2013 Business Climate Survey
The 2013 Business Climate Survey results reflect a corporate outlook that broadly accords with China’s own revised economic goals in an era of rebalancing: expectations for growth, but at a more tempered pace than seen just a few years ago; investment expansion, yet at a more moderate rate than in the past.
As China enters a new period geared towards higher-quality GDP growth, our member companies are adjusting to structural shifts in the economy. Rising labor costs are now considered as great a business risk as a Chinese economic slowdown. (And worries over global economic health that arose in the global financial crisis years have faded). Meanwhile, China’s ranking as a destination for global investment declined slightly compared to year-ago levels,
though over two thirds of respondents still list it as at least a top-three global priority.
Against a backdrop of relatively slower growth and rising costs in China, our member companies are paying close attention to the potential impact of government policies. In this year’s survey, the percentage of respondents who say China’s investment environment is improving fell markedly – in line with the widespread impression that market reform and opening has slowed in recent years.
Specifically, survey respondents voiced continued concerns over difficulties in obtaining business licenses, pressure to transfer technology, inadequate protection of intellectual property rights, and the potential for corporate data breaches.
Despite such challenges, most respondents say they are optimistic about their two-year outlook in China. Meanwhile, a steadily-growing majority of our members aim to sell to China’s fast-growing consumer and business markets (as opposed to exporting China-made goods abroad). This year, 71 percent of respondents say their main goal is to produce or source goods in China for the Chinese market. Taking heed of the changing realities outlined above, we will continue to advocate for policies that promote more competitive and open markets, with the goal of helping our members succeed and building a business climate that benefits all companies, domestic and foreign, in China.