Companies prepare for a 'selective decoupling' with China

For foreign businesses operating in the Middle Kingdom, it may be best to plan for uncertainty

The Asia-based managing partner of one of the world's largest law firms last week set out what he reckoned was the prevailing story of foreign business in China in the final quarter of this year. Corporate clients are spooked by a range of factors, he said, adding that global supply chains established over the past two decades are in unprecedented flux and the operative word in boardrooms is "decoupling".

Nonsense, I was told a day later by an ebullient Asia supremo of one of the world's biggest investment banks. Whatever souring geopolitics or white-knuckle regulatory uncertainties may afflict the tech and property sectors, Beijing remains fundamentally supportive of private business.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2021, with the headline 'Companies prepare for a 'selective decoupling' with China'. Subscribe