The webinar featured two China experts who provided meaningful insights and candid opinions on the obstacles arising for U.S. companies in China. Shan Huang, deputy managing editor and an editorial board member of Caixin Media, focused on the new buzzwords in China, “common prosperity” and “dual circulation”. He pointed out that these are mere phrases that will take a gradual process to implement. Jacob Wood of GreenPoint Group noted that despite the tense geo-political situation between the U.S. and China, U.S. businesses, especially U.S. multinationals, are still committed to the China market. He believes U.S. businesses will push for further progress in securing trade relations which may help to lessen tensions. Jacob mentioned that there is an “information paradox” as what the U.S. headquarters hear about China in the media is often much different from the reality on the ground in China. The pandemic has heightened this information gap as foreign executives are unable to travel to China and see the situation first hand. It was suggested that successful foreign companies in China have consistently targeted long-term plans that engage all stakeholders. Creating a deep commitment to understanding China and adapting to the Chinese market is the key to facing China’s new obstacles.
When posed the question whether trade relations will get better or worse in the upcoming year, the unanimous answer was that it will continue to be rocky, however there is desire and incentive from both sides to move forward and to quell the tension. Awaiting more information and clarity from the White House regarding China policy, the advice for companies is to diversify suppliers and contractors but hold steady in China for the immediate future. Shan Huang states that if we can look beyond the next 12 months and into the future, China will still be the “workshop of the world” and also a huge market for foreign companies.