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Pro-market reforms expected at CPC session

Updated: 2013-11-05 13:07

China's key strategy-setting meeting, the 3rd plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China's central committee starts next week in Beijing. BizAsia's week long special coverage kicks off with a look at China's efforts to improve the business environment.

CCTV reporter Yin Hang shows us what it used to be like to start a business in China--and how it will be in the future.

Johan Bjorksten now manages over 300 people in 5 Chinese cities. But he still can't forget the time when he had to line up outside the bureau of industry and commerce to start his business, 18 years ago.

"Wild east, I spent almost 30 days to get my first business license. It's almost a full time job for a couple of weeks for me to get the license," he said.

The complex paperwork and procedures had put many investors off. But reforms that began in 1988 have seen the government back off from meddling in business. There have been four streamline moves.

"Easier, simpler and the rules are getting clearer than before," he said.

Chinese government has pledged to cut red tape but free up about one third of the items that are originally grasped by the government. And Premier Li Keqiang has reiterated the importance of the market as the creator of social wealth and the origins of the self-sustained economic development.

The government has also cancelled or delegated power to lower levels for 183 items previously subject to central approval.

"Certainly China has progressed a lot and has become very supportive to business community. For us, we obviously remember the old days when simple things could takes so long times. If you look at Shanghai today,it's a very efficient international city," said Andrew Au, CEO of Citibank, China.

Transforming the role of government in the economy, is a key part of the plenary session discussions.

"The government should further streamline administration and delegate power to the lower level on various sectors, so that the market can play a bigger role. And the government should turn more to post supervisions from the current prior approval mechanisms, in order to strengthen China's administrative efficiencies," said Lian Ping, chief economist of Bank of Communications.

The Shanghai Free Trade Zone is another example of the government making it easier to do business in China. For business people like Johan, the only wait they should put up with--is for business to come in.

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