Fear of Infection Slowing China's Return to Work

Caixin: Dilemma for Chinese SMEs: Resume Business But Risk Spreading Virus
Businesses are caught in a dilemma. Facing cash flow pressures, they are eager to restart their operations to make up the losses suffered during the closure, but they also face the risk of virus spreading among their workers once factories reopen.

China had 18.07 million SMEs at the end of 2018, accounting for 99.8% of all companies. If these companies can regain their footing, employment and the economy will stabilize, Zhang said.

Small private business owners incur expenses for labor, rent, and utilities even while closed. For example, rent and utilities for restaurants could account for 15-20% of their total costs, 30% for barber shops and small retailers, and as much as 50% for small mom-and-pop grocery stores, Tang Jun, deputy director of the State Administration for Market Regulation, said at the press conference.

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