The Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, together with the Beijing Municipal Commission of Planning and Natural Resources and the Beijing Municipal Administration for Market Regulation, released the Policy on Beijing's New Round of Reform to Improve the Business Environment on July 12th, unveiling the 3.0 version of the business environment reform policy which has received huge attention from enterprises.
In 2017, General Secretary Xi Jinping noted that Beijing and other megacities should take the lead in expanding business environment reform. The CPC Beijing Municipal Committee and the People's Government of Beijing Municipality has thoughtfully implemented arrangements made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council with the utmost importance. Aiming to enhance people and enterprises' sense of fulfillment and to make the business environment increasingly market-oriented, legal, and international, Beijing has carried out a series of reforms to improve the business environment in an innovative manner and has made marked progress and achievements by taking international rules and highest standards as benchmarks. According to the World Bank's Doing Business 2020, China has jumped to 31st place. As a sample city, Beijing has surpassed Tokyo, Japan with a score of 78.2 points, equivalent to 28th place, making positive contributions to the significant rise of China's business environment ranking and to the promotion of the new round of opening-up expansion at a higher level, and becoming an important guarantee for Beijing's high-quality development.
Over the past two years, the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee and the People's Government of Beijing Municipality have treated the optimization of the business environment as a top priority project. Under the arrangement, coordination and supervision of Beijing's major leaders, 56 government departments, and 16 districts across Beijing have closely worked together to complete the 1.0 and 2.0 version of reform tasks. Since June, Beijing has, after studying the principles and requirements of national video and audio conferences on deepening the reforms to streamline administration, delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services and improving the business environment, and taking into consideration of local conditions and views of all stakeholders, compiled and printed and released in the name of the General Office of the People's Government of Beijing Municipality the Key Tasks for Beijing's New Round of Deepening the Reforms and Improving the Business Environment, the 3.0 version of business environment reform.
I. Key Features of the 3.0 Version of Business Environment Reform
The business environment reform is an important effort to transform government functions, deepen the reforms, make it easier for firms and the public to make innovations and start businesses, unleash the vitality of market entities and promote high-quality development. It is also an important measure to promote the new round of opening-up at a higher level and to create an open, transparent, and predictable development environment for foreign-funded enterprises. The 3.0 version of reform embodies "three adherings": the first is to adhere to a people-centered development philosophy, helping enterprises and the public participate in and benefit from the reform; the second is to adhere to top-level design and expand and deepen the reform in a coordinated manner; the third is to adhere to active self-revolution and innovation to achieve new breakthroughs in key areas. The 3.0 version of reform has the following three key features.
Firstly, the 3.0 version of reform is more intensive and involves more contents and tasks. The 1.0 version in 2018 primarily centered on the 10 indicators assessed by the World Bank and focused on areas involved in the entire life cycle of enterprises. The 2.0 version launched in February this year expanded to cover main demands and problems raised by enterprises and the public. The 3.0 version aims to take demands of enterprises and the public as benchmarks and improve the business environment in a well-rounded manner. The 1.0 and 2.0 version released 191 reform measures, while the 3.0 version introduced 204 tasks concerning 12 aspects, encompassing a wider scope than the previous two versions.
Secondly, the reform will be more systematic, holistic, and coordinated. The 3.0 version aims to improve the business environment in a more comprehensive and in-depth manner. Firstly, the coordination between Beijing Municipality and its districts in implementing the reform will be further enhanced, with 198 tasks led by Beijing Municipality and 104 tasks by its districts. Then, the reform will be advanced more systematically and more holistically. We will focus on tackling issues and obstacles in the development of enterprises by fully meeting national requirements concerning the reforms and taking advanced international rules and best practices as benchmarks. Finally, we will not only let both enterprises and the public enjoy better access to government services, but also enhance the business environment reform in talents, education, health care, culture, and other public service sectors to achieve synergy.
Thirdly, the reform offers greater transparency and participation. In formulating reform tasks, we have solicited comments and suggestions from the public and all stakeholders through a variety of channels and methods. We have held 133 symposiums at which 1094 deputies of Beijing Municipal People's Congress, members of CPPCC Beijing Municipal Committee, corporate representatives, experts, and scholars have put forward 458 comments and suggestions which have been compiled into 70 targeted reform measures.
II. Main Content of the 3.0 Version of Reform
The goal of the 3.0 version of reform is to innovatively and vigorously advance the new round of the reforms and the business environment reform. The 3.0 version will strive to make new breakthroughs in seven areas, namely key procedures and difficult issues, "Internet Plus Government Services", comprehensive windows, "four increasings and one reducing", compliance oversight, smart government services, and rule of law. The 3.0 version mainly includes 204 tasks in 12 aspects, which will be arranged from three dimensions.
Firstly, we will conduct an in-depth implementation of national tasks concerning the reforms and comprehensively advance the 3.0 version of reform. Based on the Division of Key Tasks Formulated by National Video and Audio Conferences on Deepening the Reforms and Improving the Business Environment and the principles of "streamlining administration, delegating power, conducting impartial regulation, upgrading services and strengthening our readiness to shoulder responsibility," we will include 68 tasks related to local governments in the 3.0 version of reform. For some tasks, we have set higher standards. For example, the time needed to start a business is required to be shortened to less than three working days, and Beijing has cut that to one working day with one procedure; a dedicated website for corporate dis-registration is required to be established, and the 3.0 version will also include adjustment functions in the website; the time needed for gas users to apply and have relevant equipment installed is required to be shortened to less than 16 working days, and Beijing has cut that to less than 4 working days through providing the "three zero" service for micro and small projects, and the 3.0 version of reform will cut that to less than 8 working days, half the national requirement, for other projects.
Secondly, we will focus on weaknesses and key issues to advance the 3.0 version of reform in a targeted manner. The key to improving the business environment is to let enterprises and the public enjoy easier access to government services. Based on the 26 major problems raised by market entities and concerning approval procedures, financing, intellectual property protection, public bidding management and other areas, the 3.0 version of reform will roll out 101 targeted measures in 7 key fields. These fields include construction project approval, cross-border trade, intellectual property protection, and the public bidding system. In terms of construction permits, Beijing has taken the lead in cancelling and integrating approval procedures over the past two years, with procedures reduced by 22% and time shortened by 57%. The 3.0 version of reform will continue to improve government approvals by focusing on "cutting procedures and time", and to speed up the implementation in pilot sectors of the mechanism allowing investment projects to proceed on the basis of an undertaking submitted by enterprises to government.
Thirdly, we will focus on the sense of fulfillment of enterprises and the public and quickly advance the business environment reform. The satisfaction of enterprises and the public is the only indicator of the success of the reform. By adhering to the people-centered development philosophy and focusing on closely-related business functions such as financing, taxation, rule of law, government services, innovation, and entrepreneurship, the 3.0 version of reform will take 117 measures to enhance the sense of fulfillment of enterprises and the public. For example, Beijing has intensified its reform in "one website, one window, one door and one visit" over the past two years. As a result, 90% of municipality-level and district-level government services can be accessed online, over 70% of municipality-level government services can be accessed through a comprehensive window, 80% of municipality-level and district-level government services can be accessed in a service hall, and over 200 high-frequency matters can be processed "remotely" or "with one visit." The 3.0 version of reform will intensify efforts in "reducing permits, materials, time, visits, and increasing policy transparency." The municipality-level and district-level governments will respectively enable 600 high-frequency matters to be processed "remotely" or "with one visit," aiming to cut the average number of visits of enterprises and the public from 1.5 to less than 0.3.
Beijing has made unremitting efforts to advance the business environment reform over the past two years. Beijing began to formulate the 3.0 version of reform policy in June and will complete it in August. All districts and government departments have formulated the policies and implemented them immediately. As a result, 52 reform tasks have been accomplished to date. For example, the targets of streamlining administrative materials by 60 percent and reducing the time limit for administrative permits by 55 percent or more of the statutory time limit have been achieved.
Moving forward, Beijing will continue to advance the business environment reform with greater determination and courage, more practical measures, and more vigor to create a world-leading business environment. Such a business environment will not only boast the least and the most efficient approval procedures and the best services, but also provide the strongest sense of fulfillment to enterprises and the public, and offer more favorable conditions for enterprises in Beijing to develop better.