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Top Ten Business Trends in China

September 22, 2016

Despite China’s economic slowdown, there are still attractive opportunities for US investment.

In 2015, foreign direct investment (FDI) in China increased by 6.4% YoY (Year over Year), with services accounting for 61.1% of the total, compared to 31.4% in manufacturing. The steady-growth in FDI is a result of China offering opportunities in new sectors of the economy. US investments into China are consistent with the trend, as US investors explore new sectors.

Highlighted below are the top ten business trends in China that US investors should heed:

  1. E-commerce: China is poised to become the biggest market for B2C (Business to Consumer) cross border e-commerce, with more than 200 million consumers willing to pay for foreign goods. The biggest players include Walmart, and the Chinese giant - Alibaba.
  2. Transportation and Logistics: With the rise of online shopping comes the need for delivery networks and infrastructure. Import/export figures indicate potential, in addition to the investments of the Carlyle Group ($120 million) and UPS’s interest to penetrate the Tier 2 and 3 cities.
  3. Mobile Payment Industry: Apple Pay entered the market this year, marking the first foreign player in an industry dominated by Alipay and WeChat Wallet.
  4. Pharmaceutical products and medical devices: Preferential policies for FDI in the healthcare sectors are incentivizing US investors to increase their China operations. Of particular note is the medical device industry.
  5. High Tech manufacturing: computers and electronics: US investors are among the most interested in what opportunities lie in the evolution of China’s manufacturing landscape.
  6. Financial intermediaries: Financial intermediation experienced continuous growth in China, with an increase of 4.5% in the last 10 years. US investors are poised to take advantage of Chinese deregulation in the sector.
  7. Insurance: M&A activity in the sector increased by 23.2% in 2015. US banks and financial institutions were among the greatest contributors.
  8. Agribusiness and Food: China still represents one of the biggest markets for US agricultural and food exports.
  9. Clean Power: China’s promise to increase the market share by 20% for non-fossil fuel energy sources by 2030 has attracted US investors operating in this sector. Solar Power Inc and SunEdison have already invested heavily in the market by acquiring local green firms.
  10. Green Buildings: The National New-style Urbanization Plan (2014-2020) and China-US cooperation about the plan has made this industry an appealing current and future objective.

Even with the perceived "slow down" of the Chinese economy US investments into China remain high. Preferential policies and incentives in new sectors continue to appeal to foreign investors. Key industries for US investors to watch are energy, environmental & clean/green technology, automotive, healthcare, financial services & fintech, travel/tourism, education, aviation and e-commerce retail.

Contact a member of our Global Tax Services Team for further Information.

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