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Editorial : Private enterprises in Guangdong need to go further

【明報專訊】THE Chinese economy is under downward pressure, and the Guangdong economy cannot help but be affected by this. Pressure from both the international and domestic markets is adding to the plight of private enterprises in particular, as they are by nature in a less favourable position compared to state enterprises. In view of this, the central government has announced measures to help private enterprises, while the Guangdong authorities have also implemented "Ten measures for the private enterprise economy". But it has to be recognised that the boom of private enterprises in Guangdong in the past was a result of a market largely free of restrictions. As private enterprises now have to develop towards high output value and high technology, the improvement of market conditions alone can no longer be a causative factor. It is the government's guidance and support through policies that they are more in want of, as such policies are the only thing that can take the private enterprise economy to a new stage so that it can contribute even more to Guangdong's and China's economies.

Private enterprises account for 54% of the whole province's economic growth and supply 40% of the jobs in the province. They also pay more than half of the province's taxes. Guangdong is at the top of the country's many economic indicators. If anything untoward happens to Guangdong, the repercussions will be felt nationwide. And the private enterprise economy is the bellwether of the Guangdong economy. A hard time for private entrepreneurs in Guangdong will not bode well for entrepreneurs across the nation. That the Guangdong economy has been able to develop so rapidly since Reform and Opening Up was launched 40 years ago was mainly attributable to a business environment largely free of restrictions. Driven by the market and gains, entrepreneurs, quite naturally, came up with ways to generate profits. However, the insufficiency or absence of government supervision has resulted in a kind of development that has been rough and disorderly, and this has become a weakness of the corporations when they try to stave off changes in the external circumstances. The continued rises in wages, land prices, tax revenues and interest costs are gradually taking the lustre off the hard-won reputation as the world's factory, while the trade war between China and the US has increased the uncertainties and precipitated the exodus of the manufacturing industry. Export trade in Guangdong, which is of great importance to the whole country, grew by just 2.4% in the first ten months of this year with four months of negative growth. It is private entrepreneurs that have taken the brunt of the situation.

The government did not respond to this with inaction. In the forum of Guangdong private entrepreneurs convened early this month, the provincial government announced "Ten measures for the private enterprise economy", which include lowering electricity and natural gas charges for industrial use and the promise to lower the cost of land for industrial use and social security charges. All in all, the measures are intended to lower operating costs for corporations. While the private enterprise economy accounts for 60% of the nation's GDP, they constitute just 25% of the borrowings nationwide. The national government has also promised to tackle the long-standing difficulty faced by private enterprises trying to get a loan.

After President Xi Jinping convened a forum in Beijing and declared in a high-profile manner that private entrepreneurs are "on our side", leaders of the Guangdong government have followed suit by convening a forum as well and announcing new measures. It is hoped that all this is not just a response to what the central government has done, but in fact shows that the Guangdong government truly treats private entrepreneurs as those "on its side" and will steer them through transformation and growth so as to give a new impetus to the Guangdong economy.

明報社評2018.11.26:廣東民企要更上層樓 新時代需新政策扶持

全國經濟有下行壓力,廣東經濟也不能獨善其身,特別是民營企業,它們先天條件不如國企央企,要面對國際和國內市場的壓力,猶如雪上加霜。中央對此已經頒布了輔助措施,廣東也實施了「民營經濟十條」,然而,必須認識到一點,過去廣東民營企業蓬勃發展,得益於市場環境的寬鬆,而今民營企業要向高產值和高科技方向發展,單是改善市場環境已經不足以成為促進因素,更加需要在政策上加以引導和扶持,才能讓民營經濟更上層樓,為廣東和國家的經濟做出更大貢獻。

廣東民營經濟對全省經濟增長貢獻率達到54%,為全省提供就業崗位40%,稅收一半以上來自民營企業。廣東的多項經濟指標都排在全國首位,廣東有任何風吹草動,都會影響全國,而民營經濟又是廣東經濟的風向標,廣東的民營企業家遇到困難,全國的企業家日子也不會好過。廣東經濟在改革開放40年得以長足發展,主要是依靠提供寬鬆的經營環境,在市場和利益驅動下,企業家自然會想出盈利的法子,然而,政府少管或者不管形成粗放型和沒有秩序的發展,同時又成為企業抵禦外部環境變化的弱點,近年工資、土地、稅收和利息成本不斷上升,好不容易贏得的世界工廠美名逐漸失色,加上中美貿易戰帶來不確定的因素增加,加速了製造業的外遷,廣東的出口貿易在全國舉足輕重,但今年頭10個月,增長率只有2.4%,而且還有4個月是負增長,民營企業家首當其衝。

政府對此並非無動於中,本月初召開的廣東民營企業家座談會上,省政府宣布推出「民營經濟十條」的實惠措施,包括降低工業用電和天然氣收費,還承諾降低工業土地價格和社保徵費,總體來說是為企業降低成本。在全國範圍,雖然民營經濟佔生產總值的六成,但民營企業貸款只佔25%,針對民營企業貸款難的老問題,國家也承諾改善。

國家主席習近平在北京召開座談會,高調宣布民營企業家是「自己人」,廣東高層也蕭規曹隨,召開座談會,並頒布新政策,希望這不只是回應中央的做法,而是真正的待民營企業家為「自己人」,引領他們轉型、壯大,為廣東的經濟添磚加瓦。

■Glossary

precipitate : to make sth, especially sth bad, happen suddenly or sooner than it should

borrowing : the money that a company, an organisation or a person borrows; the act of borrowing money

impetus : sth that encourages a process or activity to develop more quickly

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