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China finds favor with US firms

MOST American companies continue to see revenue and profit growth in China and rank it as a top investment destination for 2010, according to a survey released today by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.

The survey of 369 companies with operations in China, found a record 90 percent were optimistic about the China market.

American companies continued to grow in China this year, albeit at a slower pace: 66 percent of respondents said their operating margins in 2009 were equal to or better than last year.

About 41 percent reported higher China operating margins than worldwide margins, up from 33 percent last year, while 60 percent said the crisis had a bigger impact on global operations than China.

Another finding was the rise of an "in China for China" trend.

Respondents who are in China primarily to produce goods and services for the China market jumped to 59 percent in this year's survey from 39 percent last year, by far the largest increase since 2006.

At the same time, those in China primarily to export to the United States dropped to 16 percent this year from 21 percent in 2008.

"American companies are finding that their performance in China is the bright spot in an otherwise difficult global picture," said J Norwell Coquillard, chairman of AmCham Shanghai.

Looking into the future, the survey said 64 percent of respondents had plans to increase China investment next year, while 58 percent said they had raised their investment in China this year from a year earlier.


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