Retailing, Franchising, and Consumerism Business Intelligence in China

Business Confidence Survey 2009: European businesses remain confident about China, but call for more action to maintain growth

Beijing, China (June 30, 2009) / — The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China today launches its sixth annual European Chamber Business Confidence Survey, which is published in partnership with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. Drawing on the responses of more than 300 European companies active in China, the 2009 Survey highlights a European business community that remains bullish on China in most sectors and primed to back up that confidence with continued investment in the local economy provided that Chinese government is committed to creating a more free, fair and competitive market.

The 2009 Survey findings show that virtually none of the European businesses in China escaped the financial crisis unscathed. But for most the impact on their operations inChina was dwarfed by the fallout in their domestic markets which have been hit much harder by the crisis. As a result, companies are shifting their global strategies – and Chinais rising in relative importance. European companies are continuing to increase their commitment to China, and are preparing investment strategies and expansion plans to better position themselves for success. Despite the crisis, less than one-third of respondents plan to scale back or postpone their investments in China, reflecting the confidence of European business in China's potential.

But while there is optimism in the European business community, there is also concern that more needs to be done to bring the economy of the next level of maturity.

Joerg Wuttke, President of the European Chamber, commented, "Our members welcome the stimulus package and the Chinese government's efforts to sustain growth. But they clearly feel that not enough has been done to unleash the potential of China's economy. They identify the promotion of more free competition and the breaking down of existing monopolies as the key actions needed to drive growth, and continue to caution against protectionist reactions that would hamper China's development. In this regard, the European Chamber is not asking for priority to be given to foreign companies – we want to see equal opportunities and a level playing field for all businesses in China."

Charles-Edouard Bouée, Regional Coordinator, Asia/President & Managing Partner of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Greater China, said, "We are currently seeing positive signs of recovery, but there are still many challenges ahead. The financial crisis has exposed an already existing need for structural reform that is required to build a robust engine to drive China's economic growth for the next 30 years. But this year's survey re-confirms that China is an important market for European businesses today and will continue to be in a world that is increasingly intertwined. So it is critical to understand this market's development and get prepared to maximise the opportunities ahead."

Following today's launch, the European Chamber will present the findings from the European Chamber Business Confidence Survey 2009 to government and regulatory agencies in China, to the European Commission and EU Member State Governments, and to a wide range of business organisations and companies in China and Europe.

Key findings of the European Chamber Business Confidence Survey 2009:
– 98% of the respondents reported that the global economic crisis had an impact on their business in China; 71% indicated that the Chinese economy has proven more resilient than Europe or other traditionally strong markets where members of the European Chamber are headquartered globally.

– Some 37% of the respondents reported that China has become a more important market for them, while only 3% say China has become less important to their overall strategy; 36% say there has been no noticeable change.

– 78% of the respondents do not believe that China can drive the world to recovery in the short term. 48% of surveyed companies see China as becoming the driver of global growth in the long term, but not before.

– Only 13% of the respondents indicated that they felt the stimulus package currently being rolled out is sufficient to ensure the long-term health of the economy. While 62%of respondents believe that the stimulus package has played an important role, they also believe that more is needed to drive recovery.

– More than 50% of the respondents identified the promotion of more free competition and the breaking down of existing monopolies as the primary actions needed to drive growth in the years ahead.

About the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China
The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China was founded by 51 European member companies on 19th October 2000. The European Chamber was established to give European businesses a common voice across different business sectors, nationalities and regions of China. More than eight years after its foundation, the European Chamber now has more than 1400 members and is active in eight cities: Beijing, Chengdu, Nanjing, Pearl River Delta (Guangzhou and Shenzhen), Shanghai, Shenyang and Tianjin. The Chamber is recognized by the European Commission and the Chinese authorities as the authoritative and independent voice of European business in China.

The Chamber is built around 34 Working Groups and Forums, bringing together senior executives who engage in strategic discussions ranging from market access to the evolution of the business environment in China. Through regular dialogues with both the Chinese and European government, the Chamber conveys the operational business concerns of European companies and makes suggestions for improvements to policy-makers.

About Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Greater China
The Chinese market is a key pillar of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants' international expansion. Since our entry into the China market in 1984, the consultancy has grown rapidly: The four Chinese offices (Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Taipei) now have over 200 people dedicated to working extensively with both leading Chinese and international companies.

As the only consulting firm of European origin among the global Top 5, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants has built its expertise on its extensive experience working with clients on complex business cases for 40 years. Outstanding strategic analysis and in-depth knowledge on implementation measures are the strengths of the company's consulting approach. Roland Berger consultants combine their analytical and strategic know-how within a diverse company setting to help clients in China successfully master their unique challenges.

  • Grace Yao, Press Officer
    European Union Chamber of Commerce in China
    Phone: +86 (0)10 6462 2066-30; Mobile: +86 1367 1168 084
    E-mail: [email protected]

    Susanne Hoffmann, International PR Manager
    Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
    Phone: +86 (0)21 5298 6677-825; Mobile:+86 1378 8993 272
    E-mail: [email protected]

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