Reforms make business arena easier in province

By Yuan Shenggao (China Daily)


A drugstore owner is granted a certificate for selling medicines and medical equipment by the Jinzhong administrative service bureau. [Photo by Zheng Yanbo for China Daily]

Business owners in Shanxi are benefiting from an improved business environment in the wake of the province reforming its administrative service and streamlining approval procedures to raise efficiency in March last year.

Government institutions in Shanxi have continued their reforms in these fields throughout March this year by announcing further delegating business-approval powers and reducing the number of certificates needed for market access, according to local officials.

Guo Anxin, an official at the Shanxi Market Regulation Bureau, said Shanxi's current practice means "a business license is all that's needed to begin operations".

In the past, business owners needed to first obtain various certificates, including those for fire safety, sanitation and admissions for the sale of drugs and medical equipment before they could apply for a business license to start operating.

The old practice meant that a business would spend several months applying for certificates before they could get a business license and get their business moving.

"And now, businesses can begin operation upon acquiring a license, while other certificates can be dealt with afterward,"Guo said.

The official added the number of certificates has also been reduced as a result of "merging similar functions into one certificate".

"For instance, a drugstore needed to apply for certificates for medicine sales, medical equipment sales and health food sales in the past. And now it only needs one certificate for all those things," the official explained.

Taiyuan, the capital city of the province; Jinzhong, a city in central Shanxi; and the Shanxi Transformation and Comprehensive Reform Demonstration Zone are the three regions pioneering the reform for administrative services.

Lu Guibin, chief of the Jinzhong administrative service bureau, estimates that the time required for administrative approval procedures has been cut down by 85 percent over the past year since the reform was launched in the city.

"This means a saving of 4 million yuan ($616,000) in operational costs a year for startups in Jinzhong," Lu said.

Bai Wenyu, general manager of the Jinzhong branch of Shanxi-based drugstore chain Guoda Wanmin, said medicine and medical equipment dealers like his company are most pleased with the reform.

"Guoda Wanmin is a fast-growing company. We've been expanding by adding 100 outlets annually in recent years, with operations covering the entire province.

"The improved administrative efficiency and streamlined approval procedures have led to a substantial decrease in our operational costs," Bai said. "We are more optimistic about our development in the future."

Guo Anxin of the Shanxi Market Regulation Bureau predicted there will be a boom in entrepreneurship in the years to come due to the steadily improving business environment.

"We expect there will be a total of 4.5 million market entities in Shanxi by the end of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), compared with about 3 million in 2020," Guo said.

Meng Ting contributed to this story.