Analysis of Survey Results

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1 Analysis of Survey Results 调 查 结 果 分 析 The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai 上 海 美 国 商 会

2 -2011 China business report Analysis of survey results Survey Overview This year s survey was conducted online from mid-november to early December. It was sent to AmCham Shanghai corporate members all of whom are U.S.-based companies with operations in China. A total of 346 companies participated, yielding a response rate of 25 percent. The size, scope and breadth of U.S. companies active in China are representative of the diverse makeup of business in the U.S. market. This year s respondents include a variety of companies of all sizes competing in vastly different sectors and industries. Manufacturing companies comprise 32 percent of the sample. Another third fall into the services sector, and six percent of the sample are retail companies. Rounding out the study, 27 percent of companies operate some combination of manufacturing, services and retail businesses. The survey includes responses from 19 industries ranging from the automotive industry to agriculture to telecoms and more. Over 70 percent of respondents report having a China presence for more than five years, and nearly half have more than 10 years experience in China. AmCham Shanghai member companies were some of the first foreign companies to enter the China market following the government s opening and development policies of the early 1980s. The survey asks companies to answer topics ranging from corporate structure to company performance and plans for future investment. In a break from previous years, this year s survey includes results and analysis by major business sectors manufacturing, retail and services and by a total of seven notable industries for U.S. companies in China. The sectors and industries are then compared across the China Business Climate Indices measuring Success, Confidence and the degree to which companies believe they operate in a Welcoming environment. The goal of including these additional measurements is to better account for the complexity of the China market. Below are the key themes and potential trends for the future gleaned from this year s survey. The full results are found in the Survey Results section of the report (page 38). Survey Results U.S. companies in China had a strong year in and are poised for a very good Last year s China Business Report found China was a bright spot in an otherwise bleak global picture. While impacted by a severe global economic downturn, a majority of U.S. companies in continued to see revenue and profit growth, albeit at a slower pace. This year s survey results show that all key business indicators profitability, revenue growth and operating margins sprung up in and sometimes substantially over 2008 and. AmCham Shanghai 2011 China Business Report 13

3 -2011 china business report: analysis of survey results Fig. 3 (Q11): How do the revenue forecasts of your China operations compare to results? 11.0% 7.2% 14.6% 10.5% 29.4% 15.0% 32.7% 14.4% 16.9% 20.0% 9.8% 7.8% 3.1% 2.0% 2008 N= % 13.9% 12.7% 12.5% N= % 13.7% 7.7% 3.3% 1.5% 0.9% N=336 n Up over 50% n Up 21-50% n Up 11-20% n Up 1-10% n Remain the same n Down 1-10% n Down 11-20% n Down 21% or more A record 79 percent of U.S. companies state their China operations were either very profitable or profitable in, up from 65 percent in and 70 percent in The percentage of companies reporting year-over-year revenue growth exceeding 10 percent more than doubled in compared to. Fig. 4 (Q9): How would you characterize your company s financial performance in China in? 9.0% 16.0% 15.0% 12.2% 7.0% 8.9% 6.0% 13.0% 65.0% 57.0% 53.0% 59.3% 65.0% 61.5% 58.5% 66.1% 22.0% 4.0% 23.0% 4.0% 26.0% 6.0% 23.0% 5.6% 22.8% 5.2% 25.0% 4.6% 28.4% 7.1% 18.9% 1.8% 2002 N= N= N= N= N= N=238 N=366 N=339 n Very profitable n Profitable n Break even or slight loss n Large loss 14 AmCham Shanghai 2011 China Business Report

4 Between 2008 and, the percentage of companies reporting that their operating margins improved from the previous year doubled to 66 percent. Nearly half of all U.S. companies polled report that their operating margins were higher for China compared to their worldwide margins another survey record. Many U.S. companies emerged from the economic downturn with a larger share of the China market in. Nearly 61 percent of U.S. companies surveyed state that they gained market share for their China products or services, up from 40 percent in and 52 percent in The fact that more U.S. companies are grabbing a larger slice of the China market is impressive considering China s domestic market is expanding at a high rate. Fig. 5 (Q18): How did the market share of your products or services in China change in? 18.2% 52.1% 39.6% 60.9% 54.1% 46.2% 1.7% 2008 N= % N= % 5.6% N=322 n Increased n No change n Decreased The most highly performing U.S. companies continue to focus on competing in China s rapidly expanding domestic market. Survey results show that this in China for China trend continues to remain a strong point as the China market matures. 55 percent of companies surveyed report producing or sourcing goods or services in China for the China market as their companies primary strategy, roughly at the same level as and over the 39 percent reported in percent say they have or are designing unique products or services to sell in China. 58 percent report that they import finished goods or parts from the U.S. into China to support their China operations. AmCham Shanghai 2011 China Business Report 15

5 Many U.S. companies are also demonstrating that they consider localizing aspects of their business a key part of their China operations. Among companies surveyed, 62 percent say localizing staff at all levels is a high priority, while nearly half (48 percent) consider localizing manufacturing operations a high priority. Respondents attach less but not insignificant importance to localizing senior management and research and development (R&D). Looking ahead to 2011, the vast majority of U.S. companies are forecasting excellent revenue growth and planning aggressive investments for their China business. About nine out of 10 companies forecast a revenue increase for 2011, while 80 percent expect to step up their investment in China above levels to take advantage of attractive growth opportunities in 2011 and into the near future. Fig. 6 (Q22): What is your company s number one priority in China? 51.0% 24.0% 12.0% 9.0% 4.0% 2006 N= % 22.7% 19.8% 9.6% 5.7% 2007 N= % 21.2% 20.8% 12.0% 6.7% 2008 N= % 16.3% 13.5% 8.8% 2.5% N= % 23.3% 6.2% 12.1% 3.1% N=322 n Produce or source goods or services in China for the China market n Produce or source goods or services in China for the U.S. market n Produce or source goods or services in China for markets other than the U.S. or China n Import goods into China n Other Major Business Challenges As in past years, this year s report asks U.S. companies to rank their top five challenges to doing business in China. While optimistic about business prospects, concerns are evident in terms of operational challenges, particularly human resource (HR) constraints and a problematic regulatory environment that most companies feel is not improving. Companies single out inconsistent regulatory interpretation, unclear regulations, bureaucracy and a lack of transparency among top regulatory-related business challenges. Meanwhile, U.S. companies compete in an increasingly crowded domestic market in China, which presents naturally competitive challenges. Since China s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, competition for market share in China has increased substantially. U.S. companies compete not only with foreign companies but also with domestic Chinese firms, both private as well as state-owned enterprises (SOEs), that are playing a bigger factor. The percentage of companies surveyed that feels competition from Chinese companies has increased jumped to 72 percent in, up from 56 percent in and 57 percent in According to companies surveyed, competition among foreign firms also has increased to 59 percent, returning to a level seen in (Q38): Top 10 challenges 1. Human resources constraints 2. Inconsistent regulatory interpretation 3. Unclear regulations 4. Bureaucracy 5. Lack of transparency 6. Intellectual property rights infringements 7. Tax administration 8. Domestic protectionism 9. Difficulty enforcing contracts 10. Corruption 16 AmCham Shanghai 2011 China Business Report

6 HR Constraints The difficulty in finding, hiring and retaining quality talent in the world s most populous nation has remained the top business challenge for U.S. companies each year since Human resource (HR) constraints are identified as the top operational challenge among 28 percent of companies surveyed. Roughly three times as many respondents this year identify human resource constraints as their No. 1 business challenge over inconsistent regulatory interpretation, their second greatest challenge. A comparison of survey results across years shows U.S. companies found it more difficult to attract managers, executives, technical staff and other skilled workers in than in. Whereas saw an easing of HR challenges, hiring and retention pressures have returned as a byproduct of a fast-growing Chinese economy well past recovery. Fig. 7 (Q45): How has the environment for attracting, developing and retaining staff changed over the last year? Managers and executives 19.5% 14.5% 42.0% 37.1% 40.9% 33.5% 32.9% 33.5% n Easier n Stayed the same n Somewhat more difficult n Much more difficult 21.1% 10.0% 11.1% 2008 N= % N=350 N=325 Policies Related to a Problematic Regulatory Environment A second major business challenge impacting U.S. companies are government policies contributing to a problematic regulatory environment. U.S. companies identify inconsistent regulatory interpretation, unclear regulations, a complex government bureaucracy and a lack of transparency as top-five business challenges. A discouraging sign is a strong majority of companies (63 percent) feel the Chinese regulatory environment is not changing or deteriorating. Bureaucratic licensing procedures, information restrictions and uneven enforcement standards all present daily operational challenges that can hinder growth. Companies point to uncertainty regarding the potential impact of regulations on foreign investment in certain technology industries. A lack of transparency in China s rulemaking process and regulatory oversight is also an ongoing challenge. Nearly 80 percent of companies agree that China s regulatory environment is not transparent, though China has demonstrated an increased commitment to transparency and has made several pieces of draft legislation available for public comment. AmCham Shanghai 2011 China Business Report 17

7 Fig. 8 (Q40): How would you characterize changes in the regulatory environment? 15.2% 36.9% n Improving n Not changing n Deteriorating 47.9% Rising Protectionism U.S. companies are concerned about rising protectionism risks in China that potentially limit market access for U.S. products and services. Survey results show that 48 percent of companies report perceiving a regulatory environment that favors local Chinese companies over foreign rivals. China s government procurement rules and indigenous innovation policies, which promote bringing to market home-grown technologies, may restrict opportunities for foreign companies from competing fairly in China s growing procurement market valued at US$88 billion. While most U.S. companies have not yet been impacted by China s indigenous innovation policies, half of all survey respondents are either very concerned or somewhat concerned about the future impact to their business. IPR Protections A perennial issue for U.S. companies is concern over the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). Nearly 70 percent of companies state IPR continues to be a critically important or very important issue with a growing percentage expressing there has been little progress. According to this year s survey, 71 percent of respondents feel IPR enforcement stayed the same or deteriorated, up from 61 percent in and 64 percent in IPR remains a top concern because U.S. companies perceive a lack of IPR protection and enforcement to be a blow to their competitive advantage and is costing U.S. companies billions of dollars in lost revenue each year. A positive step is China recently has enacted administrative, civil and criminal penalties to enhance deterrence efforts against IPR violations. 18 AmCham Shanghai 2011 China Business Report

8 Fig. 9 (Q48): In the last year, China s enforcement of IPR protection has 18.2% 1.6% 2.9% 59.4% 67.7% 39.0% 29.4% n Deteriorated n Stayed the same n Improved N=313 N=306 SECTOR & INDUSTRY PERFORMANCE China Business Climate Indices This year s report includes newly added China Business Climate Indices, which quantitatively measure U.S. companies by Success, Confidence and Welcoming indicators. These measurements have the advantage of encapsulating companies responses to several survey items into broad concepts. The goals are to understand better the state of U.S. business performance in China and to identify what U.S. companies must pay attention to in China by sector and industry. The Success indicator measures U.S. companies business performance. Companies are considered successful to the extent that their survey responses meet the following requirements: Companies state that they were profitable or very profitable in Revenue growth exceeded 20 percent year-over-year in Cash flow was very positive in Confidence is a forward-looking indicator that takes a look at U.S. companies financial optimism and long-term business prospects. Companies are considered confident to the extent that survey responses meet the following requirements: Forecast 2011 revenue growth exceeding 10 percent Express either a very optimistic or optimistic five-year business outlook Expect to increase market growth over 10 percent annually over the next five years Plan to increase their China market investments by over 15 percent in 2011 Welcoming examines U.S. companies perceptions of the degree to which China provides a level playing field for foreign competition and a transparent regulatory environment. Companies are considered to be operating in a welcoming environment to the extent which their survey responses meet the following requirements: AmCham Shanghai 2011 China Business Report 19

9 Feel China treats foreign companies equally or better than domestic companies Perceive China s regulatory environment as either improving or not changing Regard China s regulatory environment as transparent Just as there is no one China market, there is an increasing diversity of U.S. companies operating in China. More than a quarter (27 percent) of all companies surveyed say that they work in more than one of the three market sectors, demonstrating a healthy maturity and penetration of the China market. Fig. 10 (Q6): Which of the following choices best describes your company s revenue source(s)? 100% manufacturing (no revenue from services or retail) 31.5% 100% services (no revenue from manufacturing or retail) 36.2% 100% retail (no revenue from manufacturing or services) 5.5% A combination of manufacturing, services and/or retail 26.8% N=343 To tease out various differences, the survey breaks the China market into three sectors manufacturing, services and retail and into seven notable industries with high response rates. Each sector and industry is scored against the China Business Climate Indices to measure Success, Confidence and Welcoming in addition to business performance indicators of profitability, revenue growth and cash flow. Use of the China Business Climate Indices allows for a deeper evaluation of the wide degree of performance, prospects, business environment and experience among sectors and industries in China. Below is a snapshot of the results and major trends affecting manufacturing, services and retail sectors, as well as U.S. companies broad performance within several of the industries measured. A breakdown of results by sector and industry may be found in the appendix. SECTOR TRENDS Manufacturing U.S. manufacturing companies had a good year in, continuing a history of successful business in China and maintaining a healthy confidence in their future prospects. Manufacturers score at or above the average sample across Success, Confidence and Welcoming indicators. An overwhelming 84 percent of U.S. manufacturers state that they were profitable in, edged out in performance only by retailers. By a doubledigit margin, manufacturers beat out services companies and retailers in terms of the percent of companies forecasting revenue growth exceeding 20 percent. The sector also stands out for its heavy reliance on a China for China strategy, producing a number of goods to sell to local markets. Services Underperformance in the services sector remains an issue for U.S. businesses despite a competitive advantage and an opportunity to lead growth in a relatively underdeveloped sector of the Chinese economy. The data show service companies score the lowest of all 20 AmCham Shanghai 2011 China Business Report

10 three sectors across Success, Confidence and Welcoming indicators. Similarly, a smaller percentage of services companies reports profitability, strong revenue growth and positive cash flow compared to manufacturers and retailers. Success 1. Retail (63%) 2. Manufacturing (59%) 3. Services (41%) Confidence 1. Retail (62%) 2. Manufacturing (54%) 3. Services (49%) Welcoming 1. Retail (59%) 2. Manufacturing (51%) 3. Services (44%) To a greater extent than in other sectors, services companies face operating restrictions and market access barriers that stunt growth. Reflecting growth concerns, 41 percent of services companies say they are forecasting over 20 percent revenue growth slightly lower than the other sectors scored. A majority of services companies also indicates that government regulations are slanted in favor of domestic companies over foreign rivals. The need to address areas of concern for services companies is especially urgent in Shanghai as China s commercial and financial capital builds the foundation to become an international financial center and shipping hub by Demand for financial services, as well as the supporting legal, accounting and insurance industries, is likely to be strong over the next decade, presenting a unique opportunity for U.S. services companies. Retail Retailers show the strongest performance of all three sectors across Success, Confidence and Welcoming indicators, dovetailing with the rapid growth of China s consumer class and a strong commitment to selling retail products for the domestic market. Compared to other sectors, a greater percentage of retailers reports Success (63 percent), Confidence (62 percent) and Welcoming (59 percent) evidence that there is a bright future for companies in China retail. Retailers business performance is very good with a higher percentage of companies reporting both profitability and positive cash flow compared to the other sectors. Retailers are much more likely than any other sector to rank IPR protection as a top-three business challenge, indicating the difficulties in protecting trademarks and brands in China. Industry Trends Automotive The automotive sector has been a pleasant surprise in recent years. U.S. companies have seen sales rocket in China as the country s automotive market pushed past the U.S. market in to become the world s largest. The data show U.S. automotive companies come out on top in terms of Confidence about their future business prospects. The automotive industry ranks second behind industrial electronics on the percentage of companies (59 percent) forecasting revenue growth exceeding 20 percent. HR challenges are significantly greater for companies in the automotive sector than for nearly all industries scored, indicating that a scramble for talent is especially intense in this rapidly growing industry. Energy U.S. energy companies in China participate in both old energy (e.g., coal and gas) and new energy (e.g., wind and solar power) fields. Nearly nine out of 10 energy companies are profitable in China, but business operations bump up against a number of government policies. As a result, U.S. energy companies operate in an environment they consider the least Welcoming of all industries scored. Only 40 percent of companies indicate that they feel welcome, despite the importance of the industry to China s future and the market potential for growth. More than half of companies surveyed feel there is a strong preference for domestic companies, thereby potentially limiting foreign participation in an industry listed as protected. About the same percentage share the view that China s indigenous innovation policies could have a negative impact on business, scoring as the most concerned, along with automotive, among the seven industries polled. AmCham Shanghai 2011 China Business Report 21

11 (Q39) Regulatory preference given to local companies (% respondents agree) 1. Healthcare (55%) 2. Energy (53%) 3. Consumer goods (51%) 4. Chemicals (47%) 5. Autos (44%) 6. IT & Telecoms (43%) 7. Electronics (37%) Sample mean: 44% Healthcare Healthcare is a rapidly growing industry in China and has been the target of a massive investment by the Chinese government. Efforts are being made not only to improve healthcare in China but also to move China towards an economy driven more by consumer demand and less by export growth. As China spends heavily to advance a relatively underdeveloped industry, 80 percent of U.S. healthcare companies report that they were profitable in. Healthcare companies come in second place in Confidence behind only those in the automotive industry. A high degree of confidence is based on an expectation that the healthcare market in China will continue to expand to serve an increasingly ageing and affluent Chinese population. As more Chinese continue to move up the economic ladder, a greater number are willing to spend discretionary income on higher quality medical services and demand more professional hospitals stocked with Western medical equipment and the latest pharmaceuticals. More than any other industry, healthcare companies disproportionately consider a lack of transparency a hindrance to their business. Companies point to inconsistent enforcement of healthcare regulations and difficulties understanding healthcare reforms promulgated in, particularly in the pharmaceutical sector. Healthcare companies also worry about the negative impact of China s indigenous innovation policies and perceive that China shows a preference for domestic companies in an industry dominated by local players. Chemicals The chemicals industry is another strong performer, reporting a greater-than-average level of profitability and scoring the highest on the Welcoming index among all industries measured. U.S. chemical companies in China stand out for being highly localized which may be an indicator of the level of maturity in the chemicals industry in China and the strong presence of local buyers and competitors. Chemical companies score above average on the Confidence and Welcoming indicators, possibly reflecting an environment in which the Chinese government encourages foreign investment to help develop the domestic industry. Perhaps for the same reason, chemical company respondents indicate that they are among the most negatively impacted by China s indigenous innovation policies and the most concerned about domestic protectionism. Success 1. Electronics (62%) 2. Autos (57%) 3. Consumer Goods (55%) 4. Healthcare (52%) 5. Chemicals (49%) Energy (49%) IT & Telecoms (49%) Confidence 1. Autos (66%) 2. Healthcare (61%) 3. Electronics (57%) 4. Chemicals (56%) IT & Telecoms (56%) 6. Consumer Goods (53%) 7. Energy (52%) Welcoming 1. Chemicals (57%) 2. Electronics (56%) 3. Autos (51%) 4. Healthcare (49%) IT & Telecom (49%) 6. Consumer Goods (43%) 7. Energy (40%) 22 AmCham Shanghai 2011 China Business Report

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