Shanghai upgrades business environment plan

Huang Yixuan
City government says it will make further efforts this year to comprehensively optimize the business environment as it announces the latest version of its development plan. 
Huang Yixuan

Shanghai is to make further efforts to comprehensively optimize the business environment in 2020, and has issued a 3.0 version of an implementation plan on developing a world leading environment for business.

The new plan emphasises the promotion of a one-stop online platform for government services, improving the city's performance in the World Bank's Doing Business assessment, and providing a package of policies and measures to strengthen, protect and stimulate the vitality of market entities, according to the city government.

Ma Chunlei, the Shanghai government's deputy secretary general and director of the city's Development and Reform Commission, told a press conference on Thursday that the focus of the platform is to break through the data barrier. 

Now that government services have been put on the online platform, the key for the next step is to optimize procedures and integrated operations of various government departments, Ma said.

Meanwhile, Shanghai is to take Hong Kong and Singapore as benchmarks for the development of its business environment, learning from their ideas and experience in offering government services.

For instance, although Shanghai is already one of the world's top performers in terms of carrying out contracts in the World Bank's report, the city this year will keep on trying to reduce the time required to execute contracts from 485 days to 345 days by improving the delivery system and the management of accreditation agencies. 

As for handling construction permits, Shanghai will draw on the experience of Hong Kong's "one-stop center" mode, to provide services covering the whole process of application, approval, inspection and acceptance checks of construction projects through a single window.

Also, in view of the problems faced by foreigners such as more procedures required and longer times taken to obtain work permits, the city will set up a batch of special single windows to better deal with affairs related to residence and work of foreigners in Shanghai within seven working days.

In accordance with Chinese President Xi Jinping's directive that megacities such as Shanghai should take the lead in strengthening reform of the business environment, since 2017 the city has formulated and implemented the 1.0 and 2.0 versions of the plan to improve the business environment. 

After more than two years' efforts, the city had achieved positive results in optimizing the environment for doing business, and made remarkable progress in the World Bank's business environment assessment.

China jumped 15 places to 31 out of 190 countries and regions in the World Bank's ranking for ease of doing business, and is among the 10 economies where the business climate improved the most. 

Shanghai, with a 55 percent weighting in the assessment for China, has hugely contributed. Of the 10 indicators assessed by the bank, eight of them ranked in the top 60 globally and five in the top 30, said Chen Yin, the city's executive vice mayor.

"This indicates that business environment reform in Shanghai has made great progress in both depth and effectiveness," Chen said. 

This year, Shanghai has pledged to focus on expanding the benefits for enterprises in line with its 3.0 plan, and continue to make greater efforts to make it easier for companies from home and abroad to do business in the city.

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