China to cut e-commerce red tape, back entrepreneurship and ease market access

New State Council guidelines are third time in a week that central authorities have promised to nurture growth of online businesses amid the economic downturn

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 May, 2015, 1:00pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 May, 2015, 1:01am

The State Council has pledged to help the development of e-commerce by cutting red tape, supporting entrepreneurship, and easing market access.

New e-commerce guidelines were published in a paper released by China’s cabinet on Thursday night – the third time in a week central authorities have promised to nurture the growth of online businesses amid the economic downturn.

The move came as Premier Li Keqiang made a tour of Zhongguancun, Beijing’s high-tech business hub, to applaud innovation and encourage entrepreneurship.

The State Council paper promised to abandon strict registry requirements for e-commerce businesses, encourage more venture capital to enter the sector, reduce share-holding restrictions on foreign investments and lower the tax burden.

It also plans to reduce logistical costs, strengthen financing and infrastructure, and turn bricks-and-mortar stores into click-and-mortar – both online and offline – platforms.

The government also aims to increase consumer confidence in e-commerce by improving consumer rights, cracking down on online fraud, increasing security, and improving legal protection.

Last year, Chinese consumers purchased online goods and services worth 2.8 trillion yuan (HK$3.5 trillion) – an increase of 49.7 per cent compared with 2013, said China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

China’s Alibaba, the world’s biggest e-commerce group, posted a 45 per cent year-on-year increase in its quarterly revenue to US$2.81 billion on Thursday, as the company announced that Daniel Zhang, its chief operating officer, would become chief executive on Sunday.

On Thursday, Li paid a visit to the physics institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Beijing, where he pledged to further increase spending on research to turn “Made in China” to “Created in China”.

He also toured Inno Way, a 300-metre long start-up street in Haidian district with more than 12,000 technology companies, to toast entrepreneurs for helping to generate mass employment in China.

On Wednesday, the State Administration of Taxation urged local tax departments to ensure proper implementation of relief policies already announced for new start-ups.

It also ordered tax officials across the nation not to carry out tax assessments and checks on small and innovative companies.

Last week, the State Council said flexible tax breaks would be provided to businesses hiring people who had been out of work.