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US$11.3 Mln Subsidy Given to Beijing Enterprises

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A government subsidy worth 77.4 million yuan (US$11.3 million) was granted on Thursday to 12 companies in Beijing experiencing financial difficulties. They were the first to enjoy government aid after Beijing municipality announced a string of countermeasures to the ongoing global financial crisis last month.

The 12 subsidized enterprises include SMC (China) Co., Ltd, Lotte (China) Foods Co., Ltd, and Semiconductor Manufacturing International (Beijing) Corporation. All of them are based in the Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area (BDA). The highest subsidy for a single enterprise reached 11.7 million yuan while the lowest amounted to 566,000 yuan.

According to Beijing's regulations, an enterprise is eligible for subsidies on employment and social insurances if it has a growth drop of more than 30 percent with a staff cut of less than 5 percent.

All export-oriented businesses covered in this subsidy program have suffered hardship amidst the global financial turmoil. Nearly 10,000 workers are expected to benefit from the program.

According to the BDA Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, the total staff number of the top 50 companies in the area has increased by 5.8 percent since February. About 60 percent of employees in labor dispatch agencies have returned to posts. "Companies can reduce labor costs and improve the quality of their workforce with government support in employment, social insurance and training courses," said an official of the bureau.

Beijing Finance Bureau has advanced 200 million yuan to the Social Security Fund Management Center. This action will greatly shorten the waiting time for companies. "In the past, businesses had to wait two months for the arrival of government aid, but this time money is earmarked and will be available for use within 15 days," said the director of the Employment Department of Beijing Human Resources and Social Security Bureau.

Currently, governments of other districts and counties in Beijing are actively publicizing the policy and helping eligible enterprises to fill applications.

"Compared with the same period last month, our sales volume has dropped by 60 percent," said the manager of Nolato Mobile Communication Polymers (Beijing) Co Ltd, one of the 12 subsidized enterprises. Instead of massive staff cuts, the company signed contracts with its employees, decreasing their salary by 50 percent but still paying their social insurance to the previous standards.

( April 11, 2009)

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