China's government is taking further measures to boost e-commerce, pinning its hopes on the sector as a new economic growth engine.
Its latest policy package is aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation and creating jobs.
Yesterday, the State Council announced policies that will encourage migrant workers, college graduates and discharged soldiers to return to their rural hometowns and start small businesses.
It promised to ease business registration procedures and allow these small businesses to enter rural infrastructure development and public services normally operated by the government. They will enjoy waivers or reduced taxes and administrative fees, be considered for government funds for agricultural development and be offered certain allowances.
The government also promised to introduce startups to private investors and to encourage state-run rural banks to provide loans.
Migrant workers, college graduates and retired soldiers have better contacts with the outside world than long-time farmers and may bring new business ideas and management experience to rural areas, the State Council believes.
They are being encouraged to engage in businesses such as farm produce, local handicrafts and tourism and use the Internet to promote their businesses. The government pledged to invest more in rural infrastructure, especially IT facilities, and to provide business training.
On Saturday, the State Council released a guideline to streamline customs procedures for e-commerce exports and imports, while quality supervision authorities will allow collective declaration, examination and release of goods.
The government will keep export taxes low while formulating import tax policies with the aim of increasing domestic consumption, promoting fair competition and strengthening import tax management, it said.
It will also encourage domestic banks and institutions to launch cross-border electronic payment businesses and advance pilot overseas payments in foreign currencies.
Chinese e-commerce firms will be given state financial support on international projects while credit insurance services will also be introduced.
The moves come as China's economy grows at its slowest pace in three decades and is seeking ways to shift its growth away from a dependence on manufacturing towards higher-value services.
Chinese e-commerce has been booming, with companies such as Alibaba benefiting from a rising middle class with more disposable income and from young people's preference for online shopping.
(Source: Shanghai Daily)
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