Following the impact of COVID-19 only close to a quarter of Swedish firms saw financial break-even or loss in 2020 with 63 per cent of respondents still seeing a profitable performance. The Business Climate Survey conducted by Team Sweden in China among members of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in China shows that the negative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Swedish companies was less than predicted on an aggregate level, with slightly less than 50 per cent observing a real negative impact compared with 75 per cent anticipated when asked in May last year.

2020 and 2021 will without doubt go down in history as turbulent years, but looking ahead, Swedish companies present an optimistic view of 2021 where around two thirds of respondents forecast revenue and profit increases during the year compared with last, and outlook across all three investigated sectors is positive among the respondents.

The business climate in China has improved compared with previous years, and more than half of the respondents are now looking to increase investments the coming 12 months compared to the last to better be able to capture the opportunities that present themselves on the market. Furthermore, improvements are seen across investigated areas of sustainability compared with last year.

However, Swedish companies’ outlook of the business climate in China is at the same timeless optimistic, where only 39 per cent believe that it will become more favorable the coming 3 years. Troubling, governmental policies that disadvantage foreign companies has rapidly increased in magnitude to become the second largest challenge faced by respondents, with 27 per cent listing it is one of three key challenges.

With this in mind, it will be critical for Swedish companies to follow China’s development and reflect on the learnings from the collective group of Swedish companies that are already operating in the market.

Download the 2021 edition of the Business Climate Survey for China for a full overview of the results with a detailed analysis.


The Business Climate Survey is produced on a bi-annual basis by Team Sweden where Business Sweden collaborates with Sweden’s local embassies, consulates and chambers of commerce around the world among other stakeholders. In China, this is carried out by Business Sweden together with the Embassy of Sweden in Beijing, Consulate General of Sweden in Shanghai, and the Chamber of Commerce in China. Since 2019 the survey for China is carried out on an annual basis to keep pace with market developments.

The survey provides first-hand perspectives and insights into business trends, issues and challenges in global markets based on extensive input from Swedish companies operating in each respective country.