In this paper, we examine the participation of commercial firms in the fight against COVID-19 through the lens of Corporate Community Involvement (CCI). To display CCI as part of ethical and responsible corporate behavior, CCI studies often use a business-centered approach while paying less attention to the role of the state. Based on the stories of some pharmaceutical companies in Guangdong province joining China’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we argue that the state may play a crucial role in shaping CCI activities and in making companies partner with the government under a state of emergency. We also point out that it is likely for these companies to translate their involvement in solving public health problems into profit-seeking opportunities. As such, this paper contributes to CCI studies by introducing a state-led approach and suggesting a form of “state-led and market-driven” CCI. Moreover, this study provides fresh information about the effects of corporations on social life and the practice of socially responsible corporate behavior in a state of public health emergency to anthropologists in the new subfields of anthropology of corporate social responsibility and anthropology of business corporations.

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