This year’s survey indicated a historic rise in business optimism in Asia driven by a belief that the pandemic-driven downturn has finally hit bottom. Most businesses see demand for their products on the upswing. Yet this optimism is tempered by acknowledgement of external risks. Geopolitical tensions and the emergence of new and more dangerous virus variants are creating uncertainty for businesses. Even in economies that are performing well, businesses must cope with cost increases, supply chain disruptions, and raw materials shortages.
With crisis comes opportunity. Businesses are preparing for future outbreaks of infectious diseases, accelerating efforts to address climate change, and evaluating opportunities for automation and digital transformation. Though the rebound in demand is stronger in some industries and economies than others, businesses continue to invest for the future, even as they shore up their balance sheets and navigate the choppy waters of geopolitical tensions.