This episode contains segments on China’s 2023 inbound and outbound passenger flows and the number of its foreign residents; on China’s intention to extend its visa-free policy to two more European countries; on the country’s actual use of foreign direct investment in 2023; on the restart of trading of voluntary greenhouse gas emission reduction credits and on the declining number of privately-owned companies among of China’s top 100 listed firms. From the Chamber’s side: the Business Confidence Survey 2024 opened on 15th January to collect members’ feedback on China’s business environment.
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China 2023 cross-border passenger flow and foreign resident data
China 2023 actual use of FDI
CCER scheme restarted
PIIE tracker of China’s top 100 listed firms by ownership
European Chamber: Business Confidence Survey 2024
XINHE: Hello and welcome to China Shortcuts,
XINHE: According to China’s National Immigration Administration, in 2023 the number of foreign nationals living in China recovered to 85 per cent of the level recorded at the end of 2019.
MARIANN: In response to media questions at a press conference held on 18th January, the immigration office said that it issued 711,000 residence permits to foreign nationals living in the country in 2023. Passenger flows at China’s borders have also showed significant increases since the country reopened at the beginning of last year. Overall, inbound and outbound passenger flows surged more than 260 per cent, surpassing 400 million. The steepest rise was recorded in the number of exits and entries made by foreign nationals, which at 35 million was almost eight times as high as the number recorded in 2022.
XINHE: During his official trip to Europe in mid-January, Chinese Premier Li Qiang announced that China would extend its visa-free policy to two more European countries.
MARIANN: Holders of Swiss and Irish passports will also be able to enter China without a visa. While the details of this unilateral move are yet to be clarified, it is likely that the policy will be similar to the waiving of visa requirements for nationals of six countries announced late last November. Since 30th November, citizens of France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Spain and Malaysia can stay in China visa-free for up to 15 days.
XINHE: Data released by China’s Ministry of Commerce on 19th January showed that the country’s actual use of foreign direct investment shrank 8 per cent year-on-year in 2023.
MARIANN: FDI utilisation experienced a decline for the seventh consecutive month according to year-end data, with the rate of decrease easing to the slowest pace recorded since August. At the same time, the number of newly-established foreign-invested firms rose almost 40 per cent compared to 2022, surpassing 53,000. The actual use of FDI in manufacturing dropped 1.8 per cent, while in services it fell 13.4 per cent year-on-year. However, overall the services sector received more than twice as much FDI as manufacturing.
XINHE: On 22nd January the government restarted national trading of China Certified Emissions Reduction credits, with the aim of helping to fund projects that can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
MARIANN: The China Certified Emission Reduction scheme was first launched in 2012 but then suspended in 2017 as trading volumes remained relatively subdued. Last year, in preparation for relaunching the scheme, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and the State Administration for Market regulation jointly issued a new set of measures to govern it. The national registration and trading systems are hosted online by the Beijing Green Exchange.
XINHE: According to analysis conducted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the number of private firms among China’s top 100 listed companies continued to fall in 2023.
MARIANN: The institute’s calculations show that while in mid-2021 more than half of China’s top 100 companies were privately-owned, by the end of 2023 that number had fallen below 37 per cent. Meanwhile, the share of majority-state owned enterprises in the top 100 surged from 31 per cent in mid-2021 to 50 per cent by the end of last year. The Peterson Institute argued that the shrinking share held by the private sector among the country’s top companies indicates that the Chinese government’s recent pledges to advance the development of the private sector have yet to be successful at restoring investor confidence.
XINHE: Every year, the European Chamber conducts its Business Confidence Survey to provide a comprehensive analysis of the Chinese business environment.
MARIANN: This year’s online survey officially opened on 15th January. All information received from members will be anonymised and remain strictly confidential. The results will be published in May and presented to Chinese and European officials, media and other organisations.
XINHE: Complete the survey before 9th February to add your company’s voice to the Chamber’s advocacy messaging for the year ahead.
MARIANN: Thanks for listening, and don’t forget to tune in again next week!
XINHE: In the meantime, please find useful links in the episode notes.