More than 100 million Chinese self-employed businesses are set to receive a boost as a new regulation in support of their development has taken effect.
Covering taxation, finance, social security, and employment policies, the regulation, effective from Tuesday, provides fresh assistance to self-employed individuals and seeks to address their immediate challenges and unleash their vitality.
Under the new regulation, a series of institutional arrangements will be made to nourish the individual economy further. For instance, the State Council will set up an inter-ministerial mechanism to improve the synergy and coordination in tackling key issues concerning the prosperity of self-employed businesses.
Data from the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) showed that China had 111 million self-employed businesses by the end of September, accounting for two-thirds of the country's market entities.
In view of the practical problems faced by individual businesses in their daily activities, the regulation also rolls out specific measures to facilitate problem-solving on the ground, such as requiring local governments to increase the supply and reduce the cost of using business premises for individual businesses.
The new regulation is among the country's latest efforts to help self-employed individuals cushion the epidemic impact and other difficulties. Supportive policies, including housing rent relief, tax and fee cuts, and loan support, have been introduced to ease their burdens.
Sun Bin, running a teahouse in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, has seen its business revenue shrinking due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.
But thanks to a local housing rent relief policy, Sun received a three-month rent exemption. Then the rent was reduced by half for another three months. Besides, when his shop underwent refurnishing, he was exempt from paying rent for two more months.
A total of 97,000 yuan (about 13,400 U.S. dollars) in rent was saved, according to Sun, easing pressure on cash flow and cutting operating costs.
Xu Yingjie, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council, said China's self-employed businesses have managed to maintain stable development thanks to targeted support measures.
Under the new regulation, policy support has been further extended to include measures like encouraging financial institutions to develop tailor-made financial products and services, optimizing vocational skills training, supporting business startups, as well as strengthening the protection of individual businesses' rights in shop names, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets.
The new regulation promises to simplify administrative procedures and improve the business environment to create favorable conditions for the healthy development of individual businesses.
The changes came immediately. In Beijing, Guo Hua's family has been operating the Yuebin Restaurant for more than four decades. Guo's dad, who got the business license for the restaurant in 1980, has long wanted to change the restaurant's operator to her.
But before the new regulation went into effect, Guo's family had to cancel the business license and get a new one. The new regulation allows them to keep it and only change the name on it.
On Tuesday afternoon, Guo Hua became the first one in the country to complete the procedure and had her name appear on the business license.
That will make it easier to continue to operate the restaurant. It will also help preserve some time-honored businesses in the city, said Guo.
Pu Chun, an SAMR official, said the new regulation provides comprehensive support for self-employed individuals and is expected to stabilize their expectations, boost market confidence, and promote economic growth.
The market regulation departments at all levels in the country should work with relevant departments to ensure the implementation of the regulation, said Pu.
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