Meanwhile, Russia and China strengthened their industrial ties, possibly at the expense of U.S. companies. Chinese state media announced after a meeting between President Xi Jinping and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin Sunday that Russia would open a second natural gas pipeline to feed industry in its neighbor to the south.
That means a possible market share loss for foreign natural gas suppliers such as New York-listed ConocoPhillips (COP) , which has worked in China for 30 years. A ConocoPhillips representative said the company had no comment.
The visa changes will help the full gamut of enterprises with interests in China. Traveling businesspeople would normally wait days to a week and pay more than $100 to renew their visas to China.
More Chinese arrivals in the U.S. should boost the U.S. hospitality industry, which accounts for 2.8% of GDP. Last year 1.8 million Chinese travelers visited the U.S., adding $21.1 billion to the economy, U.S. government statistics show.
Hilton has hotels in China as well, so Chinese tourists know the brand. United Airlines, for many Chinese, is considered "the airline of the U.S." because of its name and its large number of U.S.-China flights. Hilton could not be reached for comment. United CEO Jeff Smisek heralded the U.S.-China visa deal as a good start.
"As a global company with an important China route network, we support agreements that simplify travel and remove obstacles for our customers," Smisek said in a statement. "We urge continued work with other countries to further remove burdensome restrictions on travel."
U.S. companies probably backed efforts for visa liberalization, said James Berkeley, managing director of London-based Ellice Consulting.
"My instinct is that any pronouncements will have little to do with Obama, and a lot to do with the skills and independent relationships top management in those organizations have fostered with local partners and politicians," Berkeley said.
At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.