Two-thirds of European companies see revenues grow in China last year
Published: Jun 21, 2022 12:18 AM
A night view of Shenzhen on July 20, 2021 Photo: CFP

A night view of Shenzhen on July 20, 2021 Photo: CFP

Two-thirds of European businesses operating in China saw their revenues grow 24 percent in 2021, compared with the previous year, a European business community report showed on Monday, while also listing challenges ranging from the pandemic, domestic economic slowdown to changes in global environment, which they said could make their "business more difficult" for the majority of them.

Chinese analysts said that some European companies tried to exaggerate their challenges for the purpose of ratcheting up pressure on China in exchange for "potential windfalls" and winning some bargaining chips in Brussels' future negotiations with Beijing. 

They pointed out that European companies need to take a fair and objective view, distinguishing between global challenges and specific situations in China.

According to the European Business in China Confidence Survey 2022 launched by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC), most European companies in China posted positive revenues and 79 percent of them reported growing profits in 2021, even higher than 73 percent noted in the previous year's report.

The report said that 60 percent of European companies said that doing business is to some extent becoming "more difficult" in 2022, compared with 47 percent in 2021.

Among the issues listed in the EUCCC report, COVID-19 sits at the top, followed by China's economic slowdown. About 42 percent of the firms said stricter government regulations resulted in missed business opportunities. 

Critique by the European business chamber against the business environment and hardening regulation are within expectations, because business chambers are increasingly regarding such reports as something they could put a price on to extract concessions from China, analysts say.

"The report does not reflect the true picture of the world's second-largest economy," Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Monday. 

As global economy is facing a serious risk of downturn and surging inflationary pressure, many businesses including Chinese companies are reeling from so-called "black swan" events. 

"It is somehow unfair to attribute their business operational difficulty to Chinese policies, disregarding that European businesses have pocketed tens of billions of dollars from the Chinese market in the past decades," Cui said.

Bettina Schoen-Behanzin, vice president of the EUCCC, said at the launch event that "the only thing predictable about China today is its unpredictability."  She told the Global Times on Monday that China's dynamic zero-COVID policy causes "a lot of uncertainty", which makes investors and consumers cautious. 

"Who's trying to create uncertainty and politicizing everything? It is not China, but the politicians in the West who like to play the game of political manipulation ," Cui said, noting Germany's Economy Ministry's reported refusal to provide guarantees to German companies making new investment in China citing concerns over "human rights violations" in Xinjiang, which is pure lies.

Aided by the dynamic zero COVID-19 policy, the Chinese economy is again regaining momentum, and the foreign companies with a long-term commitment to China's huge market will obtain due rewards, Chinese analysts said.