Many Korean Firms in China Impacted by China’s Harsh Covid Clampdown

The Korea International Trade Association Shanghai Center surveyed 177 Korean companies with business operations in China to assess the extent of damage these companies experienced during the lockdown period in key areas, including Shanghai.

The results were released on June 27 in the form of a report and it revealed that a vast majority of them, comprising 88.1%, were impacted by the measures were impacted by the measures implemented by the Chinese government, which necessitated the provision of support for affected companies to minimize losses.

The report revealed that 88.1% of the respondents experienced “financial losses or negative consequences during the course of performing their business activities.” As many as 97.4% of respondents said sales declined during the first half of this 31.4% of them said their sales plummeted by more than 50% compared to their performance a year ago. A total of 95.5% of respondents forecasted diminishing sales throughout the second half of this year.

During the first half of this year, 69.9% of respondents said they scaled down investments, while 66.7% of respondents said they are hiring fewer people, and that they anticipated the situation will aggravate during the second half of this year with 70.5% of respondents predicting a contraction of investment and 67.3% forecasting a decline in hiring. The report forecasted, “Investment and employment will likely see mounting pressure over time.”

It was also revealed that China’s harsh Covid restrictions are particularly hindering in-person business activities. A total of 16.8% of respondents were affected by movement restrictions; another 16.8% of respondents experienced difficulties in performing sales promotion and marketing activities; while 15.9% of respondents experienced logistics and supply chain disruptions.

When asked about how much their business performance has returned back to normal after restrictions were lifted, 41.5% of respondents said their business has recovered to less than 50% of pre-restriction levels; and a staggering 22.4% of respondents said their business has recovered to less than 30% of pre-restriction levels. This figure showed a big gap between manufacturing companies and non-manufacturing companies. 68.3% of manufacturing companies said their business has recovered to more than 70% of pre-restriction levels, whereas merely 28.3% of non-manufacturing companies responded they managed to reach this level, which indicates more than a double of non-manufacturing businesses are disproportionately affected compared to manufacturing businesses.

The report described, “Considerable time will be needed for non-manufacturing companies to put their business back on track as movements are still restricted and face-to-face customer service is limited despite lifting of lockdown measures in Shanghai.” In response to a question on plans to maintain business in China, the survey revealed 55.3% of respondents have plans to scale down, suspend, pull out business operations in China or relocate their business elsewhere. Only 35.9% of respondents said they intend to adhere to their original business plan and only a fraction of respondents – 7.3% – said they plan to expand business operations in China. The report also discovered Korean companies with business operations in China expect the following from the Chinese government: a) the predictability of the Chinese government’s response to the Covid pandemic, b) distribution of financial subsidies, c) tax deductions and d) discounts on rent.

Seon-young Shin, the Head of the Korea International Trade Association Beijing Center stressed, “The Korean government and relevant institutions should notify the Chinese government of the extent of damage Korean companies are experiencing and insist on the necessity of providing assistance to compensate for the loss in order to boost mutual economic cooperation.” The Head also added, “It will be a smart move collaborate with other foreign companies in China in making this request as a vast majority of foreign companies in China are experiencing similar difficulties and suffering losses our companies are experiencing.” | Blog Magazine of korean electronics, brands and Goods