Australia beats US as Chinese CEOs’ investment top spot

08 Feb 2019

A global survey of chief executive officers (CEOs) shows Australia overtaking the United States, Japan and Germany as an investment destination among CEOs based in China.

The PwC report, ‘CEOs’ curbed confidence spells caution’, surveyed 1,378 global CEOs in 91 territories, including 176 in China and Hong Kong.

‘CEOs … are diversifying their bets away from the United States and toward a broader array of markets,’ states the report. ‘Australia seems the principal beneficiary: not even in China’s top ten last year, it has risen to the number one destination for Chinese investment.’

Australia’s performance bucked negative global trends as CEO expectations for revenue and economic growth fell compared to 2018.

The reasons for increased pessimism vary by region, according to the survey. Among CEOs in the Asia-Pacific region, fear of trade conflicts is now the principal threat to growth prospects, cited by 38% of surveyed executives.

Meanwhile, cyber threats topped the list in North America, with 45% of CEOs viewing online threats as a concern. Fear of over-regulation headed the list in Western Europe, cited by 33% of CEOs.

With India challenging China as the fastest-growing large economy, the survey also reveals a shift in CEOs’ investment focus.

‘India is the rising star on the list of most attractive investment markets,’ states the report. ‘It surpassed Japan last year, and this year it overtakes the UK.’

In positive news for the region, Asia-Pacific CEOs appeared the most buoyant in terms of revenue expectations, with 41% expecting corporate revenue to rise over the coming three years.

The annual PwC report has established a reputation for credible forecasting. Since 2009, CEO expectations of future revenue have proved a reliable indicator of economic growth.