Norbert Winkeljohann, PwC Germany Senior Partner



Question 1) - PwC recently released its 17th Annual Global CEO Survey. How do the German CEOs see the global economy and their own growth prospects in 2014? A1) - German CEOs are more confident about the global economy than they were last year. Only 2% of German CEOs we polled in our 17th Annual Global CEO Survey expect the global economy to decline in 2014. This is a dramatic improvement to the massive 47% who said the economy would worsen in 2013. In fact, 40% expect to see an improvement in the global economy this year. However, when it comes to their own growth prospects, German CEOs are still cautious about whether improvements in the global economy will translate into growth for their own companies. There doesn't seem to be a major change in their confidence level when it comes to their own business growth. 33% said they are 'very confident' of growing revenue in 2014. Last year, that number was 31%. Still, almost 60% of German CEOs plan to increase their headcount this year, double the number from last year. And only a quarter said they're likely to cut jobs. Question 2) What are some of the main concerns of German CEOs? A2) Over-regulation tops the list of German CEOs concerns, with 76% citing this as a major threat to the growth of their businesses. German CEOs also remain concerned about the government's ability to deal with fiscal deficit and debt, although the percentage is much lower this year, at 56% compared to 81% last year reflecting the more stable environment in the euro zone. And finally, the lack of stability in the capital markets also weighs heavily on the minds of German CEOs. Question 3) Where do German CEOs see growth opportunities in 2014? An increasing number of German CEOs, 47%, see their growth opportunities in 2014 coming from products or service innovation. This is a big jump from the 19% who picked this last year. Reflecting the increasing influence that technology and digital are having on every aspect of society, 33% of German CEOs are still betting on growth coming from increasing their share in markets where they currently have presence, mirroring the same sentiment of many of their peers globally. Only 9% of them see M&As as a growth opportunity. In terms of countries most important to them for growth in the next 12 months, more German CEOs picked US over China, a reversal from last year. Indicating the improving US economy and the fear of the slowing growth in China. Rounding up the top three is Russia, with 20% confident that it's still a good investment destination.
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