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Shaanxi takes measures to promote investment, fight against poverty by Zhao Binyu,June 10, 2020 Adjust font size:

Special measures have been implemented in Shaanxi to help ensure that the enterprises located there are able to resume operations in an orderly manner after they were temporarily suspended as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and that impoverished residents are able to return to work in a safe manner in order to minimize the impact of the pandemic. Online sales platforms have been established for the purpose of helping impoverished farmers sell their products with the help of local officials, video conferences have been held to attract projects and investment, and other efforts have been made to promote poverty alleviation and overcome the complications that have been caused by the virus.

“The credit that is being extended is very helpful and timely,” exclaimed Chang Linke, a recipient of one of the loans for start-ups guaranteed by Shaanxi’s Fengxiang county human resources and social security bureau. His loan was 2.8 million yuan (US$395,920).

Chang runs a business that produces various kinds of packaging, known as the Changhong Plastic Color Printing Co. Ltd. The sudden COVID-19 outbreak had a great impact on its ability to maintain revenue. He eventually received an urgent order for a large quantity of packaging from acompany that produces face masks. Chang recalled: “I wanted to accept it but didn’t have money to purchase materials.” Fengxiang county human resources and social security bureau staff became aware of his situation and immediately started the audit procedure in order to assist him.

Vigorous efforts have been made to help businesses that are located in Shaanxi resume their operations while also engaging in COVID-19 prevention and control endeavors in order to achieve victories over both poverty and the pandemic since March.

Addressing issues faced by migrant workers and creatingjobs for the impoverished

Some enterprises inthe province are currently facing a shortage of staff as a result of the pandemic. A factory that produces water purifier componentsin Qianxian county, Xianyang citywas experiencing this problem recently. The government of the jurisdiction that it is located in took the initiative to promote its openings, and about 50 people applied for jobs. The manager of the factory stated: “The government helped us solve this urgent problem. We can function as long as we have enough people.”

A series of policies have been implemented in Shaanxi related to reducing and exempting rent, helping enterprises resume their operations as quickly as possible, assisting employees with the process of returning to work, and mobilizing poverty alleviation staff.

Ground has been broken on eight key projects involving 5.7 billion yuan (US$805.98 million) of total investment in Yaozhou district, Tongchuan city. Poverty alleviation staff in Danfeng county, Shangluo city established a liaison system to assist key enterprisesin addressing their 

difficulties resulted from the COVID-19 outbreak. They have also been providing advice and guidance, implementing tax reduction and exemption policies, making full use of special funds, and using credit funds in order to offer support. Rent was exempted from February 1 to April 30, 2020 for people living in government-subsidized housing in Xi’an. Pension, unemployment, and injury insurance requirements have also been temporarily reduced for enterprises located in the city.

Shaanxi Poverty Alleviation Office Director Wen Yinxue commented:“ Determining what impoverished people need, analyzing the impact of the pandemic on poverty alleviation, solving difficulties that prevent poverty-stricken people from going to work, clearing inventories, developing production, and helping poverty reduction projects resume their operations are the most important things that can be done right now.” Chartered planes, trains, and buses have been arranged in Shaanxi, which has helped to further some of these goals.Wen mentioned that 71 percent of the impoverished laborers from the province have returned to work so far. Nine flights, 24 trains, and 2,886 buses have been chartered in order to transport 89,000 laborers towork in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and other provinces, 12,000 of whom are impoverished.

Records indicate that 86,000 impoverished laborers have currently become employed in public welfare positions in Shaanxi. The Shaanxi Construction Engineering Group Co. Ltd. has resumed work on 1,200 projects and employs nearly 120,000 people. Arrangements have also been made for 610,000 impoverished migrant laborers from Shaanxi to return to work outsidethe province since March, or 71 percent of those who returned to their hometowns during Spring Festival, which is more than double the 32.9 percent who had been able to return before the efforts were made. Operations have resumed at 999 factories that were established for poverty alleviation purposes thus far, or 93.1 percent of such businesses in the province, which is more than triple the 28.8 percent that had come back online initially. Fifteen thousand five hundred impoverished people have been placed in positions associated with photovoltaic power stations that were established for poverty reduction purposes. Thirteen thousand one hundred people also gained employment in their local areas, which is 6.4 times more than the figure that existed previously.

Online platforms help impoverishedpeoplesell their products

On March 2, 2020, Gaoling district, Xi’an city’s poverty alleviation official Li Bin received a phone call from his colleague Wang Shaobo informing him that impoverished Mabei village, Geng town resident Wu Gaofeng was having difficulties selling 460 of his chickens as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A special task force was soon created for the purpose of helping poverty-stricken residents of the district who have been experiencing these kinds of problems. Its members first met with some of the people in this group in order to learn more about their goals and intentions. The team then harnessed local resources, created online sales platforms, and dispatched colleagues and volunteers to help with delivery and distribution.

Li explained: “Gaoling district launched a special initiative that allows people to subscribe to shipments of agricultural products produced by impoverished households in order to help people like Mr. Wu increase their sales channels and escape from poverty and encourage people to use it.”

We have been shipping more than 20,000 orders of kiwifruit every day since we resumed operations,” Shaanxi Xianyun Warehouse Science andTechnology Co. Ltd. President Wang Hongyan noted. Most of the kiwis that they sell are grown by impoverished farmers, village collectives, and leading enterprises and cooperatives in Wugong county. Last year, nearly 100,000 tons of the fruit were produced in the county, which helped more than 80,000 people increase their incomes by more than 7,000 yuan (US$990) each.The industry is an important part of poverty eradication in Wugong. The COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected the Spring Festival sales period this year, however, which was detrimental at first.

Accounts were created on Taobao, WeChat, and other e-commerce systems, which made it possible for farmers to sell their crops without having to leave their local areas. Twenty majore-commerce companies resumed their operations in Wugong on Feb. 6. “We ship almost 80,000 parcels per day,” stated Wang Shaohua who is in charge of the Wugong branch of the Zhongtong Express Company. His branch handled more than 3 million shipments of agricultural products in February, which is 2.8 times more than the figure for the same period last year. Every day there are over 100 delivery vehicles departing from Zhongtong in Wugong to locations all over China.

“Be sure to order Shangluo chestnuts from the hinterland of the Qinling mountains before they run out!” Liu Qingmin, director of the Shangluo agriculture and rural affairs bureau, spoke while looking at a webcam recently. Liu was promoting chestnuts, walnuts, konjacs, and other specialty products that are produced in the city as part of a special event meant to assist farmers in overcoming the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which logged 1,037,000 viewers. Products that had been unsalable quickly became popular. Twenty tons of fresh chestnuts and 7,836 bags of jujubes were sold. A total of 8,100 orders were placed, with sales revenue reaching 518,000 yuan (US$73,245), according to the records kept by the platform that Liu was using.

Shaanxi has identified 735 products worth more than 3 billion yuan (US$424.2 million) as being useful for alleviating poverty thus far, and is making greater efforts to increase sales of apples, kiwis, and some other products so as to reduce inventory  to 43 percent of what are on hand. “Identification and accreditation of poverty reduction products will be standardized, efforts will be made to expand income channels for impoverished people, and poverty eradication achievements will be consolidated in Shaanxi in order to improve efficiency, enhance production and marketing, and better connect supply and demand so as to facilitate poverty alleviation via consumption,” Wen explained.

Attracting investment online boosts industrial development, poverty alleviation

General Manager of Singapore Nayang Co. Ltd. Chen Zhenwei recently signed a contract, involving a total of 350 million yuan (US$49.49 million) of investment, with the management committee of the Yan'an High-Tech Zone regarding the creation of a production base where environmental protection materials will be manufactured. He commented: “I have been to Yan’an many times, so I always feel at home when I am there. The city features an excellent investment environment and sound service, which puts me at ease.”

Intelligent online information systems have been fully utilized in Yan’an in order to promote investment during the pandemic prevention and control period. A signing ceremony video conference was held on the morning of March 11. Fifteen agreements involving total investment of 5.68 billion yuan (US$803.15 million) were signed with enterprises from Singapore as well as domestic locations  including  Shenzhen, Guangdong, and Xinjiang. 

Also recently Xi’an city witnessed a special signing ceremony video conference covering key Xi'an Economic and Technological Development Zone investment projects. Agreements related to 20 projects involving a total of 22.72 billion (US$3.206 billion) of investment were finalized in just an hour, including a project involving more than 10 billion yuan (US$1.414 billion) of investment and three involving more than 1 billion yuan (US$141.1 million) of investment. A similar event also took place in Xianyang city, relating to the signing of 44 contracts on projects of advanced manufacturing, biomedicine, electronic displays, new building materials, and other industries. These projects involve 26.22 billion yuan (US$3.708 billion) of total investment, consequently injecting vitality into the city’s high-quality development. The Ankang municipal government also held an online investment promotion conference. Fourteen contracts related to equipment manufacturing, selenium-rich food, plush toy production, biomedicine, and other industries and worth a total of 2.1 billion yuan (US$296.94 million) were signed in ceremonies that were broadcast live by Ankang TV and other media outlets.

Wen concluded: “Agreements related to 34 poverty alleviation projects involving a total of about 9.11 billion yuan (US$1.29 billion) of investment in Shaanxi have been reached using the new online model thus far. Various efforts have been made to help enterprises that employ impoverished people resume their operations and to attract more to the province, which has made the sector stronger and more sustainable. It is estimated that members of more than 160,000 households that are registered as impoverished will be able to find jobs in their local vicinities and in nearby areas.”

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