Staff of a subsidiary asset management company of Huzhou City Group review information of self-employed business owners and apply rent reductions for them, so as to promote the implementation of policies for easing the difficulties of micro and small-sized businesses, in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, on May 26. (Photo/Xinhua)
More than 100 million self-employed businesses in China are set to receive a boost as a new regulation in support of their development has taken effect.
Covering taxation, finance, social security and employment policies, the regulation, effective from Nov 1, provides fresh assistance to self-employed individuals and seeks to address their immediate challenges and unleash their vitality.
Under the new regulation, a series of institutional arrangements will be made to further nourish the individual economy. For instance, the State Council, China's Cabinet, will set up an interministerial mechanism to improve synergy and coordination in tackling key issues regarding the prosperity of self-employed businesses.
The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) said that China had 111 million self-employed businesses by the end of September, accounting for two-thirds of the country's market entities.
Given the practical problems faced by individual businesses in their daily activities, the regulation also rolls out specific measures to facilitate problem-solving on the ground, such as requiring local governments to increase supplies and reduce costs of using business premises for individual businesses.
The new regulation is among the country's latest efforts to help self-employed individuals cushion the COVID-19 impact and other difficulties. Supportive policies, including housing rent relief, tax and fee cuts, and loan support have been introduced to ease burdens.
Sun Bin, who runs a teahouse in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, has seen business revenue shrink due to disruptions caused by the pandemic.
But thanks to a local housing rent relief policy, Sun received a three-month rent exemption. Rent was reduced by half for another three months. Aside from this, when his shop underwent renovations, he was exempt from paying rent for two more months.
A total of 97,000 yuan ($13,661) in rent was saved, according to Sun, easing pressures on cash flow and cutting operating costs.
Xu Yingjie, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council, said China's self-employed businesses have managed to maintain stable development thanks to targeted support measures.
Under the new regulation, policy support has been further extended to include measures like encouraging financial institutions to develop tailor-made financial products and services, optimizing vocational skills training, supporting business startups, as well as strengthening the protection of individual business rights in shop names, trademarks, patents and trade secrets.
The new regulation promises to simplify administrative procedures and improve the business environment to create favorable conditions for the healthy development of individual businesses.
The changes came immediately. In Beijing, Guo Hua's family has been operating Yuebin Restaurant for more than four decades. Guo's dad, who got the business license for the restaurant in 1980, had long wanted to change the restaurant's license to her name.
But before the new regulation went into effect, Guo's family had to cancel the business license and get a new one. The new regulation allows them to keep it and only change the name on it.
In the afternoon of Nov 1, Guo became the first in the country to complete the procedure and had her name appear on the business license.
That will make it easier to continue to operate the restaurant. It will also help preserve some time-honored businesses in the city, said Guo.
Pu Chun, an SAMR official, said the new regulation provides comprehensive support for self-employed individuals and is expected to stabilize expectations, boost market confidence and promote economic growth.
Market regulation departments at all levels nationwide should work together to ensure implementation of the regulation, Pu said.