A view of the booth of Qualcomm during an expo in Shanghai. LI JING/XINHUA
More than 60 percent of the companies operating in China, including 57 percent of U.S. companies in the country, retain a positive outlook for future business growth, according to a report published by the American Chamber of Commerce in South China.
U.S. businesses in China are confident about their future growth in the market. Their confidence level now is up by 4 percent compared with the sentiment prior to China's phased COVID-19 policy change from the end of 2022 till the end of January, the chamber said in its 2023 Mid-Year Report on Impact of COVID Policy Change.
Released on Wednesday, the report is based on interviews with executives of more than 185 companies, conducted between May 4 and June 21. Forty-nine percent of the companies concerned are from the United States, 21 percent from China and 30 percent from other countries and regions around the world.
Seventy-five percent of the U.S. companies operating in China expect no change in their budgeted reinvestment plans, while 25 percent plan to increase their reinvestments in projects of various sizes, the report revealed. "This includes a 1 percent increase in reinvestment plans for projects involving $250 million or more."
The figure was zero at the end of 2022 before China ended its "zero-COVID" policy, it said.
Harley Seyedin, president of the chamber, said, "The study shows China is on track to a slow but steady recovery and, as in the past, will continue to be a major contributor to global economic growth."
The lifting of COVID-19-related restrictions and the accelerating economic recovery have boosted the confidence of the business community in the world's second-largest economy, Seyedin said.
"Thirty-two percent of the companies now plan to increase their investments in projects of various scale, while 68 percent are expecting to stay with their previously budgeted reinvestment plans," he said.
Ending zero-COVID measures has helped China's growth, Seyedin said. "China could soon help propel global growth as it had done before the pandemic. The 2023 Mid-Year Report paints a fairly hopeful picture of business operations in China, with 92 percent of the companies studied reporting full or partial recovery."
Nearly half of the companies, including 64 percent of Chinese companies and 38 percent of U.S. companies, saw their revenues rise significantly or slightly in the first quarter of this year, he said.
According to Seyedin, China's economy has been on track to recovery this year, as the adverse effects of the pandemic have continued to wane gradually and the consumer market continues to bounce back.
China's second-quarter GDP data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed growth at 6.3 percent, up 0.8 percentage points from the first quarter.
According to the chamber's report, 92 percent of the companies concerned have recovered fully or partially from the pandemic, with 56 percent reporting partial recovery and 36 percent reporting full recovery.
Some 96 percent of large companies and 89 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises have recovered.
And all of the Chinese companies that took part in the study reported either a full recovery or a partial recovery, while the corresponding figure for U.S. companies was 93 percent.
Of the companies that are still reeling from the impact of COVID-19 on business, 27 percent expect to recover in the last quarter of this year, while a fifth expect to recover either in the first quarter of 2024 or after 2024, the report said.
"Compared with 2022, there is significant improvement in companies' business operations in China this year, as nearly half (49 percent) of the companies studied experienced significant or slight increases in revenue, up by 16 percent compared with last year," the report stated.