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Scouting the path of least resistance to global trade friction

2019 Asia Pacific Business Leaders Survey: China Report

New developments on the global trade front, no longer summarised the level of challenges and complexity that business leaders are facing in Asia Pacific, where over 60% of global trade activities take place.

China, being one of the most impacted markets, has found itself facing vastly different world dynamics than just a year ago. The business community was disrupted not only by the degree and scope of impact from global trade complexity, but also by the velocity at which new developments were unfolding.


China report key findings

Business outlook improved despite global trade turbulence

Business optimism in China is still relatively intact despite the ongoing complexity of the macro economic and trade environment. 36% of Chinese executives are very confident about their organisation’s prospects for revenue growth over the next 12 months.

Chinese businesses are adjusting their strategy to counter trade shock

68.5% of Chinese companies (Asia Pacific: 63.3%) have adjusted their business strategy due to changes in cross-border trade in the area of customs and exports; 63.5% (Asia Pacific: 57.6%) have adapted their business model to reflect changes in policy in foreign investment.

Chinese firms are determined to drive advanced automation and AI as a top priority

42% of Chinese executives (Asia Pacific: 37%) regarded automation as a c-suite or organisation-wide priority in the next two years. The urge to accelerate the automation agenda coincided with the awareness that majority of Chinese companies are still behind in the game and playing catch-up.

Upskilling to address the talent gap created by automation

Employee upskilling has been offered as a solution to not only address current skills gaps, but also as a way to prepare the workforce for the age of automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics. 37.3% of Chinese executives (Asia Pacific: 32.6%) are looking to significantly raise the budget in accelerating digital skills development within their organisation in the next two years.

More regulation is seen as necessary to build public trust in cyber security, AI and data privacy

Chinese executives agree that additional regulations are required to enhance public trust in multiple areas. The top three areas are cybersecurity (78.6%; Asia Pacific: 75.6%), the ethical use of AI (73.6%; Asia Pacific: 71.7%) and data privacy (68.6%; Asia Pacific 70.2%).

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Thomas Leung

Managing Partner - Markets, PwC China

Tel: +[86] (10) 6533 2838 / +[852] 2289 8288

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