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Foreign businesses bullish on China's future

By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou | | Updated: 2021-02-26 15:05
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Harley Seyedin, president of AmCham South China (third from right), said China is still the top destination for foreign investment around the world, as foreign companies are optimistic on the 2021 business outlook in the country. [Zheng Caixiong/China Daily]

Despite tensions in the China-US relationship and the coronvirus pandemic last year, 94 percent of American companies surveyed see bright prospects in the Chinese market for 2021, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in South China on Friday.

None of the companies surveyed showed a willingness to leave the country. The research was reported in the 2021 White Paper on the Business Environment in China and the 2021 Special Report on the State of Business in South China.

Harley Seyedin, president of AmCham South China, said China remains the top destination for foreign investment worldwide. Many companies believe they will see an improvement in Sino-US relations this year, he said.

"There is a general consensus within the business community that the Biden administration will view the Sino-US relationship through a different looking glass," he said. "And I predict a rather long honeymoon period within which the two sides will have an opportunity to examine their differences, evaluate what is important to each side and begin friendly and mutually respectful dialogue."

Seyedin said he expects the US and China to hit a reset button and very likely open a new era of cooperation that will benefit not just themselves but the entire globe.

"While a combination of factors, including the coronavirus pandemic, severely impacted the global economy last year, only a slight decrease in actual investment in China was realized," said Seyedin at a news conference in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Friday.

"Factors including huge market potential, preferential policies and uncertainties of the pandemic in other countries and regions have whetted companies' interest to increase their investment in China, or shift investment to China," he said.

Seventy-three percent of the American companies surveyed and 70 percent of the Chinese ones plan to reinvest in China this year, while 57 percent of participants from the European Union and others have reinvestment plans, Seyedin said.

The vast majority of companies surveyed have expansion plans in China over the next three years, he said.

Guangzhou has been voted the most preferred destination for foreign investment in China in four consecutive years, Seyedin said.

The southern metropolis is followed by Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing, while other cities, including Dongguan, Chengdu and Zhuhai, are also attracting investors' interest, he added.

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