By Wang Wei & Liu Tao, DRC Task Force on "Issues Facing Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: Countermeasures under New Circumstances"
Research Report No.123, 2011
The service system for small and medium-sized enterprises is a system for these enterprises to gain access to such factor resources as information, funds and trained personnel as well as relevant producer services in the course of establishing, operating and developing businesses. A perfect service system is an important infrastructure for the sound development of small and medium-sized enterprises and is also a main channel for the government to implement policies toward small and medium-sized enterprises and allocate policy resources in a concentrated manner .
I. Main Progress Achieved in the Construction of Service System for China's Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
1. Initial formation of the basic framework of the service system for small and medium-sized enterprises
Since the guideline on "nurturing the service system for small and medium-sized enterprises" was put forward at the 4th Plenary Session of the 15th CPC Central Committee held in 1999, China has, through a series of supportive policies, set up an initial framework of the service system with the state-owned service agencies for small and medium-sized enterprises as the mainstay and government-supported social intermediary service agencies (trade associations, chambers of commerce and nonprofit organizations) as the pillar and with the participation of all socialized service entities.
State-owned service agencies for small and medium-sized enterprises are major agencies in the construction of the service system for small and medium-sized enterprises. On the basis of gradually improving public services and separating the direct service functions of small and medium-sized enterprises by the government, such agencies were established with government funds, which provided services to small and medium-sized enterprises free of charge or at the prices lower than those on the market. By 2009, there had been 525 state-owned service agencies for small and medium-sized enterprises across the country and about 1/3 of provinces, regions and municipalities had set up the service agencies at the provincial, municipal and county levels. Added to this, the state-owned service agencies have also joined hands with more than 4,000 socialized service agencies to offer services to small and medium-sized enterprises. The role played by them in integrating social service resources has been brought out.
2. Constantly expanding of services offered by service system
First, the credit guarantee system has taken its initial shape. In 2010, the number of credit guarantee institutions for small and medium-sized enterprises reached 5,547, up by 57 times over 2000. The small and medium-sized enterprises gained a credit guarantee to an accumulative total of 2.5 trillion yuan and the number of enterprises gaining access to the credit reached an accumulative total of 1.12 million yuan. Such institutions have played an important role in alleviating the financial straits and the credit predicament.
Second, the information service networks have been set up at an accelerated pace. So far, the information service system for small and medium-sized enterprises has expanded from a national station in 2000 to 47 provincial stations and 949 subsidiary stations, opening the information channel wider to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Third, the Galaxy Training Program has been carried forward smoothly. Since 2003, the central government has made a total input of approximately 180 million yuan and completed the free centralized training of 300,000 persons, the long-distance net-based training of 500,000 persons and the information-oriented training of 1.1 million persons. Meanwhile, the central government has motivated local governments to put in special funds for the training of nearly 6 million persons. The training has become an important channel for improving the qualities of the management personnel of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Fourth, services for business startups are varied and flexible. From 2003 till now, the central government has arranged a subsidy fund on business guide reaching 72.62 million yuan, providing support for 522 service agencies and offered services to 119,000 business startups and newly-started small businesses.
Fifth, the public service platforms have been set up at a fast pace. Since 2007, the central government has arranged the budgetary special funds and special development funds for the service system for small and medium-sized enterprises totaling 500 million yuan and supported 238 construction projects conducted in regions and industries where small and medium-sized enterprises are concentrated. In addition, 23 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have provided fund support for the construction and operation of the platforms with an earmarked fund of 480 million yuan and 1,481 projects have gained the support.
Sixth, relevant facilitations have been offered to small and medium-sized enterprises in their trade business. In 2000, the State set up the "International Market Exploitation Fund for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises" to subsidize such enterprises to participate in overseas exhibitions and trade activities. Since 2003, the China International Small and Medium Enterprises Fair has been held at regular intervals, furthering the construction of the contact platforms for small and medium-sized enterprises to open up the market. In addition, the State has also actively initiated and encouraged large enterprises to set up relatively stable coordination and supporting relations with small and medium-sized enterprises.
Besides, the service system has also achieved progress in terms of legal service and management consulting and has facilitated the development of both service agencies and small and medium-sized enterprises.
3. Accelerated exploration of service pattern innovations under service system for small and medium-sized enterprises
When advancing the construction of the service system, all localities have made innovative explorations of service patterns by focusing on the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises. For example, innovations are made on mode of order-based purchase of services by small and medium-sized enterprises, namely, small and medium-sized enterprises place orders through questionnaires, phone calls or internet appointments with their specific requirements. To meet the common requirements, the state-owned service agencies for small and medium-sized enterprises organize fine social resources to offer the right special services and follow up and supervise the implementation of services all the way through. For another example, innovations are made on mode of service connection, service alliances or specialized supermarkets are set up for small and medium-sized enterprises, professional service agencies of credit guarantee, management consulting, technology popularization and taxation agency are selected to realize the linkage of small and medium-sized enterprises with excellent service resources and to offer multi-level and diversified services to meet the needs of the enterprises. The innovation on service patterns has improved the ability of the service system to serve small and medium-sized enterprises. Take the state-owned service agencies as an example. In recent years, agencies of this type have served an accumulative total of more than 600,000 small and medium-sized enterprises.
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