Shanghai, 23 September 2021 – AmCham Shanghai’s 2021 China Business Report shows that American businesses in China bounced back quickly from the 2020 COVID-19-induced shutdown. The recovery has continued into 2021, with most companies optimistic about profits and investing more to take advantage of China’s anticipated future growth.
Despite cool US-China relations and outstanding disagreements on trade and tariff issues, our members’ optimism about the five-year business outlook in China has nearly returned to levels that predated the US-China trade war. Of the 338 respondents that answered this year’s survey:
Speculation that some US companies might move production or supply chains out of China in the aftermath of COVID-19 proved unfounded. However, global boards that were rebalancing assets away from China cited US-China tensions as their primary reason for doing so.
While COVID-19’s negative impact on much of the global economy has weighed less heavily on our members, foreign companies are having difficulty bringing staff to China because of the strict quarantine requirements.
After recording improvements in China’s regulatory environment over the past few years, this year companies were less positive about regulatory progress.
“Business in China recovered quickly from last year’s lockdown. However, we are still feeling the pandemic’s effects, with members continuing to be negatively impacted by China’s travel restrictions. Overall business performance is good but there are signs of nervousness. The regulatory environment on both sides is tightening, which narrows the space in which companies can operate,” said Ker Gibbs, President of the American Chamber Commerce in Shanghai.
“Further hindering our members, many regulatory changes were enacted after our survey closed. While well-intentioned, they were announced with little or no warning, which has unsettled companies. To continue attracting US businesses and investment, China must endeavor to create a stable business environment.”
Jeff Yuan, PwC China US MNC Business Services Group, Lead Partner, added:
“Having a China strategy is still a priority for many of the US companies in China that are optimistic about the future in China. With the projected increase in investment during 2021, we anticipate an increased focus on reaching Chinse consumers by prioritizing investments in sales & marketing and digital technologies.”
The report is based on the results of AmCham Shanghai’s 2021 China Business Survey, which was conducted with support from PwC China as the knowledge partner, is one of the longest running surveys of US business in China. This year 338 AmCham Shanghai members responded to the survey, which included questions about company performance, economic outlook, investment, operational challenges, hiring conditions and trade policy and tariffs.
About the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai
The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, known as the "Voice of American Business" in China, was founded in 1915. AmCham Shanghai was the third American Chamber established outside the United States, and now has 3,000 members from 1,400 companies. As a non-profit, non-partisan business organization, AmCham Shanghai is committed to the principles of free trade, open markets, private enterprise and the unrestricted flow of information.
AmCham Shanghai’s mission is to enable the success of our members and strengthen US-China commercial ties through our role as a not-for-profit service provider of high-quality business resources and support, policy advocacy, and relationship-building opportunities. Visit www.amcham-shanghai.org for more information about us.