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Nov 29, 2017,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Chinese companies spend more and more on business travel

According to a survey carried out by the CITS American Express Global Business Travel in 2017, 31% of Chinese companies are expecting to spend more on business travel over the next 12 months.

According to the results of a survey by the CITS American Express Global Business Travel, 31% of Chinese companies are expecting to spend more on business travel over the next 12 months. In 2016, it was just 17 %.

The China International Travel Service (CITS) American Express Global Business Travel is the leading American and Chinese joint venture for business travel in the People’s Republic of China. From their offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, they offer multinational, regional and local companies a wide variety of travel-management services to help optimise the companies’ investment in business travel.


China is the country that spends most on business travel


Every year, they publish the China Travel Survey, a report that details the current state and projections for business travel in China. The 2017 survey questioned executives from 150 Chinese companies, ranging from small 200-employee firms to large companies with more than 1,000 employees, located in the country’s major economic areas and large cities.

Last year, China became the leading country in terms of business travel expenditure, overtaking the USA. 75% of trips are within China itself, but a trend for international trade is developing. New opportunities for international travel will arise in the near future, thanks to China’s new economic projects, such as the “belt and road initiative”.


The “belt and road initiative” effect


China’s huge economic project, which encompasses 68 countries, is a priority for Xi Jinping’s government. Seen as a modern version of the silk road, this project’s aim is to improve rail and shipping connections between Asian and European countries, and promote economic cooperation between connected countries.  

This initiative goes part way towards explaining the projected increase in future trips. 40% of the companies asked said that they planned to increase their travel budget in order to take advantage of the national and international opportunities offered by this project. Kevin Tan, vice-president of the CITS American Express Global Business Travel, says, “The results of this year's China Business Travel Barometer are hugely positive, and a strong indication of the opportunities Chinese organisations are recognising both domestically but also in the global economy.”


Meeting with clients is vital


However, these projects are not the only reason. “When we look deeper we find that the intention to increase spending also comes with some strategic reallocation of expenditure. (…) It is apparent that businesses continue to acknowledge the importance of client-facing travel”, stresses Kevin Tan.

The financial return on business travel is clear and measurable. The 2017 survey highlights the importance of business travel, identifying it as a key driver of revenue for many Chinese companies. 53% of those asked thought that an increased number of client visits would boost their overall turnover by 10-20%. Developing new relationships and maintaining existing ones are the two most important reasons for business travel.



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