Govt ramps up efforts to support sci-tech startups
Regulators guide more resources from financial sector for innovative players
The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission's Anhui and Tianjin offices guided banks and insurers in their jurisdictions to increase supply of financial resources to innovation-intensive companies, in keeping up with the increased necessity of technological breakthroughs to continue pushing economic growth.
In Anhui province, the value added of the high-tech manufacturing sector accounted for 45.7 percent of the total value added of industrial enterprises with an annual primary business revenue of at least 20 million yuan ($2.78 million), said Zhou Jialong, director of the CBIRC's Anhui office.
In the past two years, the outstanding balance of loans to technology companies in Anhui increased 105 percent to 312.8 billion yuan, and the number of tech firms that received loans grew by 157 percent. The sum assured in science and technology insurance policies rose 119 percent to 297.1 billion yuan.
Under the guidance of the provincial regulator, banks launched financial products specially designed for early-stage tech ventures. The products are targeted at companies whose business models are asset and mortgage-light, and whose development cycles are long.
Some banks in Anhui participated in an "investment-loan linkage" pilot program. Apart from granting loans to 111 tech innovation companies, the banks also partnered with 14 equity investment institutions, which made accompanying equity investments totaling 1.76 billion yuan, said Zhou.
"We strengthened cooperation among banks, insurers, industrial investment funds and equity investment institutions and ramped up investment in tech companies via bonds, investment banking and wealth management. In addition, we have improved the competence of banks and insurers in the area of sci-tech financial services and helped them build professional teams specializing in offering such services, as well as enhance management in terms of funds transfer pricing, financial product approval and performance evaluation," he said.
Anhui is not alone in stepping up efforts to promote technological financing. Tianjin is also encouraging banks to provide comprehensive financial solutions to tech companies in hopes of resolving bottlenecks in the development of key technologies.
At the end of June, the outstanding balance of loans offered by banks in Tianjin to specialized enterprises that produce cutting-edge products, also nicknamed "little giants", amounted to 20.8 billion yuan. Insurers launched fresh insurance products to provide risk coverage for companies focusing on the development and manufacturing of unmanned aerial vehicles and robots, said Zhao Yulong, director of the CBIRC's Tianjin office.
As of Sept 22, Tianjin was home to 130 national-level "little giants "and 378 "gazelle" companies, or high-potential startups. The number of nationally recognized, sci-tech-focused small and medium-sized enterprises exceeded 9,000 in the city, said Zhao.
The banking and insurance regulator in Tianjin has also launched policies to support high-quality development of the manufacturing sector. Banks and insurers were encouraged to set up subbranches specializing in financial services for 12 key industrial chains, including information technology, integrated circuits and high-end equipment, thus giving new impetus to the country's efforts to overhaul its industrial base.
As of the end of August, the outstanding balance of loans to these 12 spotlighted industrial chains reached 88.3 billion yuan, up 39.4 percent year-on-year, Zhao said.