Greater Bay Area firms see rebound in orders, sales: Standard Chartered poll
The Zhuhai Port of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. /Xinhua

The Zhuhai Port of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. /Xinhua

Manufacturers in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in south China are experiencing increasing orders and sales this year as China's recovery from COVID-19 gains momentum, according to a survey released by Standard Chartered on Monday.

From mid-March through to mid-May, the bank surveyed some 220 manufacturers mainly headquartered on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and the Taiwan region on the Greater Bay Area's business environment and prospects. 

The companies surveyed expect the five key performance indicators in the survey – orders, sales, recruitment, wages and capital expenditures – will improve somewhat compared with last year, reflecting the steady recovery in China. 

More respondents believe it's easier to recruit employees from the year-earlier period, while the average wage increase this year is still below the pre-pandemic level, at 2.9 percent.  

This illustrates that the labor market continues to be weak, demonstrating decreased urgency for manufacturers to relocate factories and carry out industrial upgrades. 

The respondents seemed less enthusiastic about relocating factories overseas compared with a year ago. 

"In addition to weaker labor pressures, China's faster recovery is likely incentivizing manufacturers to stay onshore. Recent COVID-19 resurgences in some potential relocation destinations may have also played a role," the bank said. 

On the other hand, more companies indicated that their long-term confidence in the Greater Bay Area is stronger than a year ago. About 66 percent of surveyed firms believe the region is set to present new business opportunities in the years to come compared to 58 percent a year earlier. 

Aside from the manufacturing industry, the Greater Bay Area also boasts a large population, strong policy support, accelerated financial opening up and the internationalization of the renminbi, which can further promote its cross-border integration with Hong Kong, according to the bank. 

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