The Zhonghuan Commercial Hub returns to its former hustle and bustle.
Construction work is in full swing once again at Taopu Smart City in Putuo District.Though construction was delayed for a month due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the smart city project remains on schedule to finish on time.
“We can work it out to catch up with the schedule,” said Qiang Hao, general manager of the Shanghai Taopu Smart City Development Construction Co.
Putuo District government has been strengthening its coronavirus prevention and control measures, while attracting investment to get the economy back on track.
Putuo has released a dozen supportive policies to help companies, especially the small and medium-sized enterprises, to get through the COVID-19 dark period. They include housing rent exemption, more talent-housing subsidies, prolonged tax declaration, financial support for policy-guaranteed loans and an optimized business environment. The measures have helped companies resume operations while reducing losses.
As of April 3, 19,693 companies in Putuo had resumed work, accounting for 96.33 percent of the total. About 270,000 Putuo employees, or 92 percent of the total, have returned to work under strict prevention and guidance measures.
All industrial, foreign-invested and high-technology enterprises have returned to work, along with supermarkets, standard wet markets, libraries, community culture centers and A-level tourism spots. All sports facilities have resumed with the exception of swimming pools.
The district’s commission of commerce has offered categorized services to supply coronavirus prevention materials to meet company demands, while 59 teams of doctors were dispatched to guide companies, office buildings and innovation parks to carry out preventative measures.
For companies with insufficient funds, the commerce commission has launched a green channel for them to apply and receive loans. With government help, Putuo medical firm, Kedu Healthcare Tech, received a 100-million-yuan (US$14.19 million) credit loan within a day. It relieved pressure on the company because it couldn’t collect debts because of the epidemic.
Putuo District Party Secretary Cao Liqiang (center) inspects a company to help local businesses resume normal operations.
Optimizing the business environment has become another focus of the Putuo government despite the pandemic.
In one case, two overseas investment companies are planning to establish a joint venture at Taopu Smart City. Thanks to Putuo’s integrated online service platform, the companies finished the application, got approval and completed registration within eight days.
In another case, the district government helped arrange an annual order meeting for local clothing company Satchi, despite the complications surrounding the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The order meeting is crucial for Satchi as over 95 percent of the company’s revenue comes from the session every year. The Putuo government, along with the Changshou Road Subdistrict, met at the Holiday Inn Shanghai Vista on Changshou Road, where the lease was reduced to 50,000 yuan from 480,000 yuan, following negotiations with the government.
Full virus prevention measures were also conducted to ensure the safety of over 300 attendees.
The meeting, delayed for a month due to the epidemic, helped reduce the loss of 700 million yuan for the clothing company.
Putuo has offered help and support to 1,496 companies. The district’s state-owned assets supervision and administration commission is expected to reduce leases to the sum of around 100 million yuan for over 1,400 companies.
The district’s human resources bureau has attracted hundreds of candidates to take part in an emergency post recruitment drive for Putuo companies.
At Taopu Smart City, over 30 company plans are already under review and land-transferring will start soon for two new projects, while a group of regional headquarters on intelligent security and life health will move to Taopu by June.
“Apart from busy construction, the smart city is hosting around three project meetings every day,” said Qiang.
Putuo attracted 505 new companies in the first quarter of 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and direct foreign investment funds has increased by 6.7 percent.
The Global Harbor Mall is crowded with shoppers.
Attracting new companies
On March 26, Beijing-based Chinese tech firm ByteDance signed a joint strategic agreement with Putuo to create a global intelligent education demonstration zone.
On March 31, China’s online security giant 360, online retailing platform JD.com and Donghong Investment also signed strategic agreement with Putuo.
To attract and better serve these projects, senior Putuo officials have been working with the district’s investment promotion office to communicate and negotiate with companies online during the pandemic.
“We’ve talked with many districts in Shanghai. They generally have a good business environment, but Putuo turns out to be the most efficient with the best services and sincerity,” said an official with 360.
The blueprint also revealed a China-Israel Internet security innovation center will be built, along with a talent-training center and an artificial intelligence open innovation platform. These institutes are expected to elevate the Internet security ability of Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta region and boost the related industries and the regional economy of Putuo.
As for the future, Putuo aims to attract investments with better services. Senior district officials will visit companies more frequently to offer bespoke services and resolve difficulties.
The online and document delivery services will be expanded to make it more convenient for the companies amid the COVID-19 pandemic and further optimize its business environment.
Editor: Chen Xingjie