Govt venture capital for emerging industries to be doubled
Last Updated: 2014-05-22 07:00 | China Daily
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China pledged to double the amount of government-led venture capital for emerging industries, another "minimal measure" taken to encourage market vitality as the deceleration of the economy continues.

The executive meeting of the State Council also decided to set up a national venture capital fund for emerging industries, in a bid to better ease the financing difficulties of small and medium-sized startup enterprises.

The move is set to benefit dozens of industries, including energy conservation, information technology, biology and new medicine, new energy, advanced materials, aerospace, marine industry, advanced equipment manufacturing, gree n vehicles and high-tech service industries, according to a regulation on the use of the government-led venture capital.

Jointly initiated in 2011 by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance, government-led venture capital accepts applications once a year.

Although it is unable at the moment to estimate how much the government has invested so far, the Beijing Finance Bureau said the city has seen 5.15 billion yuan ($826 million) being approved for 19 different projects from 2011 to 2013.

Under the plan, each fund would have a minimum 250 million yuan, but the regulation did not give details on how many funds were expected to be set up. Oversight of the funds is being entrusted to professional management institutions each with at least three experienced venture capital investment managers.

"China is now standing at a critical stage in that its economic growth must be driven by innovation," according to the statement released after the State Council's meeting.

Industrial upgrading and restructuring requires the support of venture capital, and the government-led venture capital has the leverage to encourage more nonpublic funds to jointly support startup enterprises in strategic emerging industries and high-tech industries, the statement said.

The society should build an environment that can "tolerate failures and encourage the innovative spirit".

The meeting on Wednesday also announced the start of construction of 172 major water conservancy projects this year through 2020.

After completion, the projects will increase water supply capacity by 80 billion cubic meters a year, improving water saving and enlarging irrigation areas.

Hydropower projects with "overall and strategic importance" are especially needed in water-deficient areas such as central and western China, the statement said. Such investments will alleviate poverty and stabilize the economy, the statement said.

Although the statement released after the meeting did not specify the names of the water utilities, it said nonpublic funds are encouraged to invest in the construction and management of the projects, and these projects will be done either within the recent two years or be included in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) of water resources.

The Ministry of Water Resources started to draft the plan earlier this month. The plan will guide the development of water utilities in China from 2016 to 2020 and will focus on protecting water security, experts said.

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