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2024-05-10 | All chapters

European Chamber Calls for Action to Restore Business Confidence

Beijing, 10th May 2024 – The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, in partnership with Roland Berger, today released its European Business in China Business Confidence Survey 2024 (BCS). The annual survey shows that despite the re-opening of China’s borders in early 2023, business confidence in the market continued on a downward trend.

Instead of benefitting from the strong economic rebound that many had expected, European firms operating in China found themselves facing more uncertainty. China’s structural issues—including sluggish demand, growing overcapacity and the continued challenges in the real estate sector—along with market access and regulatory barriers, continued to negatively impact European companies.

A positive finding in the survey is the notable increase in the proportion of respondents reporting market opening in their industry (45%, +9pp y-o-y). However, 68% reported that business became more difficult, the highest percentage on record. In addition:

  • 55% of respondents ranked China’s economic slowdown as a top-3 business challenge, a 19-percentage point increase year-on-year (y-o-y);
  • 58% missed business opportunities as a result of market access or regulatory barriers;
  • 44% are pessimistic about profitability over the next two years, the highest level on record; and the proportion of respondents positive about their growth prospects dropped a staggering 23 percentage points y-o-y.

The strategies companies are employing to adapt to the business environment have the potential to set China into a negative cycle that would add to the country’s economic woes:

  • 52% of respondents plan to cut costs, with 26% of them doing so by reducing headcount.
  • 13% have already shifted, or taken the decision to shift, existing investments out of China (although 21% have indicated they will be onshoring more of their supply chain).
  • 42% are considering expanding their operations in China in 2024 – the lowest level on record.

“There are worrying signs that some European companies are either siloing operations or scaling down their ambitions in China as the challenges they face start to outweigh the benefits of being here,” said Jens Eskelund, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. “While the Chinese Government is frequently signalling its intent to improve the business environment, we now need to see concrete action to restore investor confidence.”

“European companies are confronted by growing uncertainties in China, in large part due to economic volatility and less predictable policy direction,” said Denis Depoux, global managing director of Roland Berger. “While volatility can be managed, the lack of predictability may reduce the appeal of the Chinese market.”

Download the report here.






  • 55%受访企业将中国经济放缓位列为三大商业挑战之一,同比增长19个百分点。
  • 58%受访企业因市场准入或监管壁垒而错失商机。
  • 44%受访企业对未来两年盈利状况持悲观态度,达到历史最高水平;对业务前景持积极态度的受访企业较去年骤减,降幅达23个百分点。


  • 52%受访企业计划削减成本,其中26%企业将通过裁员来实现。
  • 13%受访企业已经或已决定将现有在华资产进行转移(尽管21%的受访企业表示将加大供应链在岸外包)。
  • 42%受访企业考虑在2024年扩大在华业务,为历史最低水平。




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Xinhe Fan