Some 81 percent of the 345 respondents expect industry growth this year and 45 percent see relations with the U.S. improving, a jump of 15 percentage points from last year, according to a report released on Tuesday.
For website posting: The rise in optimism on bilateral ties came on the back of Joe Biden’s election as the new U.S. president, AmCham China chairman Greg Gilligan said.
“We think the issues remain the same, but stylistically things should improve with more traditional measures of diplomacy, including multilateralism, and frankly, getting back to the table for the U.S. and China to speak to each other,” Gilligan said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
Gilligan also called on both countries to use “as narrowly as is appropriate” the ideas of national security and law enforcement, to broaden commercial opportunities.
Half of the survey respondents said the investment environment is improving and just 12 percent said it is deteriorating, the lowest proportion since the question was first introduced in the survey in 2012. Only 56 percent made profits in 2020, the least since the question was polled 19 years ago. A fifth suffered losses.
“With China leading in economic recovery and the new U.S. administration in place, our members are cautiously optimistic regarding business growth in China,” Gilligan wrote in the report.
Global business travel disruptions, the inability for expatriate staff to return to China due to government entry restrictions, and uncertainty around business decision-making were the biggest ways in which the pandemic impacted American companies’ operations in China.
Only 37 percent of the respondents said the risks of intellectual property leakage and IT security threats are greater in China than in other markets, a steady decline from 54 percent in 2016.
As to future bilateral trade talks, 71 percent want to see progress made in further opening of Chinese markets, followed by strengthening IP protections at 48 percent, and lowering tariffs at 40 percent.
Around a third plan to cut or keep investment unchanged in 2021, while 37 percent will raise it by no more than 10 percent.
Companies in technology and other R&D-intensive industries are the most optimistic about market growth in 2021, with 86 percent projecting expansion.
Consumer sector firms have the worst outlook, with 13 percent predicting market contraction. More than a half recorded a drop in revenue last year.