A new survey from the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) shows U.S. companies face an increasingly hostile and less profitable environment in China. After the survey was released Sept. 2, the AmCham website was offline.
The survey shows 60 percent of U.S. firms in China feel less welcome than before and 29 percent say they feel no change, according to Wall Street Journal. Only 9 percent say they feel more welcome in China.
In a new question on the 16th annual survey, 49 percent of respondents said they believe foreign firms are being singled out in China for attacks. It also showed decreased and stagnating profits.
The Business Climate Survey includes responses from 365 AmCham China members, according to a cached version of the website. It gives a picture of the business landscape, including human resources and the investment environment.
The overview states, “After years of meteoric growth, China’s economy and the overall business environment are now more soberly assessed by AmCham China member companies.”
It is similar in Europe, where 61 percent of companies that have been in China for more than a decade said it’s becoming more difficult to do business in China. The survey is from the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, according to Wall Street Journal.
The website of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China was also offline at the time of writing.
The survey comes at a critical time for U.S. companies in China. Chinese authorities are launching anti-trust probes, which have singled out large Western companies including Microsoft, Qualcomm, Audi, BMW AG, and many others.
Other issues companies face in China are more general, ranging from rising labor costs, risks over China’s internal and external political turmoil, and China’s general slowing of economic growth.
AmCham’s 2014 American Business in China White Paper, which was offline yet still accessible in a Google cache, shows some of the misgivings U.S. companies have about doing business in China.
It lists four areas of particular concern when doing business in China. Lack of transparency, it says, “hinders industry understanding of and compliance with laws and regulations.” China has poor protections for intellectual property. It has a more restrictive foreign investment regime than its major trading partners.” It also says that China lacks standards on “technical quality and market relevance.”
“While many AmCham China members maintain a ‘wait-and-see’ approach toward the proposed reforms,” it says, “it is clear that change is coming and that the old methods for success in China may no longer apply.”