Workers in a high technology company in Harbin, Heilongjiang province. Photo: Xinhua

The State Council, China’s cabinet, has made arrangements to optimize the country’s business environment by streamlining administrative procedures and strengthening regulation.

A better business environment will further vitalize market entities, and play a crucial role in facilitating steady economic recovery amid complex situations, according to a statement issued Monday after a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

While reviewing the nationwide implementation of guidelines for improving the business environment, the meeting announced targeted measures to streamline administrative procedures, improve services and enhance regulatory effectiveness.

The meeting also passed the draft stamp tax law and the draft amendment to the regulations on grain circulation management.

Duty-free sales

Duty-free sales in China’s island province of Hainan grew 195.16% to 540 million yuan (US$83.6 million) during the three-day New Year holiday from the same period of 2019, Haikou Customs said.

Hainan’s offshore duty-free shops received some 76,000 customers and sold 669,000 products during the period, up 80.9% and 200% year-on-year, respectively.

From July 1, 2020, Hainan increased its annual tax-free shopping quota from 30,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan per person. The categories of duty-free goods have been expanded from 38 to 45, with some electronic products such as mobile phones and laptops added to the list.

Since the upgrade of the policy, duty-free sales hit 19.99 billion yuan by the end of 2020, up 191.6% year-on-year.

Manufacturing PMI

Manufacturing activity moderated in December amid slower expansions in output and total new work orders, according to a private survey of manufacturers.

The Caixin China General Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 53 in December, compared with 54.9 in November. The December figure still remained in expansionary territory by standing above the benchmark of 50, signaling a solid improvement in the health of China’s manufacturing sector, according to the survey.

The Caixin figure mirrors the manufacturing PMI data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, which saw the reading edge down by 0.2 percentage point to 51.9 in December from November.

Projects in Shanghai

Shanghai launched 64 new projects with a combined investment of 273.4 billion yuan on Monday, involving high-end industries, scientific and technological innovation, infrastructure, major livelihood and other fields.

The Shanghai municipal government said the projects will be spread across the city and will further unleash the city’s enormous development potential.

Shanghai’s economy has largely remained resilient despite the Covid-19 epidemic. Between January and November, its fixed assets investment increased 10.7% on a yearly basis while manufacturing investment rose 19.3%.

Company news

Chinese milk tea leader Nayuki announced on Monday that it had raised more than US$100 million in its latest round of financing, as the tea beverage market continued to boom amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new fundraising was led by PAG, one of Asia’s leading investment firms. It is the first time that PAG has invested in a tea beverage firm, as it used to invest in other sectors such as finance and technology.

The company said it will increase investment in product research and development and continue to deepen the supply chain and digital construction to provide consumers with better products and experience. It will also promote the establishment of industry standards in the new tea beverage industry.

SF Airlines, China’s largest air cargo carrier, has expanded its global network to 77 destinations at home and abroad, according to the cargo airline.

The company has extended the global air cargo delivery network to Asia, Europe and North America with improved services and service capacities, the cargo airline said.

The stories were compiled by Nadeem XU and KoKo and first published at

Xu Yuenai

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