Survey: China CEOs upbeat on growth in 2018

The vast majority of China's CEOs expect a world of regional trading blocs rather than a single global marketplace in the future.

More executives of Chinese firms believe global economic growth will improve in 2018, according to a report released by PwC on Thursday.

The survey by the multinational services firm found that 69 percent of executives in China expect faster global economic growth over the next 12 months, against 31 percent last year. This outstripped the optimism by global CEOs, with a record 57 percent of them believing the economy will improve, up from 29 percent last year.

"Looking at the global markets, our survey results found that in terms of ranking the US and China among attractive markets for growth, the attractiveness of China is stable," said SiuFung Chan, Deals Strategy Leader of PwC China.

"The executives on the Chinese mainland told us that the US and Hong Kong continue to be the top two growth markets. And what is different this year is that Japan has replaced Germany as the other top market for growth," he said.

The vast majority of Chinese respondents (81 percent) expect a world of regional trading blocs rather than a single global marketplace in the future, while 60 percent also expect to see greater fragmentation as opposed to political union. 

Despite this, 70 percent of China's CEOs believe there will be greater harmonization of global tax rules, compared to 41 percent for the global average. This may partly reflect the extensive tax reform process under way in China, according to the report.

Chan said that China's CEOs are taking a wide range of strategic measures to drive growth and profitability.

"Of them 89 percent are anchoring their investment strategies to major national strategies, such as the Belt and Road initiative, the development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei City Cluster and the Greater Bay Area," he added.

While the survey reveals a particularly upbeat view of economic prospects, CEOs still cite geopolitical uncertainty, the future of the eurozone and protectionism, and increasing tax burdens as main threats to the future growth of their business.