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China plans more steps to aid smaller companies

Cheng Yu and Ma Si
Updated: Nov 6,2018 7:04 AM     China Daily

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will increase the size of the total funds earmarked for the support of small and medium-sized enterprises, as part of its efforts to boost the development of private enterprises, a top official said.

Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology, said more steps will be undertaken to promote the national equity fund which supports the country’s SMEs, which account for 99 percent of the private companies.

“The ministry, along with others, including the Ministry of Finance, will beef up equity investments to early or seed-stage SMEs to drive their development,” he said.

Four such funds amounting to 19.5 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) have so far been put into operation. A total of 5.72 billion yuan has been invested in companies across a variety of industries including high-end manufacturing, new energy and new materials, as well as biological medicine, Miao said.

The remarks came after President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, called at a recent symposium to unswervingly encourage, support and guide the development of the nonpublic sector, and encourage private enterprises to develop further.

Noting that innovation and competitiveness are two key enablers of SMEs, Miao encouraged SMEs to focus on one specific segment and give it a full play.

“We aim to nurture 600 SMEs who have strong innovation capacities, who have a high market share, and who specialize in a certain niche,” he said.

Miao also pointed out that the ministry will further lower the threshold and welcome private capital in the telecommunications and defense sectors.

The ministry granted earlier this year licenses to 15 companies to run virtual telecom network services, which allow private companies to offer telecom services by piggybacking on the infrastructure of China’s big three State-owned telecom carriers.

A total of 42 companies, including Alibaba Group, Tencent Holdings Ltd and Xiaomi Corp, are running trial virtual network services. As of March, 18 companies have seen their user base exceed one million.

Wang Xiaolan, president of high-tech manufacturing company Time Group Inc, said that she welcomed the top authorities’ efforts to support private businesses.

Entrepreneurs from both China and abroad are on their way to transformation, during which private companies may indeed face challenges, she said.

“The latest efforts show the government’s efforts to address the bottlenecks facing private businesses,” she said.