By Du Haitao, Luo Shanshan
China has largely improved its business environment during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) period with enhanced innovation to better service efficiency.
It has continuously advanced reforms to streamline administration and delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services, faithfully implemented tax and fee reduction policies, greatly shortened negative lists for foreign investment market access, and made remarkable progress in building a “single-window system” for foreign trade.
These efforts further brought down the operational cost of enterprises and stimulated the energy of the market, which offered strong support for high-quality economic development.
South Korea-funded enterprise LG Display based in Yantai, east China’s Shandong province, was one of the beneficiaries of these measures. The company encountered an urgent problem after COVID-19 broke out this year, which had to be solved by technicians from South Korea. Wang Fengbin, deputy director of the company’s management department, resorted to a platform established by Shandong province to stabilize foreign trade and investment for help, and in less than two weeks, South Korean technicians successfully entered China amid the pandemic, and the problem was smoothly tackled.
In the last five years, China has constantly pressed ahead with reforms of systems and mechanisms to comprehensively expand opening-up, lower access threshold and improve service quality. According to World Bank’s Doing Business report, China advanced to a global ranking of 46 this year regarding business environment, up from 78 last year. It has been included among the top 10 fastest global reformers for two years in a row.
Last year, China received 941.52 billion yuan ($140.64 billion) in foreign investment, ranking the first among developing countries and the second of the world. The figure stood at 619.78 billion yuan in the first 8 months this year despite of the impacts of COVID-19, growing 2.6 percent from a year ago.
According to the Report on the Latest Development in IPR Protection and Business Environment in China (2019), 59,800 foreign-funded companies were newly established in China in 2019, making the total number to 627,000. Besides, the number of foreign-funded projects with investment of at least $100 million reached 834. Statistics from China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) also indicated that 22,602 foreign-funded firms started operation in China during the January-August period this year. At present, relevant departments are accelerating the revision of the industry catalogue encouraging foreign investment, so as to make the country’s business environment more market-oriented, and improve its the rule of law and internationalization.
“It usually took one or two working days for customs officials to check our products at our plant, but now the procedure has been moved online and only needs half an hour,” said Xie Yicai, head of a high precision thermoregulation enterprise in Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong province.
Quan Yongliang, the finance supervisor of an agricultural machinery leasing firm in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province, said he finished company registration in just two hours.
During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, China has largely reduced administrative approvals, comprehensively reformed business system, and optimized administrative services. As a result, the time needed for administrative affairs was shortened, and market vitality enhanced.
According to statistics, China had 87.05 million market entities as of the end of 2016, and the figure reached 123 million last year. By the end of July, the number of registered market entities in China had hit 132 million, with 64,000 being newly added each day in the first seven months this year.
Informatization and intellectualization have offered strong support for China to improve its business environment. Twenty-five port administrations are now connected with each other and share information under the “single-window system” for foreign trade, covering all ports around the country. In July this year, the country’s import clearance time reached 38.5 hours, and export clearance time 2.2 hours, 60.4 percent and 82.2 percent lower than those in 2017, respectively.