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Vast Majority of U.S. and U.K. Businesses in China Hit by Virus, Some Relocating Jobs: Surveys

By Flynn Murphy / Feb 10, 2020 04:30 PM / Economy

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Twin surveys by foreign business groups reveal the impact of China’s virus outbreak on British and American companies operating in the country, which complain of revenue losses, disrupted staffing and added compliance costs.

More than half of 126 British companies surveyed by the Beijing-based British Chamber of Commerce in China said the outbreak had a significant negative impact on their business, while almost all had been adversely affected in some way.

More than a quarter could not predict when they would return to business as usual, while 23% expected normal operations to resume by the end of the month and 31% by the end of March.

In the survey, released Monday, about half of British firms said they needed clarity from the Chinese government about its policies on containing the virus and potential economic stimulus measures.

A small proportion of British companies were actually benefiting from the potentially deadly disease — mostly those engaged in online and study abroad education services.

A survey by the AmCham Shanghai released on Friday found 87% of 127 U.S. companies operating in China expected their 2020 revenues to suffer as a result of the outbreak, with almost a quarter expecting them to drop 16% or more.

Twenty-nine percent of the U.S. respondents said their corporate headquarters did not fully understand the outbreak's potential economic impact. About 10% expected to relocate jobs out of China but most did not, with a third saying it was too early to know.

Considerably more relocations were expected from British companies. Almost a quarter of surveyed companies that employ British nationals said they would move them — 9% back to the U.K., and 14% elsewhere outside the Chinese mainland.

Read the full story on Caixin Global later today.

Contact reporter Flynn Murphy (

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