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April 2, 2020

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Business e-licences, seals streamlined

Shanghai’s market watchdog cut red tape for enterprises in the city yesterday by introducing synchronous issuance of electronic operating licenses and seals amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The e-versions of licenses and seals have the same legal power as physical licenses and seals,” said Chen Xuejun, director of the Shanghai Administration for Market Regulation.

Previously, companies were allowed to apply for electronic seals only after they received physical licenses and seals, which are mandatory in order to operate a business.

Applicants were also required to present original paper licenses, as well as copies, before they could get an e-version of their seal, said Chen.

“Now, electronic licenses and seals are automatically generated when a company’s business operation is approved, and they can receive both at the same time via mobile phone,” said Chen.

The electronic versions can be downloaded via WeChat, Alipay or the Suishenban app, Shanghai’s one-stop platform for government affairs.

“Enterprises can sign contracts and conduct business operations online with their electronic licenses and seals,” said Chen.

They can also apply for registration, publicize their annual reports, handle tax and social insurance affairs online with the e-licenses and seals.

“The new measure is a reform and breakthrough in the business environment system, and improves government affairs services,” said Chen. “It is another step forward toward paperless business.”

Three Shanghai companies were the first to receive the e-licenses and seals yesterday.

“It’s very convenient with simple clicks online,” said Chen Jin, from the Yanxin Gardening Decoration Co Ltd, “which is particularly good amid the epidemic.”

Chen has already registered three companies.

“When I applied for a business operating license for one of my companies in 2012, I needed to visit different government authorities in Songjiang District to apply for tax affairs, a seal and a license,” he said.

“It involved at least seven to eight visits and sometimes I needed to visit again due to insufficient materials. It took me more than 10 working days to have everything arranged.”


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