29th November 2023: China’s Decision to Apply Unilateral Visa-free Policy to More Countries

This episode contains segments on China’s decision to grant visa-free entry for citizens of five European countries and Malaysia; on profits of larger industrial firms in China in the first ten months of 2023; on the first China International Supply Chain Expo; on the central bank’s notice of pledging more financial support for private companies. From the Chamber’s side: join us in Shanghai on 5th December for the China Outlook Conference 2024, where prominent business executives and experts will share their insights on the prospects for the Chinese market and provide a deeper understanding of the shifting dynamics of doing business in China.


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Read more:

China waives visa-requirement for travellers from six countries


China industrial profits, January-October (in Chinese)


First China International Supply Chain Expo


PBOC and seven other departments pledge more financial support for private sector


European Chamber event: China Outlook Conference 2024



XINHE: Hello and welcome to China Shortcuts,

MARIANN: the European Chamber’s weekly catchup on China’s business landscape.


XINHE: Starting from 30th November, China will grant visa-free entry for citizens of five European countries and Malaysia, and allow them to stay in the country for up to 15 days.  

MARIANN: The five European countries that are included in the newly announced visa exemption policy are France, Germany, Italy, Holland and Spain. The European Chamber welcomes the announcement and hopes to see more European nations added to this list soon. It is positive that the authorities are taking steps to facilitate people-to-people exchanges, something that is necessary if China is to regain its allure as an investment destination and boost business confidence.


XINHE: Profits of larger industrial firms in China dropped by 7.8 per cent year-on-year in the first ten months of 2023. The data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on 27th November showed that the fall in industrial profits have been slowing since February.

MARIANN: Industrial firms above the designated size have made over RMB 6 trillion in the period from January to October. This number is lower than the same data from the previous two years, however, it is almost RMB 1 trillion higher than industrial profits gained in the first ten months of 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of the three sectors of mining, manufacturing and utilities, only utility providers were able to increase their profits compared to the same period last year. In its statement, the statistics bureau highlighted that October was the third month in a row when industrial profits increased year-on-year.  


XINHE: The first China International Supply Chain Expo opened on 28th November, with over 500 enterprises showcasing their portfolios to potential collaborators.

MARIANN: According to the organisers, 26 per cent of the exhibitors are foreign companies, with a number of European Chamber members among them. There is an expectation that the expo will provide more clarity on how China sees its role in global supply chains, as well as how some of the pressing issues in trade and globalisation can be addressed. Businesses also expect that the opportunities China can provide for strengthening global supply chains will be showcased.

Increasing supply chain resilience is a top priority for European businesses in China. More than three quarters of respondents to the Business Confidence Survey 2023 reported they have reviewed their supply chain strategies over the past two years as their fragility was exposed due to a number of disruptions.


XINHE: On 27th November, China’s central bank and seven other departments jointly issued a notice, pledging more financial support for private companies.

MARIANN: According to the Notice, financial support for private businesses will be increased through setting annual targets for financial institutions about providing services to private companies. At the same time, the proportion of loans granted for private enterprises will also be increased. Support for key areas including scientific and technological innovation and green and low-carbon development will also be boosted.  While the Notice mentions that support will be provided for private companies to go global, it does not specify whether foreign-invested private companies will also benefit from the relevant measures.


XINHE: In recent years, confidence in the Chinese market has experienced a significant decline. Government policies have increasingly prioritised ideology over economic concerns. This shift has cast doubts on the reliability, predictability, and efficiency that were once pillars of China’s economic success.

MARIANN: Despite the enormous size and untapped potential of the Chinese market, European businesses have become more cautious. Except for the largest corporations, most have placed their planned investments in China on hold. Headquarters are now primarily focused on bolstering supply chain resilience and mitigating various risks. Many companies have opted to localise and silo their China operations, often at significant costs.

XINHE: Join us in Shanghai on 5th December, where prominent business executives and experts will share their insights on the prospects for the Chinese market and provide a deeper understanding of the shifting dynamics of doing business in China.


MARIANN: Thanks for listening. Tune in again next week.

XINHE: In the meantime, please find useful links in the episode notes.

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