Beijing implements policies to support SMEs amid outbreak

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On Feb. 5, Beijing released 16 policies to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. The policies include rent reduction, tax deferral, subsidies for research and development costs, increased financing, a new hotline service, and so on.

The 12345 hotline has been proved particularly useful recently. Companies can learn the details of these policies and get answers for their appeals quickly. For some, the response time could be as short as less than one hour.

The hotline was launched last October, but the number of inquiries has increased significantly since the epidemic, according to the hotline’s on-site director Jin Xiaomei. Currently, 80% of the 200-plus calls it receives every day are about the policies.

Hotline operators are also transferring complicated and difficult questions from companies to government organizations with relevant authorities or expertise. They would then follow up with the companies on whether their issues are solved, and conduct surveys on their satisfaction. The problems of the companies can usually get resolved within three days, Jin said.

Companies can learn the details of the policies and find the contact information of some related government organizations on To quickly respond to their needs, the government organizations have designated personnel familiar with the policies to stand by for calls.

“The 16 policies are of timely help and reassure owners of SMEs like me,” said Niu Bin, founder of a Zhongguancun firm Multi-Mechanism Tech. His company, along with around 100 SMEs and their service providers, received an exemption of 50% of its rent in February as per the new policies.

Niu said he appreciates not only the opportunity to save costs, but also the city’s show of concern for SMEs. With confidence boosted, he made a decision with his partners not to make any layoffs in response to the outbreak.

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