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Chinese governments take action to support SMEs

By Yang Yang | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-02-04 14:27

Restaurant employees prepare takeaway Lunar New Year's Eve dinner dishes at Deyuelou Restaurant in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu province. [Photo by Wang Jianzhong/For China Daily]

Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou have enacted a slew of measures to support small and medium-sized enterprises in tackling challenges brought by coronavirus, according to media reports.

On Sunday, Suzhou in East China's Jiangsu province announced 10 policies requiring banks and administrative departments to strengthen support to small and medium-sized enterprises in order to ensure stable economic development amid the outbreak.

The policies include concrete measures, such as social security premium delays, rent and tax reductions and exemptions, which reduce burdens for enterprises, especially small and medium-sized ones.

The Chinese government will be a strong supporter of China's small and medium-sized enterprises in the face of coronavirus, which may have a deep impact of economic and social development, said Lan Shaomin, Party secretary of Suzhou.

The prompt measures taken by Suzhou, the first local government to explicitly support SMEs against challenges brought by the epidemic, bring excitement and confidence to businesses.

The coronavirus outbreak has affected all walks of life and caused unexpected difficulties to businesses, but these measures bring relief to small and medium-sized businesses, said Zhang Xinbo, co-founder and CEO of GaiaWorks, a company in Suzhou.

Beijing and Shanghai took similar measures on Monday, to deal with challenges to business operation as well as cure the infected and control the spread of the virus.

To ensure economic stabilization and guarantee employment, the Beijing government deferred social security premium collection to the end of July for companies in industries seriously affected by the novel coronavirus, including travel, hospitality and catering.

To avoid and reduce layoffs, Beijing government also encourages companies adjust payment, reduce working time and rotate schedules after consultation with employees. For companies meeting requirements, the government will return unemployment insurance premiums.

On Monday the Shanghai Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau announced measures to secure employment, delay adjustment of the social security payment base and provide training subsidies.

The delay adjustment of social security payment base, which is linked to the local average income and increases every year, is expected to reduce a 10.1 billion yuan ($ 1.44 billion) burden of social security payment for enterprises.

More measures are expected to be launched to support small and medium-sized enterprises, the 21st Century Business Herald said.

The economic impact of the coronavirus is determined by the progress and effectiveness of epidemic prevention and control, but such impacts are temporary and will not change the fundamentals of China's long-term positive development, said Lian Weiliang, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, at a press conference on Monday.

The Chinese government is fully capable and confident in winning the battle against the epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus, and is certain to minimize its impact on the economy, Lian added.

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