Xinhua News, recently reported that entrepreneurs in China are more optimistic in the first quarter of 2012, compared to 2011.

The entrepreneur confidence index, is a gauge of the views and opinions of the country’s entrepreneurs. The score rose to 70.2 percent in the first quarter, up 1.8 percentage points from the fourth quarter of last year.

Of the 5,000 entrepreneurs surveyed, 27.3 percent said the nation’s economy is “relatively cool,” up 2.5 percentage points from the previous quarter. Nearly 67 percent of respondents indicated no change in the economy, nearly the same number as in the fourth quarter, while only 5.6 percent said the economy is “relatively hot”, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, a sub-index tracking entrepreneurs’ views of the country’s current economic performance stood at 39.2 percent, staying below the good-bad gauge of 50 percent for a third straight quarter and declining 2.5 percentage points from the previous quarter.

Since I meet many entrepreneurs in Beijing, we often talk about their views of the near future. The last gauge I got at the start of the year was that many are cautious and thinking of battening down the hatches for a potential economic storm. This means thinning out operational costs to a minimum and trying to raise enough venture funding to keep them afloat. The Greek debt crisis stands out among the European debt crisis as something that could send the world into another economic tail-spin.

Perhaps the best view to take right now is cautiously-optimistic, so that you are running hard but are prepared for difficult times. We can only hope it doesn’t reach the state we were at before in 2008.