SHANGHAI, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Shanghai on Saturday rolled out 28 measures to cushion companies against the impact of the novel coronavirus epidemic, according to a press conference of the municipality.
Supportive measures include strengthening fiscal support to enterprises that have contributed to the fight against the epidemic, reducing or exempting their rent and introducing tax incentives. Their employees will also enjoy lower rates of medical insurance payments.
According to Ma Chunlei, head of the Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission, the new measures will be implemented on Saturday and will be extended for another three months after the end of the epidemic.
Foreign companies will also benefit from the related supportive policies and be treated on the same footing as other types of enterprises, said Xu Wei, spokesperson for the Shanghai municipal government.
"Shanghai is working to create a fair and just business environment to make sure that foreign investors and foreign-invested companies can share the same national treatment," said Xu.
The Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization has worked with the Shanghai Branch of the China Development Bank and the Bank of Shanghai to establish an emergency fund for manufacturers of emergency materials. It has raised 5 billion yuan (about 714.3 million U.S. dollars), said to Liu Ping, chief engineer of the commission.
"So far, we have received fund applications worth a total of 7.45 billion yuan from 85 companies. Some of them have already received loans," Liu said.
Shanghai will also provide subsidies to support technological projects and investments that will boost the production capacity of epidemic preventive materials such as masks and protective suit, said Liu.
The city is also working to exempt charges for online office service for six months.
A number of Chinese cities, including Beijing, Qingdao and Suzhou, have rolled out supportive measures to help businesses tide over the ongoing epidemic.
The city of Beijing, for instance, has promised to enhance financial support for loans to firms that face temporary difficulties amid the coronavirus outbreak, vowing that the loans will not be suspended or withdrawn.
It also extended the collection period of social insurance premiums to the end of July to allow companies in tourism, catering and other hard-hit industries to delay their payment.