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Shanghai plan for first-rate business environment releases 7th edition

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chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: February 19, 2024

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A view of the Huangpu River in Shanghai. [Photo/VCG]

Shanghai's action plan to create an international first-rate business environment has been further downsized to 150 tasks and measures, aiming to further upgrade the market capacity and realize more institutional achievements, according to the latest version released on Feb 18.

The new action plan has come to the seventh edition this year, with the previous version including 208 entries. According to the Shanghai Municipal Development & Reform Commission, the newly released action plan has included the key matters over which companies and the market have expressed the most concerns while excluding the government's internal jobs. The purpose is to make the plan more comprehensible and let companies truly feel the improvements in the business environment.

Focusing on companies' development demands, the new plan will better address the problems inflicting enterprises for a long time, including property rights protection, market-entry, fair competition, protection of interests and complaints settlement.

For example, the municipal government will better guide companies to use the mode integrating quick administrative revision and the online enterprise resource planning network to submit international trade companies' duty-free applications. The city will also set up a standardized coordination platform for foreign-invested companies so that major foreign-invested projects can be landed in the city at a faster pace.

The "five-star" card for expatriates with permanent residency in China should explore more application scenarios in Shanghai, according to the Shanghai Municipal Development & Reform Commission.

The new action plan has referred to the Business Ready, the new business environment evaluation methodology that the World Bank updated in May.

As officials from the Shanghai Municipal Development & Reform Commission explained, the efficiency of dealing with various business-related matters is already quite high in Shanghai thanks to the previous six editions of the action plan. The room for further shortening the time will get marginally smaller. Therefore, further improvements in the business environment should be measured in other dimensions, they said.

Shanghai managed to complete all the 208 tasks and measures raised in the 2023 action plan. According to the Shanghai Municipal Development & Reform Commission, the city launched China's first online company registration platform in late May that covers the whole registration cycle, serves all types of businesses and works 24/7. More than 360,000 company establishment, changes and cancellation businesses were completed via the platform last year.

A total of 261,000 bills of lading were released via the blockchain-based digital lading platform at the Shanghai Port in the first three quarters of 2023, up 32 percent year-on-year and serving 776,000 TEUs. More than 110 billion yuan ($15.3 billion) of tax and fee reductions as well as tax refunds and deferrals were added in Shanghai last year. It has also set up nine one-stop digital platforms to resolve foreign-related business disputes in 2023, according to the Shanghai Municipal Development & Reform Commission.

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