BRI NEWS Survey: Businesses cautiously optimistic about economy


Survey: Businesses cautiously optimistic about economy

Jing Shuiyu | China Daily

09:24, January 26, 2019

A container ship docks at a port in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, on Jan 9. (Photo by Yu Fangping/for China Daily)

Businesses in China are cautiously optimistic for 2019 despite facing several uncertainties and challenges, as tax reform, innovation and technology policies will continue to sustain the economy, a recent survey said.

More than 60 percent of the respondents in the latest China Economic Survey conducted by CPA Australia, a leading professional accounting body, believed that China would maintain stable economic growth of above 6 percent this year, despite the uncertainties from trade disputes, Brexit and rising US interest rates.

The survey tracked responses from 220 finance and accounting professionals who work for listed companies, multinationals, private enterprises and government departments.

Derek Chan, president of the body's North China committee, said the upbeat sentiment can be attributed to a series of tax reforms, favorable policies on innovation and technology, and opportunities from the Belt and Road Initiative.

As an example, the survey findings reveal that the market has reacted positively to tax reforms, with over half of the respondents stating that tax reform will be a key driver boosting economic growth this year.

Businesses in China are investing heavily in innovation, with a majority of the respondents expecting their company will or might introduce a totally new product, service or process this year, up 10 percent from the same period in 2017.

Chan said there is a direct link between the government policies and the very strong focus on innovation and technology by businesses in China.

Michael Yu, vice-president of CPA Australia's East and Central China committee, said: "The Belt and Road Initiative has created fresh opportunities for companies to invest overseas. As China's hightech products become increasingly competitive in the international market, companies are expanding their global presence."

"The government has established cooperation with a growing number of BRI economies, which can bring more trade opportunities for companies," Yu said.

Over 50 percent of the respondents remained confident that their businesses would explore new opportunities in BRI economies, the survey said.

The findings also showed that over half of the respondents expect their employer's profit to increase by more than 2 percent, while 71.3 percent believe their company will maintain or increase head count this year.

The respondents' upbeat mood on the Chinese economy came amid a slight easing in gross domestic product growth. The economy grew 6.6 percent year-on-year last year, down from 6.8 percent in 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

However, Qu Hongbin, chief economist of HSBC in China, said the country's economic growth could stabilize and start to pick up in the second half of this year, as more supportive policies take effect.

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