China’s COVID policy responsible for the exodus of multinational companies: Report


China’s Zero-Covid policy and its sporadic lockdowns are pushing multinational firms from its lands to different countries, a media report said citing the report of the European Union Chamber of Commerce.

Recently, in September, the EU Chamber of Commerce released a report that China had become less predictable, less reliable, and less efficient, resulting in several multinational firms considering shifting their operations out of China to other markets, Financial Post reported.

According to a European Chamber of Commerce survey, 50 percent of western firms reported that business in China had become more politicised in 2021 than it was in earlier years.

“Increasing number of European businesses are putting China investments on hold and re-evaluating their positions in the market as they wait to see how long this uncertainty will continue, and many are looking towards other destinations for future projects,” Vice President of the European Chamber Bettina Schoen-Behanzin was quoted by Financial Times as saying.

In 2022, the shift of multinational companies from China shows that there is a decline in trust, according to Financial Post.

On October 3, American tech giant Google (local time) announced that it was shutting down the Google Translate service in mainland China, citing low usage in the country, as per reports.

“We are discontinuing Google Translate in mainland China due to low usage,” Google said in a statement cited by The Hill.

Earlier, several media reports said that the Hong Kong version of the translation service is not accessible in the area without a virtual private network.

With this Google’s announcement, the American tech giant was also added to the list of other companies that left China. Amazon, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Microsoft are some of the companies that pulled out their operation in China.

Amazon launched Kindle, an e-readers app with much fanfare in China in 2013. Stacked with millions of e-books of all interests, Kindle soon became a fad among Chinese nationals, reported Financial Post.

By 2019, it occupied 65 per cent of China’s booming e-book market. According to ABCNews, over 506 million Chinese users were reported to have accessed Kindle in 2021. Despite this, in June 2022, Amazon announced shutting down its e-bookstore in China next year.

Similarly, LinkedIn, a social network platform of America’s multinational technology company, Microsoft, announced shutting down its social network in October 2021, stating that complying with the Chinese state was becoming more challenging for it.

All the listed companies have left China with no promise of coming back to the country in the foreseeable future, according to the Financial Post.

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