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Surveys predict growth in investment
China will lead the recovery in business travel two new surveys by American Express have predicted.
They also said that investment in the Asian economic giant by global companies will increase in the next year.
The surveys quizzed Amex's Global Business Partnership (GBP) clients, its largest customers as well as 180 clients in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou in China through its annual China Business Travel Survey (The Barometer).
More than two thirds (68%) of respondents from the GBP said China's economic prospects were better than those of the US.
A large majority of companies (89%) said they expected to invest in China in the next 12 months while 79% said they would also invest in India.
For just under a half (46%) of the GBP, China was the top priority for international expansion in the short term.
Among the China respondents, many thought China would be the first country to emerge from the current economic cycle.
72% said they expected to invest in the country in the next year while 60% of the China based companies have already started to recruit.
The results of the survey have been announced as Amex holds its fifth annual China Business Travel Forum in Shanghai.
Charles Petruccelli, president of American Express Global Travel Services, said: "As we look ahead to next year, we believe travel spend will play a crucial role in fueling recovery not only in China, but on a broader scale as countries begin to emerge from the recessionary environment.
"Businesses that will be best placed to take advantage of business opportunities in China, the US, or anywhere will strike the right balance between supporting necessary business-generating travel with applying smarter controls that don't deplete the bottom line."
The surveys also found that most global companies now thought the worst of the crisis was over with 79% predicting a "modest expansion" over the next year.
But 50% said their companies would still cut travel in 2010 while a further 25% said spend would stay the same as in 2009.
The surveys found that meetings and events had borne the brunt of the cuts but 70% believed the crisis had given companies a chance to control better MICE spend.
Far fewer said that they felt they could cut air or hotel spend by a similar amount.
Companies outside China were also more reluctant to take on more staff with only 25% said they would be hiring from Q1 in 2010 while 36% said they would wait until; 2011.