City streamlines business registration rules to boost market vitality

Hu Min
Regulators adopt 32 new measures to moderate processes, ease market access barriers and expand digital applications.
Hu Min
City streamlines business registration rules to boost market vitality
Ti Gong

A market official handles a business application.

Shanghai has moved closer to a superior business environment with a raft of measures released on Thursday to spur the vitality of market entities.

The 32 measures relax market access thresholds while strengthening business management and expanding digital applications, thus empowering high-quality economic development, the Shanghai Administration for Market Regulation said.

The measures include streamlining the registration processes of market entities to cut registration times to half a day, supporting the development of individual businesses, deepening food manufacturing and operation licensing reform, enabling wholly-online company cancellation processes, and lifting the standardization development level of companies.

Promoting the healthy development of the online new economy and enhancing IPR protection are also on the agenda.

The measures also involve two guidelines for regulating the algorithms of online trading platforms and "black box" operation activities.

A trial conducted in the Pudong New Area allows market entities to do self-reporting and market regulators to do registrations on-the-spot after reviewing applications that meet certain criteria.

The practice will be promoted citywide once conditions are mature, helping market entities start operations as quickly as possible.

A licensing reform for food manufacturing and operation businesses will be deepened citywide, the administration announced.

City streamlines business registration rules to boost market vitality
Ti Gong

A business registration official handles an inquiry.

The city has launched a new commitment system to streamline registration procedures. The reform cuts the licensing approval time for nine types of low-risk food manufacturing in five categories.

If companies commit to meeting certain criteria, they will receive a license immediately to start manufacturing.

The system also exempts on-the-spot inspection before licenses are issued.

In the past, businesses needed to wait 10 working days to obtain a manufacturing license.

After a license is issued, market regulators will do inspections of food manufacturing companies within 30 workdays. Those failing the checks will have their food manufacturing license revoked, according to the administration.

For food chain businesses, the whole process is being made more convenient for when they want to open new branches.

They only need to comply with certain design and management requirements to receive a permit when opening new branches, with the on-the-spot inspection requirement cancelled.

"All these measures give easier access to relevant market entities and satisfy their expectations," Chen Xuejun, director of the administration, told a press conference.

The city has also stepped up efforts in digital application.

In April, 2020, authorities began to issue electronic versions of licenses, enabling companies to sign contracts and conduct business operations online and apply for services such as publishing annual reports, handling tax affairs, and processing employees' social insurance online with e-licenses and seals.

City streamlines business registration rules to boost market vitality
Ti Gong

A business registration official handles an inquiry.

So far, nearly 1.97 million market entities have accessed government services dealing with market regulation, tax, social security and public accumulation funds for housing a total of 14.46 million times through their e-version licenses.

Last year, city restaurants and shops were allowed to display e-versions of their business and food licenses to replace paper copies.

This year, all licenses in the market regulation field are expected to be covered in the e-version scheme.

By the end of last year, Shanghai had registered more than 3.18 million market entities, including 2.67 million companies, an increase of 10.8 percent from a year earlier, through its continuous efforts in registration reform to spur market entities' vitality.

There were 107.4 businesses per 1,000 persons in the city, ranking No.1 in the nation.

"The rapid growth of market entities in the city is linked to a fair and stable market environment," said Chen.

The city has also taken a "warm" approach to minor offences. Since March, 2019, when a list of impunity rules for minor offenders was released by city authorities, 3,665 market entities have benefited.

The fields of impunity rules will be expanded this year, covering advertising and pricing, according to the administration.

A credibility restoration mechanism established last year will be further improved. So far, 6,739 businesses have been removed from the abnormal operation list.

A multi-tier management mechanism will be implemented on Internet platforms to guide e-commerce sites to reasonably cut the marketing fees of listed businesses, according to the administration.

"The aim is to create a fair market environment for the healthy growth of various market entities," said Chen.

Zhu Yan, an employee of a newly established green energy company in Pudong New Area, submitted registration materials to the administration on Thursday.

"The new measures streamline a lot of procedures and really benefit companies," she said.

Under the new measures, five categories of materials, which the company needed to submit in the past, are exempted.

"It took about a month to prepare these materials," said Zhu.

"Involved in photovoltaic power generation, we are eager to conduct business early, and the measures save the precious time of companies," she said.

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