Foreign firms optimistic about rebound

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Employees work on the production line of a Coca-Cola venture in Shanghai. [Photo/China News Service]

As China flattens the novel coronavirus curve and steadily returns to economic normalcy, foreign enterprises are voicing optimism about the restoration of business and embarking on operational excellence in the world's second-largest economy.

Though the pandemic has strangled growth worldwide, multinational corporations have largely remained committed to China, citing the swift restoration of order and the vast market potential, along with supportive government measures designed to help them weather the storm.

In a study published by two different chambers of commerce of United States businesses last month, more than 70 percent of US companies surveyed said they have no plans to relocate production and supply chain operations or to source from outside of China due to the outbreak, which is crippling global economic activity.

Those companies, most of which have had a presence in China for more than a decade, including nationwide operations, managed to fend off turbulence due to the use of the In China for China strategy for domestic demand, officials said.

"In contrast to some global narratives, our China-based data suggests that the majority of our members will not be packing up and leaving China anytime soon," said Alan Beebe, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

Jan Nicholas, consulting partner at consultancy PwC China, said: "The survey results are a reflection of the resourcefulness and flexibility of the American business community in China in recovering from recent challenges. The views of American executives navigating production recovery in China can give hope and guidance to territories that have yet to begin their transition back to growth."

Qian Jin, president of Hilton for China and Mongolia, said the hospitality giant has stepped up the gradual reopening of its hotels as the company wakes from its coronavirus-related closure during the height of the outbreak.

"We've seen a particular rebound in niche product segments like short-haul trips around major cities, notably at weekends and minor vacations," he said.

Qian believes China's tourism market is on a benign and sustainable track, as driving forces such as the expanding middle class, consumption upgrades and China's prominent role on the global stage remain intact from the virus. "Therefore, we will stay deeply committed to China and continue to explore business development (here)," he said.

Industrial conglomerate Honeywell has just registered a wholly owned subsidiary in Wuhan, Hubei province, as the company's headquarters for mass-mid segment business in China.

"This demonstrates Honeywell's continuous commitment to China," the company said in a statement to China Daily. It described Wuhan as "a key city in central China, strategically located, and an important industrial base, as well as a technology and research hub in the country".

It continued: "Honeywell would like to enhance cooperation with Wuhan, promote innovative technologies, provide better coverage in Central and western China, and further fulfill the vast market needs of China's mass-mid segment. This initiative will further solidify the execution of Honeywell's 'East for East' strategy in China."

Lilly China, the local affiliate of global pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, is offering an online map of pharmacies so diabetics can easily locate the medicines they need. To ensure patients receive proper treatment, Lilly worked with third-party internet hospital platforms to provide one-stop services so patients can be treated at home without the risk of going outside.

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