Permalink 03:17:11 pm, by dacare, 520 words, 98 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

China speeds up introduction of property tax

As part of the plan to contain housing price, China vows to step up housing system reform and create a long-term market mechanism.

When and how a property tax will be levied has long been a public concern.

China's finance minister Xiao Jie has published his policy statement on People's Daily, the Communist Party of China (CPC)'s flagship newspaper.

What have been specified?

Xiao outlined that property tax will be levied on industrial and commercial properties, as well as personal residential houses, based on their "appraised value". He also suggested the legislation work would be completed by 2019, which would lay the foundation for its enforcement in as early as 2020.

Experts believe it has sent out signals for the speeding up of China's introduction of property tax.

"The article shows that the authorities now have clearer thinking on the levy of property tax, as substantial questions have been specified, especially how the taxes will be collected," said Yan Yuejin, senior researcher of the Shanghai-based E-house China R&D Institute.

Yan noted that "appraised value" means a comprehensive assessment of the original and current value of the property, while also taking into account affecting factors such as the real estate market situations and the price of similar property in surrounding areas. "It's a rather fair and reasonable way to do it," Yan added.

It would require the establishment of an appraising system by each city, according to Zhang Dawei, chief analyst of Beijing-based Centaline Property, a leading property agent company. In Xiao's article, he also confirmed that local governments would obtain enough authorization in the process.

"That means local governments are allowed to run pilot policies based on their specific circumstances, so as to map out practical schemes that suit local development," said Jiang Zhen, research fellow with Chinese Academy of Social Science, "and their experiences drawn from the pilot programs will become important reference for property tax legislation, which will be pressed ahead steadily."

Why is property tax put on China's legislation agenda?

"Housing is for people to live in, not for speculation," this has been the tone-setting slogan for China's real estate market since it was first brought up by Chinese president Xi Jinping on the Central Economic Work Conference in December 2016. The long-awaited property tax is a key measure to reduce the appeal of houses as speculative investment, and bring the development of China's housing market to the right direction.

China's property price has been rocketing for over a decade, partly due to Chinese investors' preference for houses as investment and the resulting speculations. Bloomberg estimated that 25 percent of China's housing demand is out of speculations.

At present, taxes are only levied when houses are bought or sold, which leaves multi home owners with no extra financial burdens. The planned introduction of property tax may not only deter future speculators, but also drive existing multi home owners to sell extra ones before the enforcement of the new tax, thus increasing housing supply in the market.

But it's all up to the release of further details on how the property tax will be rolled out step by step.

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Permalink 03:28:18 pm, by dacare, 420 words, 65 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

China to optimize business environment

The State Council made arrangements to optimize the business environment to stimulate market vitality and social creativity, at an executive meeting Wednesday.

Premier Li Keqiang, who chaired the meeting, called for universal use of a negative list of sectors and businesses off limits to foreign investment to control market entry.

Optimizing business environment would help productivity and competitiveness, he said.

The business environment is the foundation for developing a modern economy and ensuring high-quality development, the premier said.

Greater efforts should be made in streamlining administration, compliance oversight and offering better services. An internationally competitive business environment would have equal treatment for domestic and foreign enterprises and stimulate market entities and social creativity," he said.

China was ranked the 78th in ease of doing business, according to a 2017 report by the World Bank, up from the 96th place in 2013.

The government will cut red tapes, reduce taxes and slash fees for enterprises.

It was decided at the meeting that more efforts will be made to slash or cancel fees paid by enterprises, including operational and service fees and fees charged by sectoral associations and chambers of commerce. Costs for customs clearance will be lowered.

The government will further simply the procedures of administrative review and speed up approval procedures for business start-up, tax payments, application for construction permit and water, electricity and gas services, and real estate registration. The slashing of electricity price will also be a priority.

A new oversight mechanism characterized by integrity and information disclosure will be established at a faster pace. A unified punishment mechanism for breaches will be improved. An evaluation mechanism for business environment will be established, and rolled out nationwide over time. Special sectoral measures will be unveiled to facilitate the application for construction permits and cross-border trade.

"There is still much more that we can do to streamline administration, enhance compliance oversight and improve services. We should foster a more enabling business environment to incentivize a visible improvement in the ease of doing business for entrepreneurs, market entities and the general public," Li said.

A series of measures have been taken by the current government to cut red tape, reduce corporate burdens and improve the business environment. It has canceled or delegated administrative approval by the State Council bodies on 697 items, which account for 45 percent of the total.

The government also shortened the list of intermediary services for administrative approval by 323 items, or 74 percent of the total, and canceled professional qualification and certification requirements for 434 items, more than 70 percent of the total.

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Permalink 04:54:06 pm, by dacare, 311 words, 400 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

'Corporate service labs' to support startups in first three months

Shanghai's first "corporate service lab" has opened in a number of downtown districts to offer legal, financial and other support to local startup companies.

The service project, named "wehome LINK", was initially established in two major Dobe innovative parks in Changning and Jing'an districts as the first batch of "service labs" to serve hundreds of locally based startup firms in a trial operation.

Under the scheme, service providers such as law firms, human resource management companies, insurance providers and incubators will offer services to the small and medium-size enterprises for three months. The parks' operator will evaluate their performances and decide whether to retain or substitute them with better service providers.

This scheme will support a large swathe of startup companies under the government's mass entrepreneurship campaign, especially during the bottleneck period that most local innovative firms are undergoing.

"We found many young entrepreneurs, though they do have achievements in their fields, can hardly figure out many problems during the management and operation of their startup companies, such as share allocation, legal disputes and financial issues," said Jia Bo, chairman of Dobe Group, a major developer of local innovative parks.

"Some small and medium size companies don't even know how to apply for government subsidies that they are entitled to, and lost the opportunity to further develop," Jia said.

The first batch of seven service providers has entered the two innovative parks and begun serving startups on these issues. They include the Watson & Band law firm, online insurance company Qibao 360 and other service suppliers in print, office decoration, air purification and housekeeping.

Currently, most of the startup companies receive basic administrative services from incubators who merely help the entrepreneurs register their companies, pay taxes and apply for patents.

Most of the incubators neglected other more essential demands from startup companies, which hampered their development, according to mobile-Internet consultancy iiMedia Research.

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Permalink 02:21:42 pm, by dacare, 129 words, 272 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Shanghai aims to be global cultural, creative center by 2035

Shanghai municipal government said Thursday it will develop the city into a cultural and creative center with international influence by 2035.

According to a newly-issued document, which introduced 50 promotional measures, the added value of the cultural and creative industry will account for about 15 percent of the city's GDP in the next five years, and about 18 percent in 2030.

Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong said the cultural and creative industry is a pillar industry for Shanghai, and plays an important role in the city's development and the people's livelihood.

The document said Shanghai will become a global film and television production center, a performance capital in Asia, a global animation and game production base, a leader in domestic Internet culture and publication, an international creative design highland, and an international art trading center.

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Permalink 04:46:10 pm, by dacare, 476 words, 139 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Google to open China AI center

Customers try the Google Daydream VR at a Google pop-up shop in the SoHo neighborhood in New York City. The shop lets people try out new Google products such as the Pixel phone, Google Home, and Daydream VR

Amid the enthusiasm shown by the government and domestic technology companies for research and development of artificial intelligence, global technology giant Google announced on Tuesday the opening of its AI center in China.

Li Feifei, chief scientist of AI and machine learning at Google Cloud, announced the launch of the AI center during the Google Developer Day in Shanghai. Based in Beijing, the center will host a group of researchers supported by hundreds of engineers in the country.

The China AI center is the first of its kind in Asia. It will join similar overseas centers operating in New York, Toronto, London and Zurich.

Li will lead the center, which will focus on basic AI research. She said this is one of the first steps for Google to conduct long-term research in China.

"There are a large number of scenarios where AI technology can be applied in China. The talents here are also top-class if put in an international context," said Li.

Scott Beaumont, president of Google in China, expressed his confidence about the AI center, since he has witnessed the vibrancy of local developers and Chinese people's willingness to embrace new technologies, which is hardly found elsewhere in the world.

According to global market consultancy Roland Berger, China now ranks second globally in the quantity of AI enterprises, patent applications, and the scale of financing across the world, only next to the United States. It is expected that AI technology will create 10 trillion yuan ($1.5 trillion) in profits for related industries by the end of 2030.

Finance, automotive, medical and retail will be the four industries in China seeing the most benefits by adopting AI technology, according to Roland Berger.

Leading Chinese technology companies such as Baidu Inc, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd are making inroads into AI development in the form of self-driving cars, energy-efficient automobiles and educational equipment.

Simon Lance, managing director of global human resources company Hays in China, said that the AI sector faces a great shortage of candidates in China at the moment, since the country is "moving away from manufacturing and toward AI and robotics".

It is calculated by domestic online recruitment platform Zhaopin.com that the demand for AI talents in China has doubled so far this year, with the biggest demand for algorithmic engineers.

Regarding the rise and prospects of the AI industry in the country, the central government released the first number of national-level open innovation platforms for AI in November. AI technology has been used at Customs and procuratorates to seek innovation in different scenarios. Such adoption at the government administration level will be extended in 2018.

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Permalink 03:02:50 pm, by dacare, 185 words, 132 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Google to open AI center in Beijing

Global technology giant Google announced on Wednesday the opening of its artificial intelligence (AI) center in China during its second developers conference in Shanghai.

The new AI center will be based in Beijing. A small group of researchers supported by hundreds of Chinese engineers will be working there. Basic AI research will be the main area that the center will be focusing on.

Li Feifei, chief scientist of AI and machine learning at Google Cloud, will lead the research group of this new center. The center will seek cooperation with the local academia and other possible partners since China is one of the world leaders in AI technology development with ample supply of top talents in this area, she said.

"The center is a corporate-level effort. It is one of the first steps for Google to carry out long-term research in the Chinese market," she said.

The preparation for this center started in January. A number of Google's teams, such as the one for Tensor Flow - computation using data flow graphs for scalable machine learning, have taken part in the establishment of this center.

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