03/03/2021, 09.35
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Beijing, three million small businesses closed due to Covid

Small business owners in the tourist provinces badly hit. The Caixin Index on services is down, a sign that Chinese companies are laying off. The new coronavirus outbreaks plunge the catering and wellness sectors into crisis. The government is not expected to give any indications on the expected growth in 2021.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - At least three million small businesses closed down between January and November 2020, according to data contained in a study by the analysis company Qichacha. The findings of the report have been carried in recent days by various Chinese and Hong Kong media.

Small-sized companies have suffered the greatest damage from the pandemic emergency, without benefiting from the country's moderate economic recovery: + 2.3%, which - apart from Taiwan - is the highest economic growth among the main global economies.

The small business owners most affected are those in the provinces of Jiangsu, Guangdong and Shandong. Tourism, wellness, catering and training are the sectors that have encountered the greatest difficulties.

The effects of the closures are being felt at the employment level. According to official data from 2019, a small employer employs an average of 2.37 workers. The Caixin / Markit index on the services sector fell to 51.5 points in February: the month before it was at 52, up continuously since April 2020. Above 50 indicates that the economy is expanding; below this level it signals a contraction. However, the secondary employment index fell to 47.9: the confirmation that companies are laying off.

The loss of jobs is caused by the reappearance of Covid-19 in several provinces. Suffering from health measures such as quarantine and physical distancing, the service sector has been slower to recover than industry.

With a still uncertain economic picture, most analysts think that the government will not provide the data on the growth forecast for the economy this year as well. The national economic plans will be presented on March 5 at the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress. Premier Li Keqiang will illustrate the new five-year plan (2021-2025) and the plan for the next 15 years: President Xi Jinping's goal is to double China's GDP and per capita GDP by 2035.

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