Sentiment about operating in China among US businesses has plummeted to a new low, driven largely by Beijing’s continued use of sudden COVID-19 lockdowns, an annual survey by an American business group found, reports The Wall Street Journal. The poll of member companies by the US-China Business Council found American multinationals increasingly losing confidence in the near-term prospects for their China ventures, according to results published Monday. This year, 21% of respondents said they were pessimistic or somewhat pessimistic about their five-year business outlook in the world’s second-largest economy, compared with 9% last year.
Only around half of 117 companies polled said they were optimistic or somewhat optimistic about their own outlook in China, down 18% from the year before and the lowest since the survey began more than 16 years ago.
China’s continued use of a stringent COVID containment strategy centered on sudden lockdowns was the driving force behind the increase in pessimism, supplanting bilateral relations on the list of top challenges, the business group said. US-China relations had been ranked as the top concern for multinationals over the previous four years.