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UPDATED: October 9, 2014 NO. 41 OCTOBER 9, 2014
Cutting Out Red Tape
Small and micro businesses greatly benefit from the reform on government functions
By Zhou Xiaoyan

ON STANDBY: A staff member from the Administrative Service Center of Nanhai District, Foshan, Guangdong Province, introduces a self-service machine that individuals and businesses can use 24 hours a day to inquire or print relevant data, such as tax payment history and insurance information (ZHOU XIAOYAN)

Julong Group is a real estate developer based in Foshan, south China's Guangdong Province. Like any developer in the country, once it completes a residential project, it needs approval from the government on safety issues before it can be granted a sales license.

"Acceptance of completed projects used to take more than half a year and involve over 10 government departments. We had to address those departments one by one," said Jian Jingkai, an employee of Julong Group. "Now, an acceptance office has been formed to offer a one-stop service for developers."

The government promises to finish examination of application paperwork within five days, to offer on-the-spot safety examinations within five days and to release legal documents within three days. If the process is completed ahead of the promised deadline, a text message is sent to applicants so that they can go and collect legal documents as soon as possible, said Jian.

"It's faster, much easier and more convenient. It also greatly saves costs for property developers because letting a completed residential project sit idle for half a year means watching your money go down the drain," she said.

Chinese authorities are making efforts to streamline administrative approvals and delegate power to lower government levels, in a bid to leverage prevalent entrepreneurship and unleash the potential of small and micro businesses amid a slowing economy.

In addition, measures have been taken to make it easier to start a business in China, to help small and micro businesses get funded and to alleviate those businesses' tax burdens.

According to the latest announcement from the State Council, from October 1 to the end of 2015, companies with monthly sales of less than 30,000 yuan ($4,889) will be exempted from the value-added tax and business tax. The current benefits apply only to small businesses with monthly sales of less than 20,000 yuan ($3,260).

Faster and easier

Guangzhou-based Ruizhou Technology Co. Ltd. specializes in providing automation design and production solutions to clients including Nike, Adidas, FAW-Volkswagen, Benz and BMW. The company's sales revenue reached more than 40 million yuan ($6.52 million) last year.

"Previously, an administrative approval took at least a week and I had to go back and forth between many government departments," said Lan Meiqi, who works in the HR department of the company. "Now, it takes half a day to get those approvals, and I can book the service online. Also, the local government has a WeChat account and a Sina Weibo microblogging account to promote the latest preferential policies for small businesses online."

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