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Premier Li urges small businesses to create jobs

Updated: Dec 6,2016 7:35 AM     China Daily

Premier Li Keqiang speaks with Zhang Huamei, who obtained China’s first small private business permit in 1980, at a ceremony on Dec 5, 2016.[Photo/China Daily]

Premier Li Keqiang called on small private business owners to build their brands and contribute to employment and the national economy at a ceremony on Dec 5.

At the event, marking the 30th anniversary of the China Privately Owned Business Association, the Premier met with more than 200 representatives of the group. Among them was Zhang Huamei, a 56-year-old woman who in 1980 obtained China’s first permit to open a small private business.

Such businesses now provide 40 percent of the country’s jobs and have played a vital role in boosting economic growth, vitalizing the market and meeting the public’s diversified demands, the Premier said.

“Private businesses should operate with integrity and build their own brands to win market recognition, and, meanwhile, avoid counterfeit and fake products,” Premier Li said.

The government will further streamline administrative processes and strengthen public services to protect their rights and legal property, he said.

Analysts said the Premier’s high-profile speech at the ceremony is an indication of the importance the central government attaches to this group of business owners, whose number has grown about thirtyfold over the years to more than 300 million.

China is aiming for medium to high speed economic growth, requiring the participation and support of millions of market entities, Premier Li said. Private business owners, he added, should accurately survey market opportunities to create goods in order to meet new demands and create more jobs.

According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, 10.67 million new jobs were created in the first nine months of the year, three months in advance of the 10-million-job annual goal the Premier set in his Government Work Report in March. Observers said that achievement could be largely attributed to small private businesses.

Premier Li has repeatedly talked about the importance of steady employment opportunities as China’s economy faces downward pressure amid sluggish world trade. Export and investment, which have been economic drivers for decades, are slowing or even shrinking, so private capital and businesses are getting more significant in the national economy.

The private sector, small businesses in particular, has helped increase employment opportunities and ensure China achieves its annual economic growth target, said Ma Baocheng, director of the Decision-Making and Consultation Department at the Chinese Academy of Governance.

Facing flagging global demand, China’s exports declined and private investment growth has also slowed over the past few months. To further stimulate private business owners’ enthusiasm, the central government has worked to simplify administration and expand the reform of government services, Ma said.