Shanghai free-trade zone

Shanghai pledges to slash red tape on business creation

New online platform to be in place by end of the month, meaning new businesses will only need to go to ‘one window’, as government departments share data to facilitate more seamless procedures

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2018, 8:17am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2018, 8:17am

The Shanghai authorities say they are cutting business red tape, including slashing the time needed to launch a new company, in an attempt to give the eastern commercial powerhouse an edge in wooing more international trade and investment.

Officials told a news conference on Monday they will launch a new online platform by the end of this month, which will allow the time to complete some regulatory procedures, for instance, in just six days, down from the current 22 days.

The head of the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission Ma Chunlei said the city was ramping up the pace of its business reforms in line with the World Bank’s latest “Doing Business 2018” report, released last October.

Previously, setting up a business in the city needed several governmental bodies to be involved – including the tax, administrative and commerce bureaux, and the police – all of which had their own regulatory procedures and formalities.

But with the new platform in place, new businesses will only need to go to “one window”, said Ma, with those various entities set to work closer together, sharing data to facilitate more seamless procedures.

Businesses will have “the final say” on whether the planned reforms are being effective or not, Ma added, and looking ahead the city will also set up a designated office to further fine-tune its business-related processes.

The Shanghai government is due to hold talks in the city this week with China’s finance ministry and representatives of the World Bank on sharing regulatory lessons learned from around the world.

The world’s second largest economy, China was listed 78th of 190 major destinations covered by the Doing Business 2018 report, which measures the ease of doing business based on a series of measurements including gaining construction permits, getting electricity connected, registering property, paying tax and enforcing contracts.

New Zealand was ranked top, with Hong Kong and the US coming in fifth and sixth, respectively.

Shanghai reported economic growth of 6.9 per cent last year, according to data from its own statistics bureau.

More than 350,000 new companies were registered in the city in 2017, a 1.9 per cent annual rise, of which 8,020 were funded from overseas, a 2.5 per cent fall on 2016.