The city of Yiwu, a marketplace for small commodities in east China's Zhejiang Province, introduced a series of new rules Friday to welcome more foreigners.
The rules, issued by the city's human resources and social security bureau, include lowering standards for foreigners who want to work in the city, and a new point-based system, which could be critical for the extension of work permits.
Foreign workers in China have been classified into categories A, B and C. A, as top-notch personnel; B as professional talent; and C as ordinary workers.
"Around 90 percent of foreigners in Yiwu are ordinary workers on the basis of the current categories, meaning that those who are over 60 can hardly work in China," said Wu Shenlan, a bureau official.
Wu said that some foreigners at the age of 60 might consider ending their business or cutting their investments in China, as they could be worried about getting a work permit.
However, the problem might be solved through the new point-based system, which awards points for foreign applicants depending on their abiding law, income, tax, contribution to local employment, years working in Yiwu, insurance, education, Chinese language skills and individual social credit.
"The more points you get, the longer the permit extension could be. Even those who are older than 60 can get permit extension if they have high scores," Wu said.
"My family members all want to stay in Yiwu for a long time. These new rules give us a sense of security, which allows us to plan things in the long term," said Sarmi, an Ethiopian trader, who has worked and lived in Yiwu for more than 10 years.
Wu said: "We are still working on rolling out more policies to benefit foreigners, and wish they can achieve their goals and realize their dreams in Yiwu."
Dubbed the "world's supermarket," a growing number of foreigners have been attracted to the city. Around 15,000 foreign traders from more than 100 countries are stationed in Yiwu, and more than 400,000 foreigners come to the city to do business every year.