PwC global chairman: China 'bright spot' for FDI in volatile times

China is an attractive destination for global foreign direct investment (FDI) at a time of global macroeconomic volatility, accounting firm PwC Chairman Bob Moritz said during an interview with CGTN on Friday.

Moritz noted that macroeconomic volatility, rising interest rates, inflation, supply chain issues, and increasing geopolitical tensions around the world have weighed on business morale.

However, chief executive officers (CEOs) in China are still showing the highest level of optimism for the country's economic prospects compared to their global peers in a recent PwC survey on CEOs in the Asia-Pacific region.

This reflects positive consumer and business sentiment in China's economic fundamentals, according to the survey.

Moritz noted the "plenty of opportunities" in China, considering its economic size, dynamic innovation, and a solid record of manufacturing output.

"All of that points to a very positive journey for foreign direct investment," he added.

China has set a gross domestic product (GDP) growth target of around 5 percent for 2023 while international investors forecast a strong rebound in its economy.

The country's growth expectation is among the "high points" across the world in 2023, said Moritz.

"It's not surprising, when you look at China opening up with COVID... [it can] look to the opportunities with the consumers now willing to spend more and need to spend more, maybe traveling around, so it'll benefit [those] across the region," said Moritz.

Chinese authorities reiterated in the just-concluded Two Sessions – the annual meetings of China's national legislature and political advisory body – that its vast and open market would provide even greater opportunities for businesses around the world.

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted cross-border business cooperation, major international events like China International Import Expo and China International Fair for Trade in Services managed to take place, demonstrating the country's commitment to opening up.

PwC chairman: Companies need to be more agile

Moving forward in a competitive and risky world, companies have to be much more agile, make speedier decisions in a world of tough choices and minimize the downside risks, said Moritz.

The PwC survey showed that 53 percent of CEOs in the region think their companies will not be in existence in 10 years with their current operating model unless they make a significant change.

Moritz said that companies will come back to some basics which include price, supply chain, and digital adaption.

"When you look at the China market versus others, China has consistently demonstrated good quality, as well as a cheaper price from an economic perspective, thereby causing organizations to either connect their supply chain here… or do other things that connect the supply chain," he told CGTN.

China attracted a record $189.13 billion in FDI last year, up 8 percent from 2021, a sign that its market continues to serve as a magnet for global investors. The country has promised to intensify efforts to attract and utilize foreign investment in 2023.

Read more: A new era for foreign investment in China

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