Following Shanghai, Beijing to Roll out VAT Reform in July

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Also includes special heads-up for taxpayers in non-pilot areas

Feb. 29 – Following the experiment in Shanghai, the Chinese government has approved Beijing to become the second city that implements a value-added tax (VAT) reform pilot scheme, according to the state-run China National Radio.

Beijing’s tax authorities are in consultation with the city’s 54,000 business tax (BT) payers in order to get prepared for the pilot program set to commence on July 1, 2012. However, it remains unclear how many service sectors will finally be involved in the scheme. In Shanghai – the city that set the first example for such a program – BT impositions are substituted with VAT impositions in six modern service sectors as well as the transportation sector. Continue reading…

Update: Minimum Wage Hikes Across China

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Shanghai, Shandong, Sichuan and Tianjin hike up minimum wage levels in 2012

Feb. 28 – A number of local governments across China have recently announced plans to further raise minimum wage levels in an effort to keep up with the national minimum wage growth target of 13 percent per year, set in the latest 12th Five-Year Plan on Employment Improvement.

Continue reading…

China Law Deskbook Legal Update – Feb. 2012

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Feb. 28 – Jim Zimmerman, the China managing partner of U.S. law firm Sheppard Mullin, is a good friend of China Briefing and is also both the Chairman Emeritus of Amcham China and the author of the China Law Deskbook – considered by many to be the bible of China law. Jim has recently introduced a regular update service to the China Law Deskbook and has kindly given permission for China Briefing to host it here.

Entitled “News and Views from Beijing,” the new February issue is available as a complimentary PDF download by clicking here, and contains details of new laws, regulations, and policy trends. Continue reading…

China Approves 12th Five-Year Plan for Western Regions

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By Julia Gu

Feb. 27 – China’s State Council announced last week that it has approved the 12th Five-Year Plan for Further Promoting the Economy of the Western Regions (“the Plan”), a step that is aimed at narrowing the gap between the country’s wealthy coastal provinces and its under-developed western regions.

Specifically, the Plan will target 12 provinces: Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Chongqing, Shaanxi, Guizhou and Yunnan.

The seven major development goals set by China’s central government are as follows:

  • Increasing economic growth;
  • Expanding infrastructure construction;
  • Improving the ecological environment;
  • Providing better public services;
  • Developing and strengthening local industries;
  • Elevating people’s living standards; and
  • Reforming and opening up the region. Continue reading…

Shenzhen Considers Raising Pension Contribution Rate

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Feb. 27 – China’s southern city of Shenzhen is mulling a plan to lift the employer contribution rate for pension premiums by a further 3 percent, according to the recently released draft version of the “Social Pension Provisions of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone” that is currently open to public opinions.

The new draft provisions would increase the rate of the combined pension contribution – made by both employees and employers – from the existing 18 percent to 21 percent. While the employees’ portion will remain the same at 8 percent under the new payment scheme, the employers would be required to contribute a higher percentage of 13 percent, compared to the existing 10 percent. Continue reading…

New Online Compliance Procedures for Foreign Entities in China

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All FIEs in China must follow new annual examination guidelines with immediate effect

Feb. 24 – All foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) in China are required to participate in the government-conducted 2012 annual cooperative examination which will last from March 1 to June 30 this year.

The annual inspection, designed to ensure that FIEs conduct business in compliance with the country’s legal requirements, is jointly conducted by the following government departments:

  • Local office of the Ministry of Commerce
  • Finance Bureau
  • Administration of Industry and Commerce (AIC)
  • Tax Bureau
  • Customs
  • State Administration of Foreign Exchange
  • Statistics Bureau Continue reading…

China’s Industry Clusters

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Where to source Chinese expertise and academic research from within city clusters around China

Feb. 23 – China originally began clustering its national industries under directives from Chairman Mao Zedong in the early 1950s. This occurred during the Cold War era when it was feared that either Soviet or American attacks on cities such as Beijing and Shanghai could wipe out much of the nation’s industry, centered at that time in these cities. Strategic industries were thus spread across the country to protect against attack and invasion.

The legacy of this today has been that different industrial clusters have developed in different areas of China. In order to develop an effective supply chain, source universities with the right set of talents, and recruit the right type of workers, attention needs to be paid to the regional differences around China as concerns available expertise. Continue reading…

Bank of China Moves to Enter London Metals Exchange

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Feb. 23 – Bank of China International (BOCI) is moving closer to gaining membership on the London Metals Exchange (LME), following authorization by the UK financial regulator.

The possibility of admitting its first Chinese member – from the world’s largest metals market – will likely increase the LME’s trading volumes and add to the bourse’s attraction as a potential takeover target.

The 130-year-old LME – which handled a record US$11.6 trillion of contracts in copper and other industrial metals last year – has been considering a potential sale under the “right conditions” since last year. The metals bourse said last Friday that it had received a “good number” of first-round bids ahead of its board meeting on February 23. Continue reading…

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