Financial News

  • 20 March 2014, 12:47

China's Smog 'Deters Top Foreign Executives'

China's chronic air pollution is now a major reason why foreign executives do not want to work in the country, a survey has found.

According to the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing (ACC), thick smog that affects many areas is making it difficult for companies to recruit top executives willing to move to Asia.

It said 48% of 365 foreign firms in its annual survey, covering businesses in China's northern cities, said air quality concerns were thwarting the lure of overseas postings senior executives.

The ACC said pollution is "a difficulty in recruiting and retaining senior executive talent".

It added that the 2014 figure is a leap from the 19% of firms citing smog as a problem in 2010.

But it added China's slowing economy remained the top risk for companies.

Foreign executives and diplomats have voiced increasing concerns about China's pollution.

They fear its effects both for themselves and their dependent families.

Almost all Chinese cities monitored for pollution in 2013 failed to meet health standards.

The US embassy in Beijing even has its own monitoring app, which invariably shows higher pollution rates than those issued by the government.

Northern China suffers significantly, as it is the industrial base for much of the country's cement and steel production.

Its colder climate also exacerbates the problem, as coal is used for heating.

Beijing is also regularly hit by smog from cars and industry from surrounding areas.

Meanwhile, China's commercial capital Shanghai, in the south, suffers less as a result of air pollution.

The ACC's Shanghai branch did not see pollution as a major problem.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang "declared war" on pollution at the opening of the annual session of parliament earlier this month.

China has also pledged to make 60% of its cities meet national pollution standards by 2020.