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The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EuCham) South China Chapter celebrated its 20 anniversary and released the 2020 Business Confidence Survey in Guangzhou on June 18, in cooperation with Roland Berger.
The survey shows that due to the outbreak of COVID-19, China's economic situation is in constant flux, as known unknowns and unknown unknowns drive novel challenges and uncertainty to levels that have not been seen in generations. This has left companies, as one member of the EuCham put it, “not moving towards the light at the end of a tunnel, but feeling your way in the dark for an exit.”
The survey, however, reflected that 83 percent of respondents would still choose South China to expand their current businesses. “If you look at the picture (pandemic) as a long race like a marathon, then there are athletes that can recover within two weeks at the end of the marathon,” said George Lau, Chairman of the South China Chapter of the EuCham. “Some need even longer. And there are some need a very, very short time to recover. If we talk about China, I think China, as I mentioned, is already among those that recover very quickly.”
Lau also stressed that South China has always been the port of China to the world. Long before Hong Kong, even already in the Qing Dynasty. “South China always ranks highest in terms of member satisfaction, government professionalism and transparency,” he added.
According to the survey, more than 70 percent of respondents have heard and somewhat understand about the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) plan, which is mostly relevant for activities in Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
When talking about whether there are plans to release relevant survey or reports to help members better understand the GBA plan, Lau said that the EuCham has been following up and trying to make it transparent and understandable to member companies. “As a matter of fact, we have a board of management, a board of directors, and internal GBA committee focusing exactly on this topic. We have regular discussions, meetings, and try to update our member companies as well. Whether or not, it will be in the form of a survey, a report, or other forms like a webinar (an interactive seminar conducted over the World Wide Web), or working group level discussions with the Guangdong government directly. This is still to be discussed, but we are highly interested in it and we are on trail of the development of GBA.”
Lau also believes that the approval of the "National Security Law" for Hong Kong will help stabilize European companies’ confidence in China. “We always welcome a stable investment environment, because without stability, no business can survive,” he said. “The articles of the European Chamber of Commerce in China clearly stipulate that we do what we can in our turn, which means whenever it is our territory, we voice our member’s concerns and also demands to the public, to the government, and also to the media.”
Reported by Ariel
Edited by Keane, Jerry