The World Bank has given a strong thumbs-up on Shanghai’s progress in cutting red tape and introducing reforms to improve the business environment over the past year.
The findings in the bank’s latest global assessment are of great significance and further highlight the soft power of Shanghai in the competition among global cities, the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission said Thursday.
“A more international, law-based and convenient business environment is of great importance in boosting market confidence,” said a commission spokesman. “This confidence comes from the predictability for larger enterprises with respect to the freedom of operation, as well as the effectiveness of the deepening the administrative reform of the government in streamlining administration, delegating power, strengthening regulation and improving service.”
China now ranks 46 out of the 190 countries and regions ranked in the World Bank report released late Wednesday, up from 78 last year. As China’s business capital, the bank gives Shanghai a weighting of 55 percent and Beijing 45 percent.
It says Shanghai has made remarkable progress in developing an international, law-based and convenient business environment.
The report says the number of procedures required to start a business in the city has been cut to four from seven and the processing time shortened from 22 days to nine.
The steps for a business to obtain a permanent electricity connection for a newly constructed warehouse has been reduced from five to three, the average time required slashed from 145 days to 34, and the cost for small and micro users cut from 192,000 yuan (US$27,641) to nothing.
Procedures for construction permits have been reduced from 23 to 19, the processing time from 279 days to 169.5, and the cost from nearly 200,000 yuan to 70,000.
From January to September this year, a total of 307,811 market entities were set up in the city, up 13.9 percent year on year. On average 1,333.5 new enterprises were set up each day, an increase of 12.97 percent year on year.
And the number of new foreign-funded projects, contractual foreign investment and actual foreign capital all grew in the first nine months.
Since entering the new era, the city has thoroughly deepened its reform and opening-up and has scored well in many internationally recognized evaluations.
Shanghai ranked ninth in the Globalization and World Cities Research Network survey, fifth in Long Finance’s Global Financial Centres Index, and fourth in the Global international Shipping Center Index.
“The business environment can always be better,” the commission said.
For the next step, Shanghai will aim to further develop the business environment to be the most convenient for trade and investment, to have the highest administrative efficiency, the best regulated services and management and a perfectly optimized legal system.