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Intensified efforts aim to make business easier

Updated: May 18,2016 10:33 PM

Efforts to reform business registration procedures in China are to be stepped up to reduce administrative costs and enhance economic restructuring from the supply side.

Several such measures were adopted at a State Council executive meeting on May 18, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

“Business system reform is crucial this year to achieve stable economic growth and maintain employment,” Premier Li said.

“Noticeable achievement has been made in recent years, but there are still problems to be solved.”

The reform drive, launched in March 2014, aims to simplify administrative procedures and lower the requirements for business registration.

The government plans to adopt more measures to deepen this reform. This includes creating negative lists for business registration, realizing the integration of business licenses, the certificates for taxation, organization code, social security and statistic code into one certificate.

Efforts in streamlining business administration will also give policy support, such as tax and fee reduction, to workers who may face job relocating during the country’s effort in reducing excess capacity.

Meanwhile the integration of multiple certificates will be further expanded to individual businessmen, with their taxation certificates and business licenses being integrated into a single document this year. The meeting also urges more efforts in building a fair market environment and a comprehensive market exit mechanism.

Premier Li said: “Only when the government can regulate the market can we guarantee freedom to the market. And when such regulation works effectively, we can have a smooth delegation of power and help enterprises to grow faster.”

The reform of streamlining business registration procedure has been promoted across the country in 2016, and have achieved certain results.

An improved system has been launched to help businesses leave the market.

Trial runs have started in Pudong in Shanghai, Yancheng in Jiangsu province, Ningbo in Zhejiang province and Shenzhen in Guangdong province. Less documentation is now required from enterprises if they want to leave the market, creating room for new businesses to enter.

Detailed requirements for business sites have also been lowered, with the site registration procedure being streamlined based on field research. In some cities such as Shanghai, some residential buildings are being allowed to be refurbished for use as business venues.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce will keep promoting the replacement of paper business certificates with e-certificates, with all registration completed online. Trial runs will be carried out in areas including Jiangsu and Hebei provinces before the online registration process is applied nationwide.

Efforts will be continued to integrate business licenses, certificates of organization and tax certificates. By the end of last month, 8.89 million new single certificates had been issued.

“Governments at all levels should keep working hard to integrate business certificates when possible and reduce institutional costs for enterprises,” Premier Li said.

From January to April, 4.6 million new businesses were registered, a 13.1 percent year-on-year increase. Registered capital reached 12.3 trillion yuan ($1.88 trillion), year-on-year growth of 66 percent.

At a news conference in February, Zhang Mao, head of the administration — the ministry that leads the reform — said 12,000 new enterprises were registered every day last year, a 20 percent increase on 2014.

Before the reform started in 2014, anyone wanting to start a new business had to obtain a series of approvals before obtaining a business license, a process that usually took months.

Meanwhile, government departments, including the SAIC and the State Administration of Taxation, aim to improve coordination to provide enhanced services for businesses.

Akira Yang, 26, a graduate who set up a cultural communications company with registered capital of 100,000 yuan in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, last year, said, “The policy has lowered the requirement for newly graduated students to start micro-sized businesses with small amounts of funding.”

“It also allows us to switch more money to focus on the advanced research and development of products and services.”