The flags of the U.S. and China.

Holger Gogolin | iStock | Getty Photos

BEIJING – The outlook for U.S. companies in China is bettering, whether or not politically or revenue-wise, the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai mentioned in a survey launched Friday.

Out of 124 firm leaders surveyed from Nov. 11 to 15, solely two mentioned they’re extra pessimistic about doing enterprise in China following President-elect Joe Biden’s win this month.

Simply over half, or 54.8%, mentioned they’re “extra optimistic” and eight.1% are “way more optimistic” given the anticipated change from President Donald Trump’s administration, the survey discovered.

“The vast majority of our respondents take a look at it as a constructive,” Ker Gibbs, president of AmCham Shanghai, informed CNBC in a telephone interview. “The Biden administration can be a constructive to the soundness of the surroundings, the soundness of the connection.”

Tensions between the U.S. and China escalated beneath the Trump administration, which took a tricky method to addressing longstanding complaints about unfair enterprise practices within the Chinese language state-dominated system. Each international locations utilized tariffs on billions of {dollars}’ price of products from the opposite. The White Home subsequently put Chinese language telecommunications big Huawei and different firms on a blacklist that stops them from shopping for components from key U.S. suppliers.

Underneath a Biden administration, solely 5.6% of AmCham Shanghai survey respondents anticipate extra tariffs. As a substitute, 70.2% anticipate new U.S. management will work extra with different international locations to place stress on commerce relations with China.

The AmCham Shanghai research was performed with PwC and included 50 chamber members with world income of greater than $1 billion. The survey’s scale was smaller than the 346 respondents who participated in AmCham Shanghai’s annual enterprise local weather survey performed from June 16 to July 16 this yr.

Anticipating increased income

China’s financial restoration from the coronavirus pandemic – whereas the U.S. continues to be struggling to manage the outbreak – can also be serving to companies.

With simply over a month left for 2020, almost half – or 47.6% – of respondents anticipate their 2020 income would exceed final yr’s. That is up from just below a 3rd, or 32.5%, who had the identical expectation again in July.

The vast majority of firms with manufacturing operations in China intend to maintain manufacturing within the nation within the subsequent three years, with solely three companies planning to maneuver not less than 30% of producing abroad, the survey discovered.

Covid-19 first emerged within the Chinese language metropolis of Wuhan late final yr. The illness accelerated its unfold across the Lunar New 12 months, forcing greater than half the nation to close down quickly. Whereas the outbreak stalled inside the nation by the top of the primary quarter, the coronavirus had changed into a worldwide pandemic hitting main economies in Europe and North America.

Enterprise challenges stay 

The elevated optimism is not an all-clear for U.S. enterprise sentiment in China. A 3rd of respondents are involved about potential exit bans, detentions and different restrictions on their workers.

The survey additionally discovered that solely 13.7% of respondents intend to extend funding in China, with the bulk sitting tight or undecided on their native growth plans.

“Commerce friction is not going to go away,” Gibbs mentioned. “There are nonetheless structural issues that must be solved.”

In the previous couple of years, the Chinese language authorities has launched new insurance policies for bettering the international enterprise surroundings. However critics say implementation is uneven and compelled know-how switch, lack of mental property safety and restricted market entry stay points.