European companies sour on China business climate
European companies say increasingly unfair, capricious Chinese government interference is making China a less attractive place to do business, according to a survey released Tuesday by the EU business group.
An annual survey of 500 European businesses in China found that 36 percent believe Chinese government policies have become less fair in the past two years and a slightly higher percentage expect the situation to get worse in the future.
Businesses complained in particular about selective enforcement of laws and regulations, spotty protection of intellectual property rights and opaque processes for company registrations, visas and work permits, the EU Chamber of Commerce in China said.
The survey and the chamber's president warned that conditions were dampening enthusiasm for the China market.
"These persisting regulatory challenges temper the attractiveness of China as a long term investment destination," said chamber president Jacques de Boisseson. "Our member companies' continued commitment to China as an investment location is not unconditional and would be further bolstered by a clearer and more predictable business environment."
The European complaints match those of other foreign companies who have complained of a worsening business climate in China.
In recent years, Chinese government agencies have blocked several attempted high-profile acquisitions by foreign companies, among them preventing Coca-Cola Co. from buying Huiyuan Juice Group. Beijing is also trying to promote innovation policies that foreign companies say will force them to turn over proprietary technologies and other information if they want to be eligible to sell products to the government.