Confidence within the U.S. business community toward China's economy is strengthening, despite concerns about the regulatory environment, according to a survey released Tuesday.
The survey, conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham-China) in partnership with Bain & Company, also showed increasing optimism in U.S.-China relations despite the possibility of the Trump Administration action against Chinese trade and investment practices.
Some 36 percent of respondents believe relations between the two countries will improve this year, compared with 17 percent last year.
"Regarding the economy, there is cautious optimism that the new normal rate of growth is sustainable for the foreseeable future, providing opportunities for business to expand," said William Zarit, chairman of AmCham-China.
Some 64 percent of the member companies reported revenue growth in 2017, up from 58 percent in 2016 and 55 percent in 2015.
For 2018, the average forecast for GDP growth was 6.3 percent, up from the 2017 prediction. Nearly six in 10 companies rank China among their top three investment priorities, up from the previous year but still below the historical average.
The survey also found one-third of members plan to expand their investment in China by more than 10 percent in 2018, and 67 percent of consumer companies see China as either the leading edge of digital technology in their field or more advanced than other markets.
On the other hand, regulation remains a concern for many. Respondents cited inconsistent regulatory interpretation, unclear laws and enforcement as the top challenge to doing business in China.
The survey was conducted between Oct. 23 and Nov. 26, 2017, and was sent to 849 member company representatives, of which 411 completed a significant portion.
China's economy expanded 6.9 percent in 2017, with the pace of growth accelerating for the first time in seven years.