Guangdong province, the economic powerhouse of South China, has improved government procurement policies to help small and medium-sized enterprises expand, according to a recent circular issued by the provincial government.
Under the new policies, government procurements worth less than 2 million yuan ($320,000) or engineering projects worth less than 4 million yuan will be reserved for SMEs.
On larger procurement projects, 40 percent will be reserved for SMEs, the circular said.
"We will also promote consumption to expand businesses domestically and overseas by issuing coupons," said Luo Lianjin, an official with the Guangdong Provincial Commerce Department.
Luo said businesses in industries such as cultural tourism, catering, accommodations and retail that have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will be given government subsidies to help them through difficulties.
During this year's Spring Festival, several cities in the province, including Guangzhou, Foshan, Dongguan and Jiangmen, issued vouchers to consumers.
Guangdong has more than 15 million market entities, accounting for about a 10th of the national total, according to a provincial government source.
Of those, more than 6.3 million are SMEs, and 8.3 million are individually or privately owned.
SMEs are the driving force behind Guangdong's socioeconomic development but face rising costs and operational difficulties due to higher raw materials prices and logistical costs, sporadic resurgences of COVID-19 and the downturn in the global economy, the circular said.
"Implementation of preferential policies and measures will further stimulate the vitality and creativity of SMEs and privately owned businesses," Wang Xi, vice-governor of Guangdong, told a recent news conference.
The 25-article circular outlined relief and support policies, such as the reduction of production and operational costs, the exploration of market demand and the protection of the rights and interests of SMEs and privately owned businesses, as well as the provision of flexible and precise funding.
Addressing employment, the circular said the province will launch additional training programs for Cantonese cuisine chefs, skilled workers and housekeepers.
Since their launch in 2018, the programs have trained more than 7.67 million people across the province, helping 2.36 million people find jobs or start their own businesses.
"They have achieved progress in stabilizing employment," said Chen Yiwei, head of the Guangdong Provincial Human Resources and Social Security Department.