The Swiss Business in China Survey 2023 is the second such inquiry carried out since the start of the pandemic—following the COVID- induced hiatus in 2021— and follows previous editions published between 2006 and 2019.
This Swiss Business in China Survey 2022 reflects the tumultuous events of this year. This is the first time that we have needed to conduct a follow-up mid-year flash survey to re-evaluate the level of business sentiment recorded at the start of the year. We felt that this was essential in order to understand how war in Europe, growing geopolitical tensions in Asia, and the ongoing Omicron lockdowns in China have impacted the expectations of Swiss companies for 2022 and beyond.
For the Swiss business community, it is for the sixth time possible to understand how similarly Swiss, European and American companies perceive their China environment. In terms of profitability, however, Swiss companies are stagnating (61% announce to be “profitable” or “very profitable”). This may in a sense explain why after a marked rebound in confidence last year, Swiss firms see the long term with less confidence than the immediate future. It is the first time this has happened since the survey is conducted. It is also noteworthy that, on the other hand, Chinese firms continue to expect better times over the long term.
This year’s survey is marked by a measurable rebound in confidence, companies of all origins surveyed report a higher level of confidence for the coming year than they did last year. Contrary to what is usually reported in the international media, western companies continue to succeed in the form of growing sales and profits in China, despite slower economic growth. In fact, in 2017 the expectation for improved sales is over 10 percentage points higher for large foreign companies and 25 percentage points higher for foreign SMEs when compared to 2016. And while larger foreign companies have lower sales and profit expectations than their Chinese counterparts, foreign SMEs expect to do as well as Chinese ones.