Tourists pose for photographs at the Bund, a major scenic spot on the Huangpu River, in Shanghai earlier this month. (Photo by Wang Gang/For China Daily)
Municipal government enacting more steps to boost investment, trade and standardize services for firms
Shanghai will offer proper funding, favorable policies and a better business environment to further boost the private sector, city mayor Ying Yong told Xinhua News Agency in an interview published on Thursday.
"Private businesses have the zeal to reform and innovate and we (the government) should provide them with the necessary support," said Ying. "We will make the private sector a high ground of the city's reform and opening-up and a pioneer of technological innovation."
According to Ying, State-owned enterprises' Shanghai branches, local SOEs, private businesses and foreign companies are "the four wheels of Shanghai's economic drive".
"We cannot afford losing any one of them," Ying said, adding that the city will expand market access for private companies in automobiles, civil aviation, bio-pharmaceuticals, high-end manufacturing and green chemical industries.
Citing statistics of recent years, Ying said the private sector accounts for about a quarter of the city's GDP, one fifth of its trade volume and one third of its tax revenue. The sector's dominance in the field of technology is obvious: it accounts for more than 90 percent of the city's technology companies. Among China's top 100 internet companies, 18 are private companies based in Shanghai.
Altogether, the private sector owns nearly half of the city's patents and creates more than 420,000 new jobs or over 70 percent of the city's total every year, Ying said.
Private businesses continue to thrive in the city, accounting for more than 96 percent of newly registered companies in the city this year.
To further invigorate the private sector, Shanghai released 27 measures to support its development, which include 30 billion yuan ($4.3 billion) in funding. The money will be split into three equal parts: to bail out struggling listed companies; to offer loans to small and medium-sized enterprises; and to expand the financing guarantee fund for SMEs.
The city has also cut costs in some areas, including tax, land and human labor, for private businesses, Ying said.
Above all, the mayor said, the city will strive to constantly improve the business environment for all enterprises, including the privately owned, in the city.
For example, the municipal government will set up a one-stop online portal for business registration and approvals by the end of the year. Private business only need to come once for 90 percent of the matters requiring government approvals, said the mayor.
Other supportive measures include favorable policies for industry leaders; an accelerated approval process for a company's technological upgrade; tax exemption for national-level industrial incubators and university high-tech parks; as well as encouraging private companies to apply for talent acquisition programs and utilize e-commerce to expand their market.
In a recent report on the global business environment published by the World Bank, China jumped from 78th position to 46th, while Shanghai, one of the two sample cities from the country, had a weightage of 55 percent.
"There's no end in building a good business environment, and our efforts are not limited by the 10 indexes of the World Bank," Ying said.
"Shanghai is enacting several steps to facilitate trade and investment, improve administrative efficiency, standardize services and management and for bettering legal systems, as part of its efforts to become a top-class global business city."