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January 17, 2012

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City unveils new initiatives to support SMEs

SHANGHAI is to launch new initiatives and expand existing schemes to help the city's 337,000 small and medium enterprises, officials said yesterday.

The city will help SMEs that are individually too small to issue bonds to band together and do so, officials told the Shanghai People's Congress.

Subsidies of up to 3 million yuan (US$476,190) will also be provided for business-related services, and improved information services offered, they added.

Shanghai SMEs, many of which are high-tech and service firms, contribute 50 percent of tax and 60 percent of revenue of all local firms.

These initiatives follow lawmakers' concerns over the difficulties SMEs face with financing and obtaining information.

Speaking at the congress last week, deputies - some of whom head SMEs - called for tax cuts, additional methods of financing and improved efficiency in government bureaus and supporting services.

"We know the concerns clearly and are going to take action to address them," Shanghai SME Development Coordination Office Deputy Director Song Xiaohui told Shanghai Daily.

"We will provide more services in finance, information publishing and other areas," said Song, whose office is authorized by the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Information Technology Development.

Under the bills for collection initiative, between two and 10 SMEs - individually too small to issue bonds - can do so collectively to attract investor institutions.

And the government will provide special subsidies for legal and evaluation services of up to 3 million yuan for an SME - especially firms which want to go public, Song added.

Meanwhile, the economy and IT development commission has opened an e-government platform to answer inquires from SMEs.

All answers will be delivered within 15 working days, said the commission.


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