Shanghai restarts businesses and services in phases, with more than 10,000 commercial points in operation

Shanghai residents line up to shop at a supermarket amid the resumption of business. Photo: VCG

With supermarkets, malls and convenience stores in Shanghai scheduled to reopen from Monday, flights between Shanghai and some other cities will resume, and companies like Tesla and SAIC Volkswagen will resume production and even exports of their vehicles, the city ​​with a population of about 25 million is regaining its economic strength again.

The resumption of the market, which comes after nearly two months of business suspension, shows the government’s determination to strike a balance between epidemic control and economic recovery.

Shanghai is set to restart business and service activities in phases from Monday, with shopping malls, supermarkets, pharmacies, wet markets, catering and hairdressing services to resume offline operations in an orderly manner, said Chen Tong, Lt. Mayor of Shanghai, at a press conference. briefing on Sunday.

The resumption of commercial and business activities will proceed in phases on the principle of orderly opening, limited flow, effective control and classified management. Special passages will be designated for businesses to limit the flow of staff, while wholesale food markets will also be able to conduct contactless transactions to control traffic.

According to Chen, the number of business outlets in operation in the city has increased to 10,625 now from the lowest number of less than 1,400, and the daily number of delivery orders reaches 5 million.

A vendor surnamed Lin who sells meat products at a grocery store in Minhang district told the Global Times on Sunday that the grocery store has obtained permission as a supplier of daily necessities and will reopen on Monday.

To apply for the permit, the applicant must provide business licenses, negative nucleic acid test and antigen test results, and other application materials. They must also perform nucleic acid tests regularly after the resumption of business.

“I hope the epidemic can be contained and the lockdown lifted as soon as possible, as my fellow vendors and I do not sleep well in the dilapidated store premises and have to eat instant noodles or meals shared by nearby residents, who it’s quite difficult,” Lin said. She has been sleeping in the tent for the last two months.

As the city releases the “pause button” and expands the scope of business resumption, it is especially interested in helping business-related businesses restart operations. Gu Jun, director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, said at the press conference that Shanghai has drawn up a business resumption guideline for key foreign trade companies and released two batches of “white lists” for 704 leading foreign trade companies. foreign trade, covering retail trade. , services, headquarters of foreign companies and port services.

Some 63 percent of the first batch of 142 whitelisted business firms have resumed operations, and the second batch of 562 firms is preparing to restart. The third batch of 820 whitelisted companies will be released soon, Gu said.

phased reopening

“Pausing the ‘trade button’ in Shanghai for too long will not only lead to disruption of global supplies, as Shanghai is a leading global logistics hub, but also poses the risk of supply chains shifting out of China. If that happens, it is definitely much more difficult to bring those industries back even after the coronavirus is under control,” Xi Junyang, a professor at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times on Sunday.

The companies are actively coordinating with the government’s arrangements on the resumption of work.

South Korean cosmetics giant Amore Pacific, for example, told the Global Times in a written statement that the first batch of employees have gradually returned to the company’s factory in Shanghai’s Jiading district to resume work.

The company has taken multiple measures to ensure the stability of its business operation, including closed-loop management of its employees, the designation of special driving routes and unloading sites for its logistics vehicles, as well as the use of warehouses and company logistics centers in other cities to relieve logistics pressure.

“COVID will not affect our confidence in China’s long-term development,” said Mike Hwang, president of Amorepacific China.

Tesla will also reportedly export the second batch of vehicles numbering around 4,000 to foreign markets, after it already shipped around 4,700 electric cars following the resumption of work on May 11, a report by noted on Sunday. .

In addition to trading companies, many industries are gradually returning to normal after a period of downtime.

Shanghai-based Spring Airlines and Juneyao Airlines will resume services from Monday amid a gradual decline in the number of daily new positive infections in the city.

Juneyao Airlines told the Global Times it would resume flights between Shanghai Pudong and Fujian’s Longyan from Monday, the company’s first domestic passenger flight from Shanghai since the city’s closed-loop management.

Shanghai’s manufacturing sector is picking up the pace of work resumption. Overall, nearly 50 percent of Shanghai’s 9,000 large-scale industrial enterprises have resumed work, a local government official said on Friday.

As one of the companies in the first batch of the whitelisted companies, SAIC’s production line has resumed production and all staff are under closed-loop management, a staff member told the Global Times on Sunday. of the company surnamed Shi.

According to Shi, the company has been under network management at the critical time of epidemic prevention and control to ensure the safety of personnel and speed recovery and improve supply chain capacity. The company shares epidemic prevention and control knowledge through WeChat and offers psychological counseling courses to help employees relax and gain confidence.

return point

The accelerated pace to guide Shanghai’s business activities back to normal operation is a reflection of the government’s eagerness to prevent domestic economic growth from slowing further, as the economic suspension of the Chinese financial and logistics hub has slowed growth. in the Yangtze River Delta, and is expected to exert some impact on China’s overall economic growth as well.

“As Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta are important production bases in China, economic stagnation in those regions will be a big drag on China’s production and industrial performance,” said Cong Yi, a professor at the University of Finance and Tianjin Economy, to Global Timetables on Sunday.

This has already appeared in recent economic statistics. For example, many cities in eastern China’s Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces saw double-digit year-over-year declines in government revenue in April, including Suzhou, Hangzhou and Ningbo.

China’s export growth in April, which was 3.9 percent, also fell short of market expectations.

Therefore, the resumption of economic activities in Shanghai could bring about a turning point in the recent downward economic trend, as China’s economy is expected to recover in late May or June, experts said.

“The resumption of work in Shanghai is a sign that the government is taking measures to offset the impact of the COVID-19 situation on the economy in the second quarter,” Cong said, forecasting that second-quarter GDP growth should be of about 4 percent, compared to 4.8 percent. in the first trimester.

CITIC Futures predicted in a report released on April 30 that second-quarter GDP would rise 4.2 percent year on year.

According to him, once the pandemic is fully controlled, China will provide a strong stimulus policy package to boost the economy in the second half of this year.

Xi Junyang agreed that the negative influence of the COVID-19 outbreaks will peak in the second quarter, with April-June GDP growth falling to around 3 percent and the consumer inflation rate rising. to around 2.5. But with the economic resumption in place, the economy will start to recover from June.

“A full recovery will take another two to three months, as the city will remain strict in controlling and preventing the pandemic, and it is difficult for the economy to return to pre-pandemic levels. But a rebound is certain.” Xi said.

The economists put forward a series of suggestions at the 2022 Tsinghua PBCSF Chief Economists Forum that was held in Beijing on Saturday. Yu Yongding, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China should consider expansionary fiscal and monetary policies to stimulate domestic demand and stimulate imports, as well as increase imports of strategic commodities and goods.

Guan Tao, chief global economist at BOC International, also said that with China’s large economic size, broad political space and room for manoeuvre, China should have the confidence, capacity and conditions to meet current challenges.

“The key is to do China’s own business, stabilize the macro economy, and maintain China’s leading role in pandemic prevention/control and economic recovery,” Guan said.

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