The skyline in Pudong, Shanghai. Photo: Wikimedia commons/Ermell

Chinese authorities have increased efforts to extend financial support to major foreign-funded firms to lower their fund-raising costs and help them weather the Covid-19 economic fallout.

Major foreign-funded companies should get equal access to some financing programs as their Chinese counterparts, according to a circular released jointly by the Ministry of Commerce and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.

According to the circular, major foreign-funded companies are also eligible for a re-lending and rediscount quota of 1.5 trillion yuan (US$229.5 billion) from the People’s Bank of China.

Meanwhile, 570 billion yuan worth of new loans from the Export-Import Bank of China could be used to support qualified major foreign-funded enterprises to offer them diversified and comprehensive financial support.

Local government agencies must timely address financial services-related problems that foreign-funded companies face and promote cooperation between foreign-funded companies and financial institutions.

Major foreign-funded companies include but are not limited to those in electronic and telecommunication equipment sectors, medical devices, automobiles and garment manufacturing. They also include companies related to trade and services, such as wholesale, travel and elderly care, which have operational challenges, according to the circular.

Enterprise income tax

The Ministry of Finance and four other ministries and commissions in China have issued an announcement, pointing out that IC design, equipment, materials, packaging, testing and software enterprises will be exempted from enterprise income tax from the first year to the second year, and the enterprise income tax will be reduced by half according to the statutory tax rate of 25% from the third to the fifth year.

Key integrated circuit design enterprises and software enterprises encouraged by the state shall be exempted from enterprise income tax from the first year to the fifth year from the profit-making year, and the enterprise income tax shall be levied at a reduced rate of 10% in successive years.

Chang’e 5

China’s space agency will cooperate with other countries, based on the principles of fairness and shared benefits, with regard to the lunar soil samples collected by Chang’e 5, the China National Space Administration said on Thursday.

Xu Hongliang, a spokesman for the administration, said at a news briefing hosted by the State Council Information Office that it is the first time in 44 years that humanity has retrieved soil samples from the moon, so many space agencies around the world are paying close attention to the feat.

Many foreign space agencies have sent congratulatory letters to China and expressed their wish to conduct joint research.

Wu Yanhua, the deputy director of the China National Space Administration, said China was willing to conduct friendly and sincere cooperation with the United States, but NASA and other official agencies from the US have been prohibited from collaborating with their Chinese peers since 2011.

Citywide railways

China will work to accelerate the development of urban and suburban railways in metropolitan regions, according to a circular issued by the General Office of the State Council on Thursday.

Preferred candidate areas for construction of the railways include the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the Yangtze River Delta, the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle and the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, and others eligible in financial standing, passenger traffic and development needs.

For new lines on citywide railways, one-way journeys should take no more than an hour, with designed speed falling between 100 and 160 kilometers per hour, and the average distance between stations no less than 3 km. And the interval between two trains during morning and evening rush hours should not exceed 10 minutes.

Environment-friendly measures in construction projects should be aligned with requirements for ecological and environmental conservation, and railways should be built on the ground as much as possible, the circular said.

Power demand

China has reported spikes in electricity demand amid steady economic recovery and lower temperatures since December, according to China’s economic planner on Thursday.

The electricity supply stress mainly hit central China’s Hunan Province and east China’s Jiangxi Province, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement, noting that residents are not affected in most areas and the overall electricity supply is stable.

In the first 10 days of December, Hunan saw its electricity supply, generated or received from the outside, up by 19.8% year on year, with the maximum electricity load in winter setting a record.

In the same period, Jiangxi’s power supply climbed by 18.4% year on year, with its maximum power consumption load reaching a record high, beating the previous record set in the summer.

The economic planner attributed the stress to the economic recovery since the provinces both registered higher growth rates in value-added industrial output than the national average between January and November.

Company news

Huawei Technologies, a Shenzhen-based telecommunication equipment maker, has chosen the Business Park in the city of Brumath in France’s Northeast Grand-Est region as the venue for its first manufacturing plant in Europe, the global telecom leader and the local authorities of the French region announced in a joint statement released on Thursday.

The plant, with an investment of 200 million euros (US$245 million), will create initially 300 jobs and 500 jobs in the long term. It aims to produce one billion euros worth of mobile network technology solutions for Huawei’s European customers per year, said the statement.

The stories were compiled by Nadeem Xu and Shan Hui and first published at

Xu Yuenai is a Beijing-based columnist specializing in international relations.