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China Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Despite a slowing economy and continuing protests in the Hong Kong special administrative region, there have been no indications that President Xi Jinping’s authority has been significantly weakened. The central government is expected to be assertive in trade negotiations with the US, but will be careful to avoid escalating retaliatory regulatory actions. China's 2019 policy priorities highlights maintaining stability, which include plans to improve the business environment for small and medium-sized enterprises, fiscal expansion, and prudent monetary policy.China's "unreliable entities" list and national implementation of the corporate social credit scoring system reflects its long-term aim to establish a codified monitoring and review system for domestic and international companies operating in the country. The recent Foreign Investment Law – which is scheduled for implementation in January 2020 – will generally improve the operating environment, but also highlights the need for legal compliance because it removes many regulatory privileges through its "national treatment" clauses.Monetary and fiscal policies have been relaxed to offset slowing economic growth. Banks' reserve requirement ratio has been reduced, 'non-traditional' financing has returned, the local government debt issuance quota has increased, and personal income and value-added tax rates have been lowered. The stimulus should stabilise economic growth in the near term. If new shocks emerge, such as a re-escalation of the US-China trade war or a sharp real-estate-sector correction, the government will recalibrate the stimulus measures to stabilise economic growth. Meanwhile, to reduce reliance on US and EU markets, Chinese officials have intensified lobbying for the ASEAN-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which as a bloc would account for 40% of global GDP. Investments under the Belt and Road Initiative will continue, but at a slower rate due to host countries' growing concerns about debt, local participation and utility.
Last update: December 5, 2019

Operational Outlook

Government investment to increase connectivity across the country, including railways, expressways, and telecommunications will likely continue. Mobile phone and internet penetration levels are high, approaching developed-world levels in major cities, with imminent roll-out of next-generation 5G connectivity in major cities. Although the central government has provided strong signals to reduce non-tariff barriers and regulation towards foreign companies, implementation will likely be slow and contingent upon favourable outcome of the US-China trade negotiations. Foreign companies, especially those from the US, selling directly to Chinese consumers continue to face risks of regulatory discrimination and anti-trust investigations in the one-year outlook.

Last update: November 29, 2019

Terrorism

Moderate

Due to a robust security presence across high-risk regions, there is generally a very low likelihood of terrorist attacks in China. Risks are restricted mostly to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Ongoing “everyday conflicts” involving alleged discrimination and unequal treatment by the Han majority population, widespread “anti-halal” measures, and the continued hard-line approach by the local government, can potentially exacerbate grievances held by the Muslim ethnic-minority community beyond Uyghur minorities. Isolated attacks by Uighur militants will target government officials and the police with knives and, at most, crude improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the Aksu, Hotan, and Kashgar, regions of Xinjiang.

Last update: September 25, 2019

Crime

Risks of cyber crimes and theft are escalated especially for companies engaged in high-tech industries or areas relevant to China's long-term industrial transformation. Foreign nationals in major tier-1 or tier-2 cities face low risks from crimes such as kidnapping, extortion, and murder. Past experience suggests a low risk that local gangs engaged in kidnapping and extortion will primarily target domestically owned companies. Meanwhile, the gradual imposition of money-laundering safeguards is risk-positive for foreign companies looking to expand in China's financial and banking sector.

Last update: September 25, 2019

War Risks

China’s continued assertion of claims in the South and East China seas and construction of military facilities will likely accelerate amid strategic competition with the US. Although IHS Markit does not expect any significant military escalation, occasional naval harassment and risks of unintended escalation of military confrontations will likely increase, especially between China and Vietnam, which have become increasingly outspoken about Chinese presence in disputed waters. China-Taiwan relations will continue to worsen as Beijing continues to increase diplomatic pressure against Taiwan; open military conflict remains unlikely, but the risk of unintended escalations is higher.

Last update: September 25, 2019

Social Stability

Elevated

Land acquisition without full engagement of local stakeholders increasingly faces protests, especially in Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, and Sichuan. Given that the government is taking steps to mitigate a repeat of violent protests by making party officials more accountable towards environmental protection, future protests will probably be less common, localised and less violent. The chances of protests, mostly in the form of marches and blockades, will remain high regarding major infrastructure construction, nuclear energy, mining, as well as oil and gas, however significant disruptions are unlikely due to strong security presence around these assets.

Last update: September 25, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in China. However, the government requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Japanese encephalitis: Japanese encephalitis is typically only present in rural areas. Discuss travel plans with your doctor to decide if you need the JE vaccine, which is administered in two doses spaced over a month. The last dose should be administered at least ten days prior to departure for an at-risk area to be fully effective.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

A relatively high risk of various natural disasters threaten certain parts of this vast country. Seismic activity is particularly common northwest of the Beijing, along the border between Shanxi and Hebei provinces, and in the autonomous regions of Interior Mongolia and Tibet. On May 12, 2008, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 hit Sichuan province (center-west), causing more than 80,000 deaths and significant damage to infrastructure. Over the past ten years, China has experienced nine earthquakes with magnitudes at or above 7.6 on the Richter scale. Additionally, coastal areas can be hit with tsunamis triggered by earthquakes.

Heat waves are regular occurrences in the summer months; temperatures higher than 40°C (104°F) are often recorded in the cities of Shanghai and Chongqing, as well as in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui, Hunan, Jiangxi, and Fujian provinces.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Moderate

Starting February 2017, foreigners entering China could be subject to fingerprinting upon arrival. This measure will be put in place progressively at international ports and airports for international travelers between the ages of 14 and 70.

Security and travel conditions in the autonomous region of Tibet can deteriorate quickly due to protests and ensuing repression by security forces. Additionally, the issuance of visas required for travel to Tibet, where tensions are currently high (nearly 150 cases of self-immolation have been reported in recent years), is often restricted and may even temporarily suspended by the authorities, generally without warning.

A number of Western governments advise against travel to Xinjiang (formerly East Turkestan), a region strictly controlled by security forces.

It should be noted that since January 1, 2013, citizens of 45 countries can obtain a 72-hour transit visa in Beijing (at the airport) as well as in Shanghai (at Hongqiao and Pudong airports). These visas can also be obtained in Canton (Baiyun Airport) as of August 1, 2013, in Chengdu (Shuangliu Airport) as of September 1, 2013, in Shenyang and Dalian (Liaoning province, Taoxian and Zhoushuizi airports) as of January 1, 2014, at Guilin (Liang Jiang airport) since July 28, 2014, at Kunming (Changshui airport) since October 1, 2014, at Hangzhou (Xiaoshan airport) since October 20, 2014, and at Harbin (Taiping airport) since August 1, 2015.

This benefit is reserved for passengers who are traveling to a third country via China. In order to benefit from the measure, passengers must have a valid ticket for a third country, and, if applicable, a visa for this third country. Furthermore, when traveling to their third country destination, passengers must depart from the same Chinese airport they arrived at and do so within 72 hours of arriving.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

In the northeast, the climate is continental: winters (November to April) are very cold and dry while summers are very hot and humid; it rains daily in the months of July and August. Sandstorms can strike Beijing in mid-April. The northwest is arid with cold and dry winters and very hot and dry summers. The climate in the south, where the rainy season lasts from June until September, is tropical; winters are mild and humid and summers are hot and rainy, often to the point of being stifling. In the center of the country, winters are cold and summers are very hot, even sweltering, and rainy, with high levels of humidity. Rainfall is the heaviest between June and September.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +86
Police: 110
Emergency Services: 120

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019