Here’s how China’s latest Covid lockdowns have affected American businesses in the country

The metropolis of Shanghai, where many foreign businesses are located, entered a two-part lockdown this week as municipal authorities sought to control an outbreak in China’s worst Covid wave in two years.
Hector Retamal | Afp | Getty Images

BEIJING — China’s worst Covid wave since the initial shock of the pandemic has cut into annual revenue projections for roughly half of American businesses in the country, a survey showed Friday.

The Beijing-based American Chamber of Commerce in China and its Shanghai counterpart surveyed 167 members operating in China, including 76 manufacturers, this past Tuesday and Wednesday.

The metropolis of Shanghai, where many foreign businesses are located, entered a two-part lockdown this week as municipal authorities sought to control a brewing number of Covid cases. Those measures followed shorter lockdowns in the tech hub of Shenzhen, the manufacturing hub of Dongguan and travel restrictions across the country.

The survey found that 54% of respondents have lowered 2022 revenue projections for the year due to the latest Covid-19 outbreak.

Among manufacturers, more than 80% reported slowed or reduced production, as well as supply chain disruptions.

Nearly all, or 99%, of respondents said the latest outbreak had affected them.

Since the pandemic began in 2020 and China tightened restrictions on international travel, foreign businesses in China have complained of long quarantine requirements upon arrival and difficulties of bringing in senior management or technical staff.

If China’s current Covid-19 restrictions remain in place for the next year, half of respondents to this week’s AmCham survey said they would reduce investment. Nearly 75% of respondents said maintaining those restrictions would reduce their revenue and profit.

And nearly 20% of manufacturers said they would move manufacturing or operations out of mainland China if the Covid-19 restrictions remained.

While just about half of respondents overall were satisfied with China’s efforts to control Covid’s spread, the top three aspects of dissatisfaction were the length of required quarantines, restrictions on travel to China and the lack of flights to China.

The top three recommendations from survey respondents were to allow for home quarantine or other options, simplify requirements for coming to China and allow more flights into the country.

The number of new Covid cases and deaths reported in mainland China remains well below that of major countries.

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