Foreign business confidence dropping . . .
Multinational businesses operating in China are gauging their expectations and alternatives carefully, as fresh COVID-19 outbreaks and tightened pandemic-related restrictions continue to weigh on economic conditions across the country, including in Shanghai, China’s top financial and commerce centre. A survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham China) released on Monday indicates a staggering 52 per cent of U.S. businesses interviewed “have already either delayed or decreased investments” in China. Meanwhile, 59 per cent of respondents saw their current production capabilities slowed, and 58 per cent have reduced this year’s revenue projections. The survey report also highlights an imminent “mass exodus of foreign talent this summer,” as travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for entering China become increasingly unpredictable.
Estimated 1.6M deaths if China gives up zero-COVID policy: Study . . .
The World Health Organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom has become the latest prominent voice to question China’s ‘zero-COVID strategy’ by calling it “unsustainable” at a Tuesday press conference. Meanwhile, expert research findings released on Tuesday argue that lifting zero-COVID measures could have an overwhelming impact on the country’s health-care system. Based on an Omicron transmission model built by researchers from Fudan University and Indiana University, they argue that an unchecked Omicron wave across China could lead to 112.2 million symptomatic cases and 1.55 million deaths by July resulting in a more than ten-fold demand on existing intensive care capacity. Mirroring a pre-Omicron modelling study by Peking University researchers, this new study attributes China’s “insufficient prevention” to relatively low vaccine rates among the elderly and the efficacy of domestically developed vaccines.
Beijing walks fine line between managing COVID and economic priorities . . .
Beijing’s stringent measures to wipe out all COVID cases have become a source of mounting public discontent in China. Footage and personal accounts about mishandled food resource allocation and unattended medical emergencies, seen in Shanghai and other Chinese cities, flooded Chinese social media in the past weeks despite government censorship. The growing burden that massive lockdowns and restrictions put on China’s economy is both hurting business confidence and economic activities domestically and disrupting the global supply chain, given China’s heavy footprint across various sectors, from raw materials to manufactured goods. Even though Beijing renewed a pledge to cling to its zero-COVID measures last week while also looking to minimize the economic impact, China’s leaders will have to walk a fine line to reconcile both priorities.
- BBC (Chinese): 美国商会调查：防疫致半数在华美企减投资 因“隧道尽头看不到光”
- South China Morning Post: Ending China’s Covid controls could lead to 1.5 million deaths, study says
- The Washington Post: Why China is sticking with its ‘Covid zero’ strategy