China takes new steps to push mass entrepreneurship, innovation

Updated: 2015-06-16 19:42


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BEIJING - As China gears up to unleash the full potential of innovation, a powerful tool that could reverse the economic slowdown and help restructuring, it released a guideline on Tuesday.

The State Council, China's cabinet, publishes guidelines to inform the drafting and revision of policies and regulations. Tuesday's guideline was on supporting new businesses and facilitating innovation.

In addition to financial support and tax incentives, the guideline also suggested that governments at all levels to purchase innovation products and services from start-up companies to support their development.

The government plans to empower startups with bespoke rules relating to IPOs, bonds, and crowdfunding.

To file for an IPO, businesses must have turned a profit for the most recent two years and have posted accumulated profits of no less than 10 million yuan (about 1.6 million US dollars). For startups, this means filing for an IPO is out of their reach.

As such, plans for a new board, the strategic emerging industries board, at the Shanghai Stock Exchange are gaining momentum.

The Shanghai bourse is mulling relaxed criteria for listings on the new board, and the government will look into ways to allow the listing of Internet and high-tech companies that are still unprofitable on the ChiNext, the NASDAQ-style board.

Furthermore, the government called for policies to "let state-owned capital play a role in promoting mass entrepreneurship and innovation" by encouraging state-owned enterprises to "either take part in or establish venture investment funds" to provide funds for start-ups, according to the guidelines.

Banks should offer targeted financial products and more professional services.

Intellectual property rights will be protected and foreign investment will be given easier access to these new businesses, according to the guidelines.

More support will be provided to college students and those involved in research to establish startups.

The government has approved a slew of new measures to boost innovation and entrepreneurship, including financial support, facility construction and administrative assistance.

Economists at China's central bank lowered their growth forecast to 7 percent for 2015, from 7.1 percent previously.

Weighed down by a housing market downturn, weak domestic and external demand and stuttering local investment, the economy grew at its lowest rate in six years in the first quarter, expanding 7 percent.