Cutting red tape helps firms boost the bottom line

Shanghai has taken a number of measures to cut red tape and improve its business environment.

Shanghai has taken a number of measures to cut red tape and improve its business environment, particularly by cashing in on the efficiency and convenience brought about by the Internet.

Among these measures is “yiwang tongban” initiative, which means that government departments, in serving market entities and municipal residents, should strive to have their businesses done by one visit to a website or one visit to a government office, with a view of further coordinating different functions of governmental service providers so that in the future all businesses could be handled more efficiently.

These initiatives are taken in view of long-standing popular perception that the administrative procedures were often time-consuming and needlessly cumbersome.

Shanghai has already made some headway in this area. For instance at municipal level, as many as 100 business approvals could be obtained online every step of the way.

Jiefang Daily reported yesterday that a streamlined administrative procedure adopted in Hongkou District on March 9 had enabled 398 businesses to be licensed the same day when the applications were submitted online.

In a similar case, one milk tea franchise in Minhang District was able to obtain its business license and food business permit on February 8, the same day it submitted its application.

“This speed is unprecedented in our prior experience in launching over 70 franchises across the country,” said Liu Kai, a manager for the franchise.

The speed translates into good profits. As the milk tea shop was able to start its business before the Spring Festival, this resulted in an additional 100,000 yuan (US$12,000) in revenue.

This is a marked departure from the old practice where obtaining food business permit might take at least one month, involving such procedures as an on-the-spot inspection of the shop before it went into operation.

This on-the-spot inspection procedure was dispensed with and replaced by the business’ promise that their operation fully complies with the operating conditions as required.

According to the relevant authority in Minhang, since this scheme went into trial operation in the district in February, 304 food businesses have already obtained their food operating permits by this means.

This simplified procedure does not mean businesses could afford to take lightly of their promises. Businesses found guilty of foul play or wrongdoing later will not only have their license revoked, but also be disqualified from using this streamlined procedure in their future application.

These erring businesses would also be listed as high risk and subject to intensified routine supervision.

Shanghai always scores high in term of the quality of its general services. These measures will further consolidate the city’s position as a business center by continually improving its business environment.

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