US firms see China as global priority: AmCham survey
Published: Feb 01, 2024 08:32 PM
Global semiconductor companies arrive in the sixth CIIE in full force on November 6, 2023. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Global semiconductor companies arrive in the sixth CIIE in full force on November 6, 2023. Photo: Li Hao/GT

About half of US companies surveyed see China as a top three global priority despite challenges such as tense China-US relations, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Beijing said on Thursday.

Chinese analysts said the result reflects that US firms have seen the potential of the huge Chinese market, calling for Washington to stop unilateral disturbances in a bid to benefit US companies' growth and global industry chain stability.

This year, 50 percent of AmCham members consider China a top three investment priority, up 5 percentage points on a yearly basis. The majority of US companies will continue their presence in China, with 77 percent saying that they have no plan to transfer production or procurement out of China, the chamber said on its website on Thursday.

Almost all the US companies surveyed said that China-US relations are important, and nearly 30 percent expect bilateral relations to improve in 2024, according to the report.

"The result of the survey reflects that most US companies, which are market-driven, see the potential of the Chinese economy on the back of its massive market size and social stability," Zhou Mi, a senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Thursday.

It also showed that US companies want more stability and certainty. If the US can meet China halfway to create a sound business environment for companies from both countries, it will benefit the development of companies, Zhou said, urging the US to stop unilateral disturbances, for example, the administrative restrictions on US investment in some sectors in China.

A similar survey released by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China in January showed that more than half of the Japanese companies had increased or maintained their investment in China last year.

Despite a series of positive surveys, Western media outlets still rush to hype claims that foreign investment is withdrawing from China. Zhou said, "It's normal that some companies enter China while some withdraw. However, we should look at the problem from the perspective of long-term development. Companies will come back to China if they really see the market's huge potential," he said.

In recent years, China has intensified its policy support aimed at attracting foreign investment and catering to the needs of international firms. In July 2023, China issued a 24-point guideline designed to improve the climate for foreign investment and attract more overseas capital.

The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) held 15 roundtable meetings in 2023, attracting the attendance of more than 400 foreign enterprises and foreign chambers of commerce. So far, the MOFCOM has solved more than 300 difficulties and problems that those enterprises raised during the meetings, He Yadong, a MOFCOM spokesperson, said at a press briefing on Thursday.

Chinese authorities' move of providing a platform for foreign enterprises to raise issues and help them solve problems makes them feel that China's business environment continues to improve, which further strengthens their confidence of investing in China in the long run, He said.

In response to a query about the decline of foreign direct investment (FDI) into China over recent years, Commerce Minister Wang Wentao said at a press conference on January 26 that actual FDI surpassed 1.13 trillion yuan ($160 billion) in 2023, down 8 percent year-on-year. However, the value remained at a high level - the third-highest in history.

The ministry will continue to promote "Investing in China" in 2024, planning to hold more than 20 promotional events.

The fundamentals sustaining China's sound long-run economic growth remain unchanged. China remains committed to opening-up, and it sincerely welcomes companies from all countries to invest in China. 

"We firmly believe that China will remain a favored destination for overseas investment," Wang said.