On 11 October 2023, the EU SME Centre and the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China co-organised the SME Shanghai Government Dialogue with over ten government officials and 20 SMEs. The event, hosted by the European Chamber Shanghai Chapter, provided an opportunity for European SMEs to connect with Chinese local government and to deepen engagement, network and exchange experiences with other SMEs operating in China.
Understanding the regulatory environment and building trust
In an era marked by economic instability and fluctuating financial markets in China, SMEs find themselves at a crossroads. The Chinese government has released policies and regulations to support foreign SME development. By deepening their understanding of the regulatory environment and strengthening trust between enterprises and local government, SMEs can secure additional wins for their business development.
A key step for success is to gain access to the local government in order to be able to fully leverage the resources available. This was facilitated during the event by the guest speakers who outlined key information SMEs should be aware of as well as the support SMEs could access from local government departments.
Dr Jin Tieying, Professor and Director of the Policy Research Division of China International Cooperation Association of SMEs (CICASME), presented recent revisions in SME related-policies to foster a better business environment for SMEs. He emphasised that this goal remains a top priority for Shanghai going forward.
Support policies and feedback from SMEs
Mr Xue Feng, President of the Shanghai Foreign Investment Development Board, recognised SMEs as a crucial pillar for stabilising economic growth and as critical innovation drivers. He explained that Shanghai offers services for SMEs such as financial support through especially allocated funds, a one-stop online platform for policy related services, and enhanced resources for enterprise development.
Mr Xiao Yang, Tax Service Consultant for 12366 Shanghai (international) Taxpayer Service Centre, gave an overview of the recent and upcoming tax developments relevant to SMEs. For example, the VAT for small tax payers (with a monthly revenue under RMB 100 000) has been reduced from 2% to 1% until 2027. The upcoming full digitalisation of invoice services will also be good news for SMEs, as it will reduce the costs of buying specialised equipment as well as the environmental impact.
Another key step is to learn from the experiences of others to understand the SME business landscape. Mr Carlo Diego D’Andrea, Vice President of the European Chamber and Chairman of the Shanghai Chapter, shared his insights as an SME owner operating in China in his keynote speech. He also emphasised the importance of continued government dialogue and transparency in SME-related policies.
The panel discussion continued on this theme, focusing especially on how SMEs can leverage this knowledge for sustainable growth and innovation. Moderated by Ms Ester Cañada Amela, Advocacy Manager at the EU SME Centre and European Chamber, the panel included representatives from SMEs who discussed their own experiences. Panellists included Ms Zipei Xu, National Vice Chair of the European Chamber’s Environment Working Group, as well as Marketing and Communication Manager at PowerCell Fuel Cell(Shanghai)Co.,Ltd; Mr Michael Kruppe, CEO and General Manager of Shanghai New International Expo Centre Co., Ltd; and Ms Nathalie Ieong, Expertise/Operations Manager at Terao Asia.
For more information on SME-related policies
For more information on the policy environment for SMEs in China and the support available to European SMEs, read the latest Policy Environment Report published by our Advocacy Platform. Stay informed of upcoming advocacy events for SMEs with the Inter-Chamber Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Forum.