shipped, fewer invoices are sent, and thus invoice upload volumes decrease. Once employees return and production comes back online, we see invoice volumes rise and eventually return to normal levels – typically within several days to a week.

PrimeRevenue analyzed the amount our suppliers in China were charging buyers for goods between January 1 and March 20 in 2019 and 2020:

Timeline of China Supplier Trade Volume and COVID-19 Outbreak

As visualized in the chart above, 2020’s Lunar New Year was on January 25 (2019’s was on February 5th), which is when we expected to see the usual drop in invoice volume related to the holiday. Prior to the holiday, we were seeing a 28% increase in the value of goods suppliers were selling over the same period in 2019 – showing us the year was off to a great start for these companies in China.

After Wuhan and Hubei provinces were placed under quarantine and the Lunar New Year began (between January 23-25), 2020 invoice amount volume dropped to 62% below 2019 levels. Some of this drop would correlate to the annual holiday dip we see every year, which typically lasts for 5-7 days. However, this year’s slump, correlated to the holiday and the outbreak, lasted between January 21 and February 13, or 23 days.

Then we saw a come-back period between February 14-26, when volume improved to be just 21% below 2019. By February 26, we began to see a trend toward normal behavior. Between March 4th and March 11th, invoice amounts outpaced 2019 by 30%, likely correlated to restrictions being lifted in some of the regions within China.

On March 24, Chinese officials lifted restrictions on the Hubei province. Wuhan is expected to follow suit within the next two weeks. We will be watching our data closely to see if these restrictions result in more improvement, or if the global crisis occurring now takes effect because demand is plummeting as many countries lock down their economies.

What Does This Mean?

At a time where there is precious little positive media, this may be a small ray of hope at the end of the tunnel. The fact that we’re seeing an increase in volume on our platform in China means that suppliers are shipping goods and trade is being transacted in the first country affected by COVID-19. Our preliminary data suggests economic downtime could last only 4-6 weeks if other countries follow China’s aggressive strategy of shutting down to contain the virus. It will be important to see how China’s containment efforts last as China comes back online. We will keep our eye on this over the coming month.

Our statistics are meaningful, but only represent a relatively small percentage of China’s overall GDP. However, our data can be an indicator of broader market dynamics in China.

Ultimately, it’s too soon to tell what the long-term impact will be from the coronavirus. We will continue to monitor the data and report on major shifts we see. One thing we do know, however, is that it’s more important than ever to take health seriously and come together as a community.

Sharing data like this can hopefully help many in the business community educate themselves to make better decisions. We all must make decisions too fast with imperfect data, and every bit helps. Looking out for one another, both personally and professionally, is the only way we’ll come out of this crisis stronger than ever.

Stay safe, strong and healthy everyone.

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Stephanie Wargo

VP, Global Head of Marketing

Stephanie joined PrimeRevenue in 2015 and oversees the company’s global marketing team and strategy. With a data-driven approach, Stephanie focuses on demand generation and thought leadership to drive brand awareness, strengthen client/partner relationships, and generate new sales opportunities. Stephanie has guided PrimeRevenue through new technology releases and an evolving FinTech landscape. In addition to leading PrimeRevenue’s internal and external communications, she implemented innovative demand generation and marketing strategies to enhance the company’s overall sales pipeline.

Stephanie has extensive experience in marketing and customer success. She previously served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications at BitPay and Vice President of Client Relations and Marketing at FirstView Financial. Stephanie earned a B.A. degree in Political Science from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.

Brian Medley

VP, Global Head of Sales

Brian joined PrimeRevenue in early 2012, after more than 20 years of sales leadership, executive-level consultant and business growth experience. As VP, Global Head of Sales, Brian leads a growing team of fintech sales professionals with a focus on developing strong customer relationships, improving sales predictability and helping PrimeRevenue enter the lucrative mid-market.

Prior to PrimeRevenue, Brian honed his enterprise software sales leadership skills at Clarus Corporation. He also served as an operations and IT management consultant for Kurt Salmon Associates. In addition to his sales and consulting background, Brian has deep experience in the financial industry having founded a successful residential mortgage broker and lending business. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology having earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and Economics and M.B.A. in Global Business.

Jason Green

SVP, Global Customer Success

Jason joined PrimeRevenue in 2021 following more than two decades in the fintech/financial services industry. He brings a strong background is sales leadership due to his impressive relationship building capability as well as a successful track record in creating structure and process improvements. In his role, Jason uses his keen attention to detail to strengthen the customer experience and enhance the company’s solutions to deliver more value to clients.

Prior to joining the company, Jason held several senior level and executive roles with a focus on building and scaling sales and support organizations at both large and small companies. Jason graduated from Murray State University with a B.S in Marketing.

Matt Ford

SVP, Global Product Innovation

Matt joined PrimeRevenue in early 2015 and is responsible for overseeing all commercial, strategic and operational aspects of PrimeRevenue’s supply chain finance offerings throughout EMEA, based in Prague. He has been instrumental in gaining global alignment and developing supplier enablement processes for the region.

Matt joined PrimeRevenue following a 15-year career at Morgan Stanley, where he worked in fixed income operations covering debt syndication through bonds, EMTNS, corporate loans and other debt securitization. Notably, he set up non-core location operations in Europe (Budapest) and all lending operations in Baltimore from scratch.

Matt, who was born and raised in South East England, earned a B.S. in Sports Science at University of Teesside where he mastered the art of TEAM development and accountability as a youth international rugby player.

Dominic Capolongo

EVP, Global Head of Funding

Dominic joined PrimeRevenue in 2016, and is responsible for leading our bank and capital markets funding strategies and execution. He focuses on building global, scalable and highly efficient funding structures that maximize options for supporting PrimeRevenue’s programs. Dominic began his career as an attorney and was a partner with Kaye Scholer before joining DLJ as a senior banker. Dominic brings tremendous strategic and capital markets experience in all areas of finance having held senior positions at, among others, Credit Suisse and RBC Capital Markets in addition to DLJ. Dominic earned a JD from Fordham University School of Law and a BA from SUNY Binghamton.

Gavin Cicchinelli

Chief Operating Officer

Gavin joined PrimeRevenue as Chief Operating Officer in 2021. With more than two decades of leadership and executive experience along with a deep understanding of the payments space, Gavin provides a unique focus on improving and strengthening operational strategies and implementing GTM growth execution. He is responsible for leading transformation across corporate and operational strategies as well as building a repeatable and scalable commercial growth strategy that aligns with PrimeRevenue’s core business while delivering key adjacent growth opportunities.

Prior to joining PrimeRevenue, Gavin served as President and Chief Revenue Officer of Integrated Solutions at TSYS, a global payment processing services company acquired by Global Payments (NYSE:GPN). There, he also served as Head of Product and divisional COO. Throughout his career, Gavin has held multiple leadership positions including VP of Sales, SVP of Business Development, and President of Financial Institutions. Gavin graduated from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley.

David Quillian

Chief Legal Officer

David joined PrimeRevenue as General Counsel in 2007. He and his team have been instrumental in successfully creating the unique legal structures that support PrimeRevenue’s multi-funder model and global funding capabilities. David is also the lead named inventor on PrimeRevenue’s two patents for Electronic Time Drafts, which allow PrimeRevenue to manage supply chain finance programs using electronic negotiable instruments as opposed to accounts receivable. Prior to PrimeRevenue, David was General Counsel at Harbor Payments, which was acquired by American Express (AXP) in 2006, and Magnet Communications, which was acquired by Digital Insight (DGIN) in 2003. He holds degrees in Economics and History from Duke University, and Juris Doctor and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Georgia.

Nathan Feather


Nathan has successfully ushered PrimeRevenue from our very early days as a visionary startup, through the financial crisis to today’s position as a thriving mid-sized leader in the cloud-enabled supply chain finance marketplace since joining PrimeRevenue in January 2006. He was instrumental in recapitalizing the company with an $80M investment led by BBH Capital Partners in 2015. Prior to PrimeRevenue, he held various financial management roles with Ariba, Freemarkets and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Nathan holds a BS in Accounting from Pennsylvania State University.

PJ Bain


PJ has an impressive and accomplished track record as an enterprise software entrepreneur and executive. PJ has built a solid record of success with PrimeRevenue since being appointed Chief Executive Officer in July of 2009. The company has received numerous awards for growth, customer service, innovation, along with being recognized as a top employer.

PJ is a life-long software and technology entrepreneur having been involved in numerous firms in the roles of founder, executive, advisor and investor. Immediately prior to PrimeRevenue, PJ was the VP and General Manager of Exact Holding N.V. (NYSE/AMS: EXACT), a leading global provider of business software solutions. He was previously Founder and CEO of Inspired Solutions, an Atlanta-based, B2B software and services firm that grew to be the largest reseller of Exact Software in North America, later acquired by Exact. PJ holds a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.