China taking swift steps to help SMEs hit by coronavirus


  • China
  • Tuesday, 04 Feb 2020

Several deliverymen resting at a street in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province. While racing to control the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, China is moving fast to help vulnerable sectors and impacted small firms pull through. - Xinhua/ANN

BEIJING: While racing to control the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, China is moving fast to help vulnerable sectors and impacted small firms pull through.

Supportive policies for enterprises and employment should be well implemented while enhanced efforts will be made to keep major sectors of the economy stable, the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee stressed in a meeting Monday.

The meeting came after several government agencies vowed to help keep the affected enterprises afloat amid the epidemic.

Credit support for the manufacturing sector, small and micro enterprises as well as private firms will be boosted, the People's Bank of China said Saturday in a circular released with other departments.

Lian Weiliang, deputy chief of China's top economic planner, said Monday that more targeted policies would be rolled out to soften the epidemic's impact on firms.

Local governments are responding swiftly. Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou have unveiled steps to ease the financial strain for impacted firms, with means such as postponing the payment of social security fees for enterprises and offering them training subsidies.

"The epidemic will only have a temporary impact on China's economy, and the country's good economic fundamentals for long-term growth remain unchanged," Lian said.

Market titans, in particular those in the service sectors hit hardest by the outbreak, are also lending a hand to small players.

Commercial property developers such as Wanda have decided to relieve the burden on their tenants by offering exemptions on rent and property management fees for a certain period of time. Huazhu Group and some other hotel chain brands have announced they will cut or scrap franchise fees for local hotels.

Online food delivery and ticketing services platform Meituan Dianping has introduced measures including waiving commission and offering preferential loans to assist its registered merchants.

Some 8,000 offline outlets of China's largest online travel agency Trip.com will have their management fees waived for three months, while online courses on sales, data analysis and customer relations management are open to their staff.

"The challenge will be short-lived. China's huge tourism demand will not perish," said Zhang Li, CEO of the company's vacation channel division, citing that given previous experiences, the pent-up demand will significantly lift the market after the epidemic ends. - XInhua/Asian News Network
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