Huge incentives for entrepreneurs to launch startups

By Yuan Shenggao (China Daily)


A residential community has been developed in Taiyuan to offer housing to young entrepreneurs. [Photo by Wu Jia for China Daily]

After graduating from Datong University in Shanxi province, Zhang Jiaming, a native of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, decided to start his own business in the city of Datong.

Zhang and his four friends started a small company called Geeker Space Technology last year, designing and developing circuit products for larger companies.

Zhang decided to stay in Datong because of the incentives for entrepreneurship offered by the city. He and his friends' apartments and offices are provided for free.

Datong is not alone in offering incentives for entrepreneurship.

In a residential community of the Shanxi Transformation and Comprehensive Reform Demonstration Zone in the provincial capital of Taiyuan, a total of 626 apartments have been offered to entrepreneurs who started businesses in the zone.

In recent years, Shanxi prioritized attracting talented, innovative professionals to transform its economy. It highlights a shift from the province's reliance on the coal industry to an economic diversification featuring multiple growth drivers, especially the emerging, high-tech industries.

The incentives for entrepreneurship offered by various levels of governments in Shanxi include tax exemptions, free housing or housing subsidies, assistance in access to loans and subsidies for entrepreneurship, as well as awards to outstanding entrepreneurs.

In Datong, the city has established a special entrepreneurship base called Huizhi Innovation Town. It is for young professionals like Zhang to incubate and start their businesses.

Since its establishment in August 2020, Huizhi Innovation Town has attracted more than 1,000 young professionals to start their companies.

They are all provided with free housing, according to officials in Datong. There is still plenty of room for newcomers in the years to come. There are 58 apartment buildings offering free housing to entrepreneurs, as well as office buildings offering studios for free.

"We have planned to build more such facilities for young professionals, making Huizhi Innovation Town and the whole of Datong a favored destination for entrepreneurship and innovation," said Yang Hefen, an official in Datong's employment and human resource service center.

When commenting on Datong's incentives for entrepreneurs, the city's former mayor Wu Hongwen cited a Chinese proverb. He said: "We are planting parasol trees to attract phoenixes."

In Chinese legend, parasol trees are the favored habitat of phoenixes. In his quotation, the mayor expressed he expects to create a favorable business and living environment for entrepreneurs and professionals alike.

Wu Jia contributed to this story.