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Premier’s call for mass innovation and entrepreneurship bears fruit

Updated: Aug 6,2015 4:35 PM

A wave of start-ups has swept China since an executive meeting of the State Council in October 2013 vowed to “mobilize social capital to support the start of small and innovative enterprises”.

Premier Li Keqiang first encouraged the public, especially the grass-roots population, to start their own businesses and innovate at the Summer Davos Forum in September 2014.

Guided by the national strategy of “mass innovation”, governments at all levels have issued a series of preferential policies to endorse innovative entrepreneurship in a bid to promote employment and drive development.

Interaction to support innovation

Since May 2013, the central government has released more than 22 documents, translated into concrete policies, to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. On the local level, many provinces have responded to the central government’s call by issuing supporting measures.

A large online event “Discovering Stars of Innovation and Entrepreneurship’’, supported by 13 government organs such as the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Education, has sought to build platforms for innovators to exchange ideas and facilitate originality through sharing experiences. So far, the activity has been held successfully in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hefei in Anhui province.

Beijing’s Zhongguancun, China’s equivalent of Silicon Valley, plans to pick 100 cities to establish “Zhongguancun Innovation Spaces”. The spaces will accommodate 1,000 leading enterprises, support 10,000 innovative enterprises and provide about a million jobs.

In Tianjin, the new policies regarding innovation have pledged to subsidize the founding of every innovation space to the tune of one million to five million yuan ($161,100-805,500). The government is also expected to provide policy consultation and financing services, and promote more than 100 such spaces by 2016.

Unique ability

The Anhui provincial government has also offered policy incentives to high-level specialists to start innovative enterprises in the province.

Among the 30 candidates for the selection of “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Stars” in Anhui province, one third have been engaged in creating businesses related to e-commerce and the Internet.

The “Internet Plus” model, combining the Internet with other industries, has taken up a large portion of all entrepreneurial initiatives because of its unique ability in driving up employment and creating value.

A youth business development park with a focus on e-commerce has created roughly 1,600 jobs for young locals and achieved an annual turnover of more than 1.5 billion yuan. Zhang Liaoyuan, an entrepreneur, started the Three Squirrels Electronic Commerce Company Ltd in 2012. Annual sales have now exceeded one billion yuan.

Creating business within the realm of the Internet has become inevitable along with the development of an economy based on a scientific approach and interaction, including a greater input of social capital.

The Premier mentioned the “Internet Plus” model four times during his six inspection trips to State-owned enterprises, financial intuitions and communities in the first half of this year.

In early July, the State Council released a guidance document on promoting “Internet Plus”, which included 11 key steps, 40 development tasks and 25 concrete measures. The paper will serve as a guideline to realize deeper integration of the Internet and various industries under the economic “new normal”, as well as a strategic blueprint for economic and social development in the next decade.