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Companies prepare for a ‘selective decoupling’ with China

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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 2021. 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. The opportunities of a demand-driven market this buoyant remain far too huge to shun. Corporate clients, he said, are either increasing their investment in China, or, for those that blenched during the 2018 opening salvos of the US-China trade war, girding…

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