British businesses in China unfazed despite COVID-19: survey

BEIJING, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) — British companies have remained resilient, optimistic, and committed to China despite the woes of the coronavirus pandemic, a survey released Tuesday by the British Chamber of Commerce in China showed.

China has remained a top priority market for British enterprises thanks to its gradual economic recovery. They are continuing to increase or maintain the investment, despite levels of optimism having slipped over last year, according to the British Business in China: Sentiment Survey 2020-2021.

The survey collated the views of 256 large and small British companies across China, representing more than 20 billion pounds (26.67 billion U.S. dollars) of revenue in China.

Despite calls for decoupling from China originating from some quarters of Washington, British businesses headquartered in China have shown the least interest. Two in five businesses surveyed see China as the top priority market while only 3 percent are actively relocating operations out of China, the survey found.

China is expected to be the only major economy in the world to register an expansion this year as lives are resuming normalcy steadily. Acknowledging China’s “remarkable” economic rebound, British companies are also hoping for deepened market reform and further market liberalization in China, and they are most interested in technological innovation and China’s economic prospects, the survey showed.

“At a time when the Chinese economy has emerged from the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is absolutely vital to understand the opportunities and also the potential challenges facing British companies going into 2021,” said St. John Moore, Chair of the British Chamber of Commerce in China.

The survey also showed that three in five British businesses expressed concerns over the current state of the China-UK bilateral relationship and its impact on their operations.

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