European companies in the China market are facing struggles due to supply-chain disruptions and a growing gap between themselves, their customers and their headquarters, as the country’s zero-Covid campaign has ratcheted up quarantine measures making daily operations “unplanned and unpredictable,” reports the South China Morning Post. With the coronavirus troubling 29 of China’s 31 provincial-level jurisdictions, including the commercial hub of Shanghai, many European companies are worried that there is no clear strategy or time frame in place for a return to normality.
Their subsequent suggestions—for better communication, stronger vaccination efforts and “a different mindset” to deal with the uncertainties—come as the economic costs are mounting amid Beijing’s determination to contain the highly contagious Omicron vibrant with mass testing and forceful lockdowns.
“[Member companies] are mostly concerned about the future, because they don’t see a strategy that will end this kind of on-off economy,” Harald Kumpfert, who chairs the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC) Shenyang chapter, said on Wednesday during a media event. Christoph Schrempp, chair of the chamber’s Tianjin chapter, said that 70% of its member companies were not really able to meet with customers, and were effectively decoupling from the operations of their headquarters abroad.