The Baocheng Bay of Suzhou Creek
Thanks to Putuo District government’s Herculean efforts, local clothing company Satchi managed to host its annual order meeting earlier this month 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 meeting, delayed for a month due to the epidemic, helped reduce the loss of several hundred million yuan for the company.
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 (US$7,047) from 480,000 yuan following government negotiation. Full virus prevention measures were also conducted to ensure the safety of over 300 attendees.
“We’re now confident about the company’s performance for the coming year thanks to the successful meeting,” said Sheng Xuan, deputy general manager of the Putuo-based company.
Satchi later announced it would donate 1 million yuan to the Central Hospital of Wuhan, in central China’s Hubei Province, the heart of the outbreak in China.
Putuo has released a dozen supportive policies to help companies, especially the small and medium-sized enterprises, to get through the dark period of COVID-19.
After a month of implementation, the measures have helped companies resume operations while reducing losses.
As of March 23, all the industrial, foreign-invested, technological and high-technology enterprises have returned to work, while construction of all the 11 key city-level projects has resumed.
A special scheme in Putuo has played a key role in getting the economy back on the front foot.
District government officials visited 1,379 companies by March 23, including state-owned, foreign and private trade companies, and they resolved over 84 percent of their problems.
During the visits, officials implemented the government’s 28 coronavirus prevention measures and helped to guide companies through the hard period.
Officials also helped fast-track key construction projects and accelerated approvals.
Another focus of the district is to keep attracting investments and talent to nurture new industrial projects and foster economic growth.
A recent survey revealed the challenges companies have had to face. There was a shortage of anti-coronavirus materials and a lack of working capital as well as influence from other parts of the supply chains due to the epidemic, like logistics, labor forces and money.
To help solve these issues the district government reduced or exempted rent on business properties. Putuo’s nine state-owned enterprises have benefitted from a lease reduction of up to 310 million yuan.
The district’s state-owned assets supervision and administration commission has launched a hotline, manned with specialists, to inform eligible SMEs who qualify for rent reduction. So far, over 1,500 SMEs have enjoyed a lease cut of over 100 million yuan through the hotline.
Key shopping complexes in Putuo, such as the Global Harbor Mall, Red Star Macalline, Changfeng Joy City and Bailian Zhonghuan Shopping Mall, have reduced or exempted tenants’ rent by one to three months.
The district has also mediated with companies and banks to communicate better. Putuo’s banks have received demands from 218 companies totaling 2.09 billion yuan.
With government help, Kedu Healthcare Tech, a medical firm in Putuo, received a loan of 100 million yuan within a day. It relieved pressure on the company because it couldn’t collect debts due to the epidemic. The company received generous help because it donated over 600 pieces of medical equipment to Hubei totaling 3.5 million yuan.
The district government also ensured the supply of coronavirus protection materials to companies. Over 300 thermometers have been delivered to office buildings, while over 1.35 million masks and 20 tons of disinfectants have been purchased.
The district’s commission of commerce, for instance, bought 200,000 masks from across the nation for the first batch of Putuo-based companies to resume business. The commission later purchased another 600,000 masks from companies in neighboring Jiangsu Province and asked dealer companies in Putuo to buy another 500,000 masks mainly for SMEs in the district.
Shoppers return to Global Harbor Mall in Putuo as business bounces back following the ebbing of COVID-19. The district government has rolled out a variety of measures to help local enterprises overcome difficulties during the recent hard times.
12 measures to support SMEs
1. Housing rent exemption Small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the workplaces run by state-owned enterprises are eligible to rent exempt for two months. The SOEs are encouraged to reduce, exempt or delay rent for SMEs. The office buildings, innovation parks and incubators who offer rent discounts to SMEs will enjoy supportive policies from the government.
2. Labor costs reduction Employers who did not lay off or reduce staff during the epidemic can apply for a return of half of the total unemployment insurance premiums paid in the previous year. Employers organizing online vocational training can apply for a subsidy of 95 percent of training costs.
3. Labor relations stabilization Timely policy counseling and other services are offered for SMEs strongly affected by the epidemic. They are guided to adjust salary or stagger working periods to get through difficult times. Employees infected with COVID-19 can get covered by a serious illness insurance.
4. More talent housing subsidies SMEs will receive a three-month housing subsidy to retain their talent. Each professional can receive a monthly housing subsidy of 800 yuan (US$112.52).
5. Prolonged tax declaration Those affected by coronavirus can apply to prolong their tax declaration to February 24.
6. Tax reduction Companies whose estates or lands were taken over by the government for antiepidemic campaign can apply to reduce or exempt real estate and land usage taxes.
7. Increased credit support Banks and other financial institutions are encouraged to increase credit lines and give preferential interest rates to SMEs. Deferred repayments, reduction of interest rates and credit protection can be offered to SMEs in difficulties.
8. Differentiated financial services Financial institutions and organizations are urged to offer differentiated and innovative guarantee methods, quotas, duration and credit process for companies in key regions and industries.
9. Financial support for policy-guaranteed loans The local government will connect with the city’s financing guarantee fund management center to ask for stronger support for SMEs.
10. Quick policy support funds Eligible SMEs, such as those in Putuo’s key industries known as the “3+5+X sectors,” can apply for supportive funds from the government and get the fund more quickly.
11. Strengthened company services District leaders are visiting SME counterparts to help solve problems due to the epidemic. They also help companies resume operations, receive masks, disinfectants and other anti-epidemic materials.
12. Optimized business environment The district will avail services more widely on the “one-stop platform” and promote the remote electronic registration services.
Editor: Chen Xingjie