County in E China encourages business startups to create more jobs, help more locals become better-off

A customer tries on cloths with the help of a smart dressing mirror at Xiaohuagua Garment E-commerce Co., Ltd. in Suixi county, east China’s Anhui province. (Photo by Wan Shanchao/People’s Daily Online)

Suixi county, east China’s Anhui province, has supported business startups and encouraged such companies to create more jobs and help more local residents become better-off.


Standing in front of a smart dressing mirror for seconds, a customer sees his virtual images trying on different matching clothes by pressing a button on the right side of the mirror. That’s what was seen at Xiaohuagua Garment E-commerce Co., Ltd. in Suixi county.


“The smart dressing mirror is a product jointly developed by us and another company in Shenzhen. It greatly saves customers’ time to try on clothes and improves purchasing efficiency,” the company’s head Ren Jie told the People’s Daily, unfolding the story of how he started his business.


Five years ago, Ren couldn’t even imagine running his own company. At that time, the man and his wife were laid off from a printing and dyeing mill due to restructuring of the plant. He then worked out-of-town for a living while his wife stayed at home to take care of their two young children.


“In those days, I missed home most of all. I felt guilty about not being able to take care of my children, especially when they got sick,” Ren recalled. The man decided to return to Suixi the next year.


As he grasped certain knowledge of clothing at the printing and dyeing mill and gained experience in e-commerce sector as a migrant worker, Ren established a garment company engaged in cross-border e-commerce business together with his former colleagues.


“At the beginning, I had trouble deciding the location of the company due to a lack of capital,” the man said. He then considered building his company in a startup park for returned migrant workers in the county.


Sponsored and planned by the government of Suixi town of the county, the startup park was officially put into use in 2017.


Although he wasn’t sure whether he would succeed, Ren tried reaching Cai Haifeng, who is responsible for the park’s operation and management.


“Much to my surprise, I was offered a place and even exempted from three years of rent,” said the man, who renamed his company as Xiaohuagua and officially landed it in the park at the end of 2017.


The county’s commerce bureau stipulated that companies will be granted rewards and subsidies according to a certain proportion as long as their annual sales reach the prescribed amount, Ren said, adding that his company received 100,000 yuan ($15,277) of rewards in 2018 and 2019, respectively.


Meanwhile, the county’s human resource bureau rewards a subsidy of 1,000 yuan per person his company recruits, according to the man.


“To stabilize employment, the local government allocated 40,000 yuan as subsidies to my company to pay employees’ salaries during the critical period of COVID-19 epidemic control this year, significantly easing the financial burden of the company,” Ren said.


So far, 60 micro and small startups and six startup teams have settled in the park, according to Cai, adding that the output value of companies in the park stood at 125 million yuan last year, including about 85 million yuan from startups established by returnees.


To encourage and support mass innovation and entrepreneurship, Suixi county has continuously optimized the environment for entrepreneurship in recent years, improved favorable policies and encouraged job creation through business startups.


Although the sky darkened at 6:00 p.m., a poverty alleviation workshop under Suixi Yilin Garment Co., Ltd. in Linnan village, Linhuan town of the county, was still ablaze with lights, as workers were busy with production.


“Pay attention to details and remove the lint off socks to ensure product quality,” said Hu Li, chairman of Suixi Yilin Garment Co., Ltd., who was inspecting the workshop.


The workshop has recently received a batch of orders from overseas customers and the employees are working around the clock, the woman said.


Hu used to be a migrant worker. After she learnt about her hometown’s policy on startups, the woman, who had long planned to start her own business, returned to Suixi in 2013 and set up a cotton yarn processing factory.


Thanks to the local government’s policies and her efforts, the factory has gained better returns day by day.


“As I embrace a better life now, I want to repay the society and help more fellow residents become better-off, ” she said, who is grateful that the local government offered great support to her when she first started the business.


Hu shared her idea with Zhang Chengjian, deputy director of the employment center at the county’s human resource bureau.


“We were actually encouraging labor-intensive enterprises for poverty alleviation workshops to employ impoverished people, which exactly suited the needs of Hu,” Zhang said.


In November 2017, Hu established Suixi Yilin Garment Co., Ltd., which mainly produces products to be exported such as socks and bags.


“The county government converted an abandoned school into a poverty alleviation workshop for me and granted a subsidy of 500 yuan for every poor resident I employed,” the woman said, noting that 26 registered impoverished employees in the workshop have shaken off poverty.


So far, nine companies in Suixi have set up poverty alleviation workshops, offering jobs to 237 people, including 87 impoverished laborers.


The county has also witnessed over 12,000 new private companies and more than 60,000 self-employed traders, including over 30,000 returnees, creating about 270,000 jobs through business startups.


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