Survey: US firms losing confidence in China business climate

December 6, 2017 by Kelvin Chan
Survey: US firms losing confidence in China business climate
A shopper carries grocery bags as she exits a Walmart store in Beijing, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. U.S. companies in China are seeing their sales improve but are frustrated by policies and regulatory barriers that block better access to the country's lucrative market, according to a survey released Wednesday. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

U.S. companies in China are seeing their sales improve but are frustrated by policies and regulatory barriers that block better access to the country's lucrative market, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The U.S.-China Business Council's survey showed most companies are enjoying better profitability and expecting higher revenues for their China operations as the economy revives.

But restricted market access and uncertainty over Beijing's policies toward have left them less optimistic about the business climate than in recent years.

The council represents 200 U.S. companies doing business with China. Results from the annual survey were based on responses from more than half its members.

Challenges include fierce competition from Chinese rivals, demands for technology transfers and strict cyber regulations.

"Most of the regulatory challenges that companies face each day did not see improvement this year," President John Frisbie said. "The stagnation in implementation of needed economic reforms is undermining confidence among American companies that their concerns will be addressed."

Chinese competition is a perennial concern, with companies saying their domestic competitors, both state-owned and private, are benefiting from preferential government financing, approvals and access to government contracts. That's led some firms to reduce or halt their investment plans.

Survey: US firms losing confidence in China business climate
A shopper walks toward an escalator at a Walmart store in Beijing, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. U.S. companies in China are seeing their sales improve but are frustrated by policies and regulatory barriers that block better access to the country's lucrative market, according to a survey released Wednesday. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Other issues have gained in urgency given recent tensions between the U.S. and China over Beijing's efforts to acquire foreign technological know-how and control the internet.

One in five companies reported being asked to transfer their technology to China. The council said it is an "acute problem" for companies that receive such requests, often from their Chinese partners rather than government entities.

The requests are sometimes part of normal commercial negotiations, but "in many cases the hand of the Chinese government is behind these requests," the report said. Half of companies who received such requests said they were unacceptable but they still had to transfer some technology.

Survey: US firms losing confidence in China business climate
In this April 29, 2017, file photo, a visitor holds an umbrella as she looks at a Tesla Model X car on display at the G Festival, part of the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing. U.S. companies in China are seeing their sales improve but are frustrated by policies and regulatory barriers that block better access to the country's lucrative market, according to a survey released Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

Tech transfers have caught the attention of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has accused China of abusive practices. In August, he ordered his trade office to launch an investigation of possible Chinese theft of U.S. technology and intellectual property.

Four out of five companies surveyed said they were somewhat or very concerned about the impact on business operations of cyber and data regulations, including restrictions on the internet and on use of that let users get around the Chinese government's filters.

Most internet users in China are prevented from accessing many overseas sites by the filters, known as the "Great Firewall." It is a bulwark in the vision of a censored internet promoted at a conference this week in eastern China that drew many high-profile figures from the tech world, including top executives of Apple, Google and other Silicon Valley companies.

Survey: US firms losing confidence in China business climate
In this Jan. 10, 2017, file photo, a man smokes outside a McDonald's restaurant in Beijing. U.S. companies in China are seeing their sales improve but are frustrated by policies and regulatory barriers that block better access to the country's lucrative market, according to a survey released Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

Explore further: Apple CEO hopeful banned apps will return to China store

Related Stories

Apple, Google at Chinese internet fest shows lure of market

December 4, 2017

The high-profile attendance of the leaders of Apple and Google at a Chinese conference promoting Beijing's vision of a censored internet highlights the dilemma for Western tech companies trying to expand in an increasingly ...

China criticizes US trade probe as protectionism

August 24, 2017

China's Commerce Ministry on Thursday criticized a U.S. decision to launch a trade probe of Beijing's technology policy as an attack on the global trading system and said it will "resolutely defend" Chinese companies.

Chinese drone maker denies giving data to government

December 1, 2017

The Chinese company that is the world's biggest maker of commercial drones is denying claims in a U.S. government document circulated online that it gives Beijing information about American law enforcement and utility companies.

Foreign companies feel China targets them in investigations

February 11, 2015

Nearly half of foreign companies in China feel singled out in a wave of anti-monopoly and other investigations, and a growing number are deciding not to expand their investments, the American Chamber of Commerce in China ...

Recommended for you

US faces moment of truth on 'net neutrality'

December 14, 2017

The acrimonious battle over "net neutrality" in America comes to a head Thursday with a US agency set to vote to roll back rules enacted two years earlier aimed at preventing a "two-speed" internet.

The wet road to fast and stable batteries

December 14, 2017

An international team of scientists—including several researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory—has discovered an anode battery material with superfast charging and stable operation ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

FredJose
not rated yet Dec 07, 2017
Mmmmhhhh, the US experiencing exactly the same kind of hostility that they enforce on foreigners coming to US shores or trying to compete from off-shore with businesses in the US.....!!!!

Now they want to cry foul!!!

Oh, please, man, if you dish it out, you should be able to take the punch yourself.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.