US firms still place importance on China

By Ma Jingjing Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/13 23:03:39

Joint effort needed to promote stability: AmCham China


A customer orders food at a McDonald's in Sanmenxia, Central China's Henan Province, in October. Photo: CFP

A customer orders food at a McDonald's in Sanmenxia, Central China's Henan Province, in October. Photo: CFP



The American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham China) called for the new US administration to respect stability in the region, amid ongoing tensions between US President-elect Donald Trump and China.

"The chamber has long supported maintaining stability in the region, and we expect the new US administration to respect the status quo. American businesses operating in Asia needs certainty and stability," James Zimmerman, chairman of the AmCham China, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The comments came after Trump suggested that he might abandon the one-China policy, saying "I don't know why we have to be bound by a one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade" in an interview on Sunday. During his campaign, Trump accused China of currency manipulation and stealing American jobs.

US firms in China refused to comment on this issue but indicated they will expand their business in China.

In October Starbucks Corp announced plans to open and operate more than 5,000 cafes by the end of 2021 on the basis of the existing 2,300 stores, said a press release the company sent to the Global Times on Monday.

To improve its service, the company entered into strategic cooperation with domestic social media giant Tencent Holdings to provide mobile payment service via WeChat, an instant messaging application of Tencent, from December 8.

Starbucks posted a 6 percent comparable store sales growth in China in the fourth fiscal quarter ended on October 2, faster than the 4 percent globally.

Besides Starbucks, fast food giant McDonald's Corp announced in March that it would seek strategic partners who will add value and unlock growth potential in its high-growth markets including the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and South Korea.

McDonald's plans to open 3,500 restaurants in the Chinese mainland by 2020, making it the company's second-largest market following the US, Regina Hui, the spokesperson for McDonald's China, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

In the first half of 2017, the company is scheduled to upgrade its hardware facilities in around 1,000 stores in more than 10 cities in China, aiming to provide enhanced digital services.

Impact on US firms

However, some US companies in China face headwinds.

Yum Brands Inc's China same-store sales posted a contraction of 1 percent in the third quarter ended on September 3, the firm's latest financial report showed in October. In November, the firm separated from the Yum Chinese business to focus on other markets.

Apple's revenue from sales in China contracted nearly 30 percent year-on-year in the fourth fiscal quarter ended on September 24, data from the company showed in October.

These performances in China were caused by different factors. "For example, Apple posted revenue contraction mainly due to the rise of local smartphone brands like Huawei," Wang Jun, deputy director of the Department of Information at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Besides, he argued that Trump's views such as increased tariffs on goods imported from China or US companies moving out of China will not seriously affect US firms in China, as his words reflect his own opinions rather than national policy.

Wang forecast that trade conflicts between the US and China are likely to increase in the next few years.

"Almost two-thirds of our members regard US-China relations as very or extremely important to their business growth in China, and this figure looks set to rise. A trade war would be damaging to all parties involved, and we remain convinced there are better negotiated alternatives," Zimmerman noted.

"As the US and China become more economically integrated and interdependent, it's important that the leadership of the world's two largest economies work closely together to find common ground and resolve our differences," he said.



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