Shanghai releases 34 measures to support virus-hit individual local businesses
Thirty-four measures, covering tax reduction, financial support and improving the business environment, were jointly released by Shanghai's market regulators and 19 government departments on Tuesday to support the city's 500,000-plus individual businesses and help them get through the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These measures involve housing rent exemption and reduction, subsidies on utility fees, employment subsidies, financial credit support, and preferential policies on tax and business registration, the Shanghai Administration for Market Regulation announced.
The authorities will also enhance efforts in the supervision and management of online trading platforms, cracking down on pricing irregularities, cutting red tape and streamlining business registration, regulating the market environment and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of individual businesses.
They will also boost help for individual businesses by providing services in residential communities to tackle service space difficulties.
"These combined measures are expected to cut manufacturing and operation costs of individual businesses, tackle their financing channel woes, and create a market environment of fair competition," said Chen Yanfeng, deputy director of the administration.
"Individual businesses are an important force in the city's economic development, and the 507,700-odd individual businesses in the city are facing unprecedented difficulties due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic resurgence.
"It is urgent and important to help this group, which accounts for 15.7 percent of the city's total market entities, recover confidence and stabilize operation," he added.
"Based on our research, we found that they face a number of difficulties, ranging from obstacles in recruitment to surging operation costs and financial stress," Chen noted.
"But they are resilient and are struggling to survive, after making big contributions to the supply of goods to communities during the COVID-19 resurgence."
At the Dapuqiao Subdistrict Community Service Center in Huangpu District, Yuan Minchun, 68, was carefully polishing keys. Behind him, hanging on the wall was a new business license for individual businesses which he just received.
"In the past, I didn't have a fixed business venue and was deemed as an illegal individual operator. But now, I have registered with a venue here in the community service center," Yuan, a locksmith by profession, said proudly.
Many individual businesses lost their operation venues to urban construction, and were unable to afford the rental cost of new workplaces, hindering them from applying for a business license, officials revealed.
The community service center has spared a nearly 400-square-meter venue to help more than 20 individual businesses to settle in.
Chen Gang, a food stall operator in Huangpu, will save more than 40,000 yuan (US$5,920) in operation costs thanks to the measures. He has a six-month housing rent exemption since he rents state-owned real estate for his business.
"It gives individual businesses like mine some respite and prevents us from suffering bigger losses," he said. "I can heave a sigh of relief and I believe spring will finally come."