China is to further streamline registration procedures for private businesses, targeting a reduction in the costs associated with entrepreneurship and innovation as well as improving the business environment and employment.
The decision was made at a State Council executive meeting on Oct 14, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.
A number of measures have been put in place since 2015 to merge the organization code certificate and the certificate of taxation registration into a single document, a business license, with social credit codes. Another two certificates, namely the social insurance registration certificate and the statistics registration certificate, were also merged into the license.
New measures, including merging these five business-related certificates into one license, which were put in place on Oct 1 after being initially approved in May, have significantly encouraged private businesses.
According to a statement released after the meeting on Oct 14, piloting measures in merging those certificates into the current scheme are encouraged to be carried out in some cities and regions and will be promoted across the country after proper evaluation.
Meanwhile, the government will make better use of the “Internet Plus” strategy aiming to put the entire business registration process online. Currently, 22 municipalities, provinces and autonomous regions, including Beijing and Shanghai, have launched trials.
The meeting also called on governmental agencies to better regulate these businesses before, during and after the setup process, with better information sharing.
Premier Li said that greater efforts are required in streamlining business registration, as too many certificates are still required to register a new business. “We should do away with those certificates that are not really required for starting a business to fully realize the benefits of reform and the market,” he said.
Premier Li has said that the efforts to streamline business registration and scale back government control are being made to meet the requirements for another round of opening up and to improve China’s global competitiveness.
He also called for on proper supervision in the context of the reform, while warning against disturbing examinations and incursions into private enterprises. “The key is to properly unleash their potential,” he said.
“Private business is experiencing slowing growth this year and these measures can boost the enthusiasm of private investors,” said Ma Baocheng, director of the Decision-Making and Consultation Department at the Chinese Academy of Governance.
State Administration for Industry and Commerce statistics recently showed that new streamlining efforts have had a significant impact in the two weeks since implementation at the beginning of this month. Registering a new business now only takes two to three working days, while it previously took several months and required stacks of printed documents that had to be submitted to half a dozen departments.
A total of 488,000 new business licenses have been issued since Oct 1, and an online survey showed that more than half of those surveyed gave positive feedback on the business registration reform.
Figures also show that the number of new business registrations has grown from about 12,000 per day last year to 14,600 per day in the first eight months of this year, while the number was only 6,900 before the reform.
Three years ago, Tu Bizhi founded a logistics company in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, with several of his friends. It took the 28-year-old almost three months to complete the registration process, but he said his friends who have recently registered their new businesses have found it much easier.
“The real economy is not as profitable as before and simplified procedures can save us much time to explore the market, and find new customers. In short, the new measures can help private businessmen like me,” Tu said.
Ma echoed Tu by saying that a simpler process for business registration will also be beneficial to grassroots entrepreneurs and innovation which have been promoted by the central government since two years ago.