SHENZHEN -- Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) deserve more support from the central government, business experts said in Shenzhen on Tuesday.
"We show great respect to the world's top 500 companies, but we should realize that it's the development of SMEs that could ultimately decide our economic success," Long Yongtu, secretary-general of the Boao Forum and former vice-foreign trade minister, said at a forum to discuss the development of a central business district in Shenzhen.
"The majority of SMEs are privately owned, but unless the government ends its discrimination against the private sector and gives firms fair treatment, they won't be able to develop into what we expect," Long said.
Following a tour of small firms in Guangdong province last month, Premier Wen Jiabao urged local governments to readjust and improve policies to support SMEs, which play a crucial role in "promoting economic growth, increasing fiscal revenue, providing jobs and maintaining social stability".
According to the China Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs contribute 60 percent of China's GDP but account for less than 25 percent of total bank loans and receive fewer resources from the government.
Li Yining, a top economist with Peking University, agreed that governments should help SMEs during the current difficult times, especially to reinforce their confidence and identity.
Governments should encourage large firms and investors to buy shares in SMEs that show potential, he said.
Small- and medium-sized enterprises are a key part of Shenzhen's hi-tech industry, and the local government should pay more attention to regional industrial development and try to attract high-end firms to the city, Li said.