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China announces measures to boost support for small, private businesses

China plans to step up support for the private sector, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, in a bid to boost market confidence, a State Council meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided Dec. 24.

The council announced a series of measures to support a fair business climate, calling for equal treatment of businesses of all types and sizes. It also vowed to remove minimum registered capital requirements and all limitations on the equity structure of private firms, as long as they invest in resources development, transportation and public utilities.

In addition, the council would support technological innovation, while rolling out additional fee and tax cuts. The country will also improve policies on reserve requirement ratios to further support the private sector, which primarily comprises SMEs.

Separately, Sheng Songcheng, an adviser to the People's Bank of China, said China may consider further lowering its reserve requirement ratios, which are high compared to others in the world.

Meanwhile, private firms' listing and refinancing processes will be expedited.

More than 80% of urban employment comes from the private sector, which generates more than 60% of GDP and more than 50% of tax revenue, the state council said.

The Chinese central bank plans to provide cheaper liquidity to domestic lenders to support financing for small and private businesses. Following the conclusion of the Central Economic Work Conference on Dec. 21, China pledged to cut taxes and fees and implement a "prudent" monetary policy in 2019.