First city ranking for government-business relations released
The first city ranking for government-business relationship in China has recently been released by a state-backed think tank. According to the research report based on the ranking, a “scientific and unbiased” system has been developed to evaluate politics-business relations in different areas, which is known to be crucial to cultivating favorable business environment.

The National Academy of Development and Strategy, Renmin University of China, one of the top think tanks in the country, released its City Ranking by Government-Business Relations 2017 report on Monday, which is hailed as the first-ever business climate survey that has zeroed in on 285 Chinese cities. Dongguan in South China's Guangdong province ranks the first among all cities, while Shanghai ranks first among all provinces and municipalities directly under the central government.

Since the nationwide anti-graft campaign launched after the 18th Party Congress, great importance has been attached to government-business relations. Recently it's widely reported by Chinese media that several famed entrepreneurs have posted complaints online, claiming that their businesses were exploited and almost dragged into bankruptcy by local governments. On January 3, Premiere Li Keqiang, in a meeting of the State Council, China's highest executive organ, asked to develop a system for evaluating business climate as soon as possible.

Drawing experience from international practice, the ranking's research team has taken mainly two approaches to do the evaluation—one is “intimacy”, and the other is “innocence”. According to the report, the level of intimacy between government and business could be reflected in three indicators—if a government cares about local businesses, what are the services they could provide and how heavy are the taxes. About innocence, researchers tried to find if governments are clean and have transparent policies.

Among the whole 285 Chinese cities being surveyed, Dongguan, an important industrial city in the Pearl River Delta, has taken the top place, beating Shanghai and Beijing. Besides Beijing and Xingtai, a city in North China, all the other listed cities among the top 10 are in southeastern coastal areas.

Evaluated by regions, according to the ranking, East China has gained top performance, followed by northern and southern China, while northeast, central, southwest and northwest China are found to be poor in government-business relations. The findings also indicate that governments in cities with higher administrative ranks are usually better at dealing with the relationship than those with lower ranks, while rich areas in most times could gain higher scores in this than backward ones.

Nie Huihua, an economics professor who led the research, wrote that the team would in the future survey more businesses in a bid to make the evaluation system more fully reflect the new developments in the field.

At the current stage, China is believed by many analysts to be encouraging both private and foreign investors in domestic markets. Last month, Liu He, generally regarded as the mastermind behind president Xi Jinping's supply-side structural reform, addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, promising the country would further open its markets and this year's reform could “exceed the international community's expectations”. 


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