Shanghai launches intelligent English service for cross-border taxpayers

Huang Yixuan
The Shanghai taxation administration has launched an English intelligent voice system that offers cross-border taxpayers 24/7 access to tax-related services.
Huang Yixuan
Shanghai launches intelligent English service for cross-border taxpayers
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The Shanghai taxation administration officially launches an English voice service system on Tuesday.

The Shanghai taxation administration, on Tuesday, launched an English voice service for foreigners while also striking a deal with the City News Service to promote tax-related news items for the expatriates.

The English intelligent voice system for tax consultations, which was unveiled on Tuesday at the State Taxation Administration's 12366 Shanghai (International) Tax Service Center, is the first English intelligent voice system to be put into operation for tax purposes.

The introduction of the English system is intended to expand international tax consultation services and provide cross-border taxpayers with 24/7 access to intelligent tax policy response services.

It currently deals with frequently asked questions from cross-border taxpayers and offers a virtual consultation service in real-time using the first 300 English knowledge points.

Rex Chan, China North Tax Leader of PwC China, said that the system offers more consultation service channels for foreign-funded enterprises and foreigners, which can help optimize the tax business environment and support Shanghai's efforts to attract, stabilize and encourage businesses and investments.

According to the center, after the official launch of the system, machine learning and human correction will be used to enhance the system's voice recognition and problem-matching rates by enhancing the English corpus and knowledge training.

It pledges to keep upgrading the English intelligent voice system to enhance the interactive service experience and provide targeted and high-quality consultation services for taxpayers.

In recent years, the 12366 tax service center of the city has actively promoted the digital transformation and intelligent upgrade of tax services. To provide tax policy consultations to businesses, it has introduced innovative services on the electronic tax bureau, implemented enterprise hotline assistance, and joined the Shanghai Enterprise Service Cloud public service alliance.

In addition, the center participated in a number of small and medium-sized business service activities. As part of these efforts, it conducted training sessions on tax relief policies and their application to assist struggling businesses.

The administration is also collaborating with City News Service, an English news and information platform in Shanghai, to promote tax-related matters, including income tax and tax refunds on departure, among others.

Shanghai launches intelligent English service for cross-border taxpayers
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

During the live demonstration, Alex from the United States who is now an editor at Shanghai Daily, engages in an English consultation with the intelligent voice system.

Xue Feng, president of the Shanghai Foreign Investment Development Board, or Invest Shanghai, said that foreign-funded enterprises have played a crucial role in Shanghai's economic and social development, contributing over a quarter of the city's gross domestic product, over one-third of tax revenue, nearly two-thirds of foreign trade, and about 20 percent of employment.

In 2022, despite the impact of the pandemic, Shanghai's actual use of foreign investment reached an all-time high of US$23.956 billion, with an investment structure that is continually improving. Notably, foreign investment in the tertiary sector accounted for 96.3 percent of the city's total investment.

Shanghai has become a top destination for foreign investment, with 60 new regional headquarters of multinational corporations and 25 new R&D centers funded by foreign investors established in 2022.

Invest Shanghai offers a variety of public services, including consultation, liaison and coordination, to both domestic and foreign investors. The city's tax authorities have introduced a series of convenient and efficient services, such as expediting export tax refunds, to continuously optimize the business environment regarding taxation.

"We will continue to work with the authorities to actively explore new measures for foreign-related services, support the city's strategy of opening up to the outside world, and promote high-quality economic and social development in Shanghai, as well as stable employment and investment," said Xue.

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