The global coronavirus outbreak has put the brakes on many centres of rapid innovation, but there is hope that their appetite for evolution will help China’s economic hotspots bounce back sooner than competing regions worldwide.
Since the outbreak of the virus, central and local governments have rolled out a series of supportive policies to help businesses affected by the pandemic. As the situation improves in China, normal lives are returning quickly and businesses are getting back on track.
In Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, administrators have acted quickly to secure the funding chain of the companies powering the regional economy.
Emergency unemployment insurance policies have also been rolled out along with more than Rmb37.7 million in subsidies, covering more than 4,000 employees in 18 companies. In terms of taxation, Zhengzhou Hi-tech has handled a total of Rmb243 million in 314 tax refunds since the beginning of the year.
Banks have extended credit, adjusted repayment schedules or lowered interest rates for various types of companies impacted by the public health crisis, and the zone’s administration is confident that, thanks to the support of the financial sector companies in the zone, it will come out of this crisis heathier and stronger than before.
Working with six banks, the zone has established a Rmb100 million emergency re-lending fund and received more than 70 applications for access, of which 15 have been successfully processed so far.
Four companies directly involved with Covid-19 outbreak prevention (Sanot, Tailong Pharmaceutical, Dahua Security and Chunquan Energy Conservation) have been loaned Rmb32 million in total, while during the virus outbreak’s peak, 11 banks issued a combined Rmb3.1 billion in loans across the zone.
Serving businesses proactively
In response to the outbreak, Zhengzhou Hi-tech Development Zone created a support response framework to address the varied needs of the businesses in the zone, whether it was in hiring, transportation, sales or financing.
With the help of the Zhengzhou municipal task force, the zone coordinated with regional and national governments to help resume production for 54 suppliers for Gree Electric Appliances – the world’s largest producer of home air-conditioners – and helped 167 companies regain access to raw materials supply and transportation services, including steelworks Mingtai Industrial and Tianhe Healthcare Materials.
Given the challenges of social distancing, the zone has championed online solutions to business problems, such as online roadshows for companies and connecting with banks and financial institutions. More than 600 people attended five online roadshows, which also received wide media attention, while an online database for 37,000 small and medium-sized enterprises has been created to provide support and means of access to financial institutions crafting stimulus packages.
The zone also coordinated the production of masks, sanitizers and gowns, and allocated 1.2 million masks and more than 100 tons of disinfectant for businesses, as well as providing 110 infrared thermometers at cost to shops and stores.
"Zhengzhou Hi-tech has handled a total of Rmb243 million in 314 tax refunds since the beginning of the year."
Making policies count
To ensure its polices are clearly communicated and effectively implemented, the administrative committee of Zhengzhou Hi-tech has set up a working team to oversee the policies, communicate them with business owners and send their feedback to various policy-making bodies.
The result is a compilation of 143 measures recorded in a booklet, with 13 categories such as tax relief, financing support and innovation support. In addition, the zone is championing the 20 measures from Henan province, 30 from the city of Zhengzhou and eight from Zhengzhou Hi-tech itself to ensure businesses clearly understand the way the region intends to overcome the challenges of coronavirus – steadily and safely.
More than 1,000 booklets have been sent to enterprises, while more than 26,000 businesses have been reached via social media. Online, more than 40,000 views have been recorded and three video streaming sessions attracted an audience of more than 5,000.
The zone’s efforts appear to be paying off, with 758 inquiries for assistance from 689 businesses seeing nearly an 80% success rate. Under the leadership of director Wang Xinting, the administrative committee says it will continue to improve, implementing supportive measures and helping businesses survive – and once again thrive – in Henan.