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China Country Report

Country Risk Level

Medium

Overview

Executive Summary

The central government’s priority is to accelerate the recovery of key livelihood indicators under the “six guarantees” framework while preventing a second wave of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in addition to minimising the impact of continuous heavy rain leading to flooding and rising water levels along the Yangtze river. Reform plans released around the 13th National People’s Congress indicate continued government intent to carry out necessary market-oriented reforms. Premier Li Keqiang, in his delivery of the 2020 Government Work Report, officially announced the “new infrastructure” programme to promote industrial upgrading and new drivers of economic growth, in addition to further market liberalisation measures to attract private investment and foreign capital.China decided not to set a specific growth target for 2020 due to the uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 virus pandemic and the global economic and trade environment. There are indicators of improving business sentiment and economic recovery from IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which reported 55.0 and 50.7 for services and manufacturing in June respectively, both registering an expansionary outlook. However, mainland China’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis will be adversely affected by a more severe global recession and persistent domestic demand weakness. IHS Markit’s real GDP projection for China in 2020 is 1.53%, and 7.07% for 2021.Deteriorating China-US relations and increasingly confrontational diplomatic language and military posturing increase the risk of unintended escalations around disputed regions, increasing the likelihood of business disruptions. Relation with the United States have deteriorated sharply, with the US introducing measures against Chinese interests in trade, financial services, and technology sectors. The National People’s Congress approved a 6.6% increase in military spending for 2020, while projecting an aggregate 0.2% drop in government expenditure. This highlights the importance to China of building up its military, given the currently high threat perception around its borders.

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 an imminent roll-out of next-generation 5G connectivity in major cities. Although the central government has provided strong signals of intent to reduce non-tariff barriers and regulation towards foreign companies, implementation will likely be slow and contingent upon a favourable US-China relationship. Foreign companies – especially US firms – selling directly to Chinese consumers continue to face risks of regulatory discrimination and anti-trust investigations in the one-year outlook.

Terrorism

Due to a strong 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.

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.

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. Occasional naval harassments and risks of unintended escalation of military confrontations will likely increase between China, Taiwan, the US and South China Sea claimant countries. China-Taiwan relations following the re-election of the incumbent Democratic Progressive Party will continue to worsen. Open military conflict remains unlikely in the one-year outlook, but the risk of unintended escalations is higher.

Social Stability

Slowing economic growth and rising unemployment are likely to increase the risk of localised protests as livelihoods worsen especially outside tier one or tier two urban centres. Land acquisition without full engagement of local stakeholders can also trigger protests, especially in commercially important provinces such as Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, and Sichuan. Protests risks, mostly in the form of marches and blockades, are higher around major infrastructure construction, waste treatment, nuclear energy, mining, as well as oil and gas. Significant disruptions are unlikely due to a strong security presence around these assets.

Health Risk

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).

Natural Risks

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.

Transportation

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.

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:

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal