China’s economy shrinks, ending almost half a century of growth

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“Payments are difficult to collect,” she said.

Businessmen say China’s almost complete border closure to limit a second potential wave of infections has hurt export orders.

“Many customers wanted to come to China from Africa but cannot because the flights are canceled,” said He Liehui, managing director of Touchroad Group, a Shanghai trade and investment company that buys minerals and wood from Africa and exports clothes. and other manufactured goods there.

He said there have already been changes in the domestic and foreign markets. Sales fell for more fashionable clothing with higher price tags. But sales have actually increased for pajamas and other simple clothes that people may want to wear indoors during closings, he said.

“To do that, companies have to make some adjustments” to what they manufacture, he said.

Beijing has closed the country’s borders so tightly that even foreign residents of China who have gone abroad are not allowed to return. This has slowed major construction projects and other investments that require technicians and other specialists who cannot return to the country, said Cheung Yup Fan, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in Tianjin City.

Another concern is the number of small and medium-sized enterprises in China that can survive the current difficulties. Even before the pandemic, many of these enterprises were in difficulty as state-owned enterprises with better political relationships increasingly monopolized available loans from the state-controlled banking sector.

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