A survey shows times are tough for companies operating on the mainland Many European corporations operating on the mainland have seen their revenues slide by as much as 40 per cent since the Sars outbreak. That is according to a survey released yesterday by the European Chamber of Commerce in China, which sent a questionnaire on April 28 to its 300 corporate members. 'Most of the industries hit have been in travel - hotels and airlines in particular,' said Ian Kay, the chamber's executive general manager. 'Some industries may have suffered a higher impact on turnover as they have been hit pretty hard and quickly, especially with all the conferences and seminars being cancelled.' The chamber also found out that up to half of its members' non-manufacturing administrative staff were telecommuting from home as a precautionary measure against the virus. Most were using the internet, and meetings were often conducted with the use of video or teleconferencing equipment to keep operations running. However, most companies have cancelled or postponed high-level missions to and from China, especially visits by senior executives who make their annual pilgrimages to Beijing. Many companies were forced to cancel visits to Beijing to lobby government officials or place bids for the 2008 Olympics. The survey, which was sent out on April 28 by the chamber in conjunction with delegations from the European Union in China, had a response ratio of 20 per cent. At the time of the survey many companies did not state any impact on investment decisions, according to the chamber. 'However, it is now becoming increasingly apparent that as the crisis drags on, investment decisions will be severely delayed,' according to the study. The chamber also discovered that some firms, especially legal or consulting companies, benefited from the Sars crisis in the short term as many had been hired to represent their clients in business negotiations that they themselves cannot attend to. However, Sars has already affected preparatory planning or preparation of action plans for the second half of the year, or for the next business campaign, according to the chamber. Despite the negative impact, Mr Kay believes that China still remains attractive for the long term. 'China's fundamentals still look right,' he said. 'Many members want to invest in China but many realise they may have to live with Sars for a while longer.'