BEIJING Jan 16 China said on Thursday it will
take steps to boost bank lending and subsidies to small and
medium-sized businesses in labour intensive industries, many of
which are facing a tougher business environment.
A joint statement issued by nine government departments
outlined broadly how smaller firms would be assisted, but did
not give specifics on what kind of lending help will be
Among the bodies issuing the statement was the China Banking
Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Industry and
The statement said that the government would "develop
financial products and services fit for small- and medium- sized
firms in labour intensive industries and set loan rates
It also said export tax rebates and clearance of goods at
customs will be sped up to help small exporters.
China's small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account
for 60 percent of its gross domestic product and some 75 percent
of new jobs created in the country, but they are struggling to
cope with soft global demand.
Despite China's rapid credit growth, loans have become
harder to come by for small firms, as Chinese banks generally
prefer to lend to big, state-linked firms.
The industry and info-technology ministry said it would
encourage private investors to invest in labour-intensive
industries, and will ensure that tax breaks announced previously
for small companies are properly administered.
Scores of factories in China's manufacturing heartlands have
closed earlier than usual for the country's annual Lunar New
Year holidays at the end of this month, workers and owners
(Reporting by Xiaoyi Shao and Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Richard