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Qingdao launches policies to boost SMEs amid virus outbreak

(chinadaily.com.cn) | 2020-02-04

The Qingdao municipal government on Feb 3 rolled out new policies to boost support for the development of the eastern port city's small and medium-sized enterprises, which could be hit by the current coronavirus outbreak, local officials said.

According to the SME policy document, the Qingdao government will launch 18 new policies regarding several aspects, such as recruitment, tax breaks and financing support.

The Qingdao government will take measures to slash the social insurance payment burden of local firms and employ various official recruitment channels to secure full employment, according to the document.

Local enterprises can also apply for tax reductions or exemption benefits in accordance with the regulations.

Officials said that a new set of measures will be launched to ease the financing difficulties of SMEs, such as using credit policy tools, encouraging financial institutions to increase credit to SMEs and encouraging banks to increase lending to smaller businesses.

Since its outbreak and spread, the novel coronavirus has aroused concerns in society. Reduced transportation and consumption, resulting from fears of the infectious epidemic, will inevitably have an impact on economic growth, some people worry.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Qingdao private economy development bureau involving more than 600 local enterprises, the impact of the viral outbreak on enterprises will likely be concentrated in reduced orders from both domestic and international markets, labor shortages, impeded logistics and capital shortages.

The survey showed that at present, local enterprises said they were under great pressure in their fixed expenditure on production and operations and they expressed a desire for policy support at this challenging time.

Officials said the vast majority of enterprises participating in the questionnaire expressed their confidence in the resilience of China's economy, saying that the epidemic will have only a "temporary impact" on economic development.