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Xinhua: Chinese businesses in EU manage to grow despite sentiment drop: report

Xinhua| Updated: Oct 1, 2022

BRUSSELS, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese businesses in the European Union (EU) recorded a rapid growth in 2021 despite the impact of COVID-19 recurrences and supply chain bottlenecks, the China Chamber of Commerce to the EU (CCCEU) said in its annual flagship report on Friday.

The report, jointly released by CCCEU and global consultancy Roland Berger, also revealed that the Chinese companies' sentiment on the EU's business environment plummeted to a three-year low.

The EU's introduction of a set of unilateral economic and trade instruments raises concerns among Chinese firms that they might morph into protectionist measures, showed the results of surveys and interviews of some 150 Chinese companies and organizations in June and July this year.

An overwhelmingly 96 percent of respondents said they are worried about the negative impact of the foreign subsidies legislation, and 27 percent, 40 percent, and 35 percent of respondents respectively rated negatively on the bloc's foreign direct investment screening, the International Procurement Instrument, and the Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence.

"We all know it is not easy for China and the EU to maintain the stability of their massive cooperation," said Xu Haifeng, Chairman of the CCCEU, stressing that the interplay between geopolitical dynamics and the pandemic, among other challenges, has been weighing on the economies of China, Europe and beyond, as well as the global value chains and supply chains.

"Despite the challenging circumstances, China-EU economic and trade cooperation has managed to maintain growth momentum and has played a key role in driving the global economic recovery," highlighted Denis Depoux, global managing director of Roland Berger.

More than 70 percent of survey respondents reported about the same or slightly higher level of earnings before interest and tax compared to 2020, said the report. The aggregate revenue of Chinese enterprises in the EU bloc added up to 163 billion euros (159.8 billion U.S. dollars) in 2021, up by 8.4 percent year on year.

Chinese companies contribute to the EU's employment, said the report. More than 80 percent of employees in Chinese firms in the bloc came from EU member states last year, up by three percent from the preceding year.

In 2021, Chinese enterprises filed 16,665 patent applications in the European Patent Office (EPO), increasing by 24 percent year-on-year on top of the 10 percent growth from 2019 to 2020.

Among the 30 leading countries of origin for applications, Chinese enterprises recorded the highest rate of growth and the fourth-largest number of applications.