Chinese firms try ‘decoupling’ from China as US business climate turns hostile

  • Public relations specialists note a growing trend of Chinese companies trying to localise their image and operations to remain competitive in the US.
  • Between perceived security threats and an emphasis on new supply chain alternatives, US policies have left Chinese firms scrambling for cover.
  • In the US, “Made in China” and “China-based” – once-proud labels for many businesses with ambitions of promoting Chinese ingenuity and quality in international markets – are now politically toxic, often drawing regulatory scrutiny and public distrust.
  • A Chinese General Chamber of Commerce survey in July of 111 Chinese companies operating in the US found that “optimism is in decline due to sustained trade disruptions and an increasingly uncertain regulatory environment”, with 82% of Americans expressing a negative view, according to a Pew Research Centre survey in 2022.
  • There is now a major trend among Chinese companies aiming to ‘de-China’ themselves due to the aforementioned negative sentiments and poisonous business climate.
  • In this charged climate, it can be “very hazardous” for any business to be labelled as “Chinese”. The label of China can connect companies to geopolitics even when there is no real connection between a company and the Chinese government.
  • On a more political note, while eliminating most anti-China rhetoric from his administration, Biden has kept Trump’s protectionist policies intact, and even in some cases gone a step further. This year, he signed into law two key bills aimed at moving supply chains back home or to friendly countries to compete against and counter China.

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