2017 APEC CEO Survey - China Report

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Chinese firms seek growth through trade

The global business and trade environment is in flux. The US and Britain have disrupted long held free trade agreements and this rising economic nationalism is affecting business strategies and opportunities globally.

In light of global developments such as US’s exit from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), China has emerged as the new leader for global trade and the voice of inclusive globalisation. As Chinese companies become more prominent globally, they are pursuing innovation and technological advancement due to an increasingly competitive domestic and international landscape.

With these evolving realities, PwC’s 2017 APEC CEO Survey asked 202 business leaders in mainland China and Hong Kong about their perception of trade trends, how businesses are organising themselves, their operational challenges, their outlook and expectations with new trade orientations.


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What are the implications of these survey findings for businesses and policy makers?

For business

  • Despite expanding their business presence, firms in China face increased trade barriers such as restricted mobility in labour, goods, services and data.
  • New measures announced by President Xi on deepening supply-side structural reforms, cutting over capacity and excess inventory to improve allocation of resources should bring relief to the private sector.
  • Business confidence is recovering. Our Survey found that 39% of the executives in China are “very confident” about their company’s prospects for revenue growth in the next 12 months compared to 24% who reported the same in 2016.
  • Technology enabled transformations is leading to growth for companies in China. Instead of thinking about jobs lost to automation, companies should be actively investing in workers so that jobs are gained from automation.
  • The partnership between the private sector and educational institutions is critical to redefine education and training.

For policy makers

  • Executives in China expect APEC governments and institutions to play a larger role in facilitating economic growth and cooperation for the region.
  • All stakeholders, including policy makers, have a responsibility to lead through the technological innovations by exercising long term vision and governance to balance competing interests. 
  • As China’s engagement increases in APEC economies, it may have influence on new rules of engagement in key public policies in areas such as data privacy, cyber security, innovation in APEC economies.

Contact us

Frank Lyn

China and Hong Kong Markets Leader, PwC China

Tel: +[86] (10) 6533 2388

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