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China's foreign companies brace for new COVID curbs as cases soar

Markets cheered easing of strict rules, but rollback looms on fresh outbreaks

A makeshift testing center in China's Guangzhou city. Parts of the southern manufacturing hub have been locked down after a virus outbreak.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Beijing's move to loosen strict COVID rules should be cause for celebration among foreign operators hurt by the curbs, but a fresh surge in cases has left many bracing for a rollback.

Foreign business sentiment in China plunged to all-time lows as overseas operators grappled with repeated virus lockdowns and other movement restrictions over the past few years, prompting some to dial back new investment or threaten to quit the huge market altogether.

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