COVID-19 Isn’t Triggering Exodus of US Firms, Yet More View Decoupling from China as Real Possibility

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A new survey has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to prompt US companies to pursue a wholesale withdrawal of their business operations in China, although more executive view economic decoupling of the two countries as a real possibility.

The survey conducted in March by the American chambers of commerce in Shanghai and Beijing in cooperation with consultancy PricewaterHouse Coopers found that nearly 70% of respondents expected their China supply chain operations to return to normal in under three months, with 96% expecting normalcy within six months.

“Our survey results show that companies are considering adjustments to their business strategy, but there is no mass exodus as a result of COVID-19,” said Ker Gibbs, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, to Reuters.

The survey conducted from 6 – 13 March obtained responses from the senior executives of 25 companies with global revenue in excess of USD$500 million, covering sectors including healthcare and consumer goods.

While the respondents expect a rapid resumption of supply chain normalcy, an increasing number view the economic decoupling of China and the US to be a real possibility.

44% of respondents said that decoupling of China and the US was impossible, as compared to 66% in a prior survey conducted in October.

“There is a perceived greater potential for greater economic decoupling,” said Jan Nicholas, consulting partner at PwC China.

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