Despite global trade tensions, China remains the second most attractive market for growth. According to PwC's 2019 Global CEO survey, 24% of global CEOs said that China was the most important territory for their organisation's growth prospects in the year ahead, albeit down from 33% in 2018. These were among the key business talking points highlighted at the recent PwC Ireland business luncheon celebrating the 40th anniversary of bilateral relations between China and Ireland, which fell on Chinese New Year, which this year celebrates the year of the pig.
Attendees at the luncheon were H.E. Dr. Yue Xiaoyong, the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, Heather Humphreys, TD, Ireland’s Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation, representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs, as well as members of the Association of Chinese Enterprises in Ireland, Irish corporates and SMEs.
The survey further revealed that over a third (35%) of Chinese CEOs are very confident about revenue growth for their businesses in the year ahead. New strategic alliances or joint ventures (60%) and entering a new market (57%) will be key drivers for growth in the year ahead.
Unsurprisingly, given trade tensions, China's CEOs' reliance on the US for growth has dropped to 17% from 59% in 2018. The survey highlights that China's CEOs are consequently diversifying their markets for growth. China CEOs are adjusting their growth strategy and are investing in different countries.
Addressing the event, H.E. Dr. Yue Xiaoyong, Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, said: “Year 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of bilateral relations between China and Ireland. As the second largest economy in the world and 30% global growth contributor, China will create more opportunities for Ireland and the rest of the world in 2019. We will continue to carry out the Reform, Opening-up and support multilateralism.”
Also addressing the event, Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, said: “This is a special time in Ireland-China relations as we mark the 40th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. The Irish Government truly values the connections that we and our Irish companies, educational institutes, cultural institutes and people have built with China. Our economic ties have never been better I am delighted with the positive progress that we have seen in the areas of trade and investment and very happy to report that Irish companies are successfully competing in the Chinese market. I am confident that the ties between Ireland and China will become stronger as we continue our engagements, dialogues and visits in both directions.”
Joe Tynan, Tax Leader, PwC Ireland, said: “We have reached an interesting point in terms of trade between both countries and we look to continued synergy between our two economies. China CEOs are confident about future growth and market diversification. They want to access the EU market of 500 million people. Ireland offers a tried and trusted entry point to the EU. Significantly, a number of key Chinese companies in Technology, Life Sciences and Financial Services have chosen Ireland as their Launchpad. Equally, China offers Irish companies great opportunities for growth, particularly at this time as companies look to diversify from the UK market. The survey highlights China’s CEOs’ appetite for a joint venture or strategic alliance. Having a partner on the ground in China is a very good way to build relationships and start business with this important growth market.”
More to do on data
China's CEOs, like global CEOs around the world, overwhelmingly see the importance of key information for long-term successful decision making but the data they receive is not adequate or comprehensive. For example, 96% of China CEOs scored having financial forecasts and projections as important, but just 33% said that the data they received is 'comprehensive’. Other key areas where the data received is not comprehensive are with respect to: business risks, tax risks, performance on industry peers and brand and reputation.
Enwright De Sales, PwC Ireland China Leader, said: “Technology including data is critical for successful business decision making. Getting the right data and receiving it on time and securing it is really important particularly as Chinese companies expand into Europe. Ireland’s leading technology and data ecosystem offers Chinese companies a base from which to successfully grow their European business leveraging on the technology and data analytic skills sets and even deploy this in their home and other markets. Making decisions based on data and analytics is critical as companies continue on the growth trajectory and Ireland is well placed to partner with China companies in this regard.”
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