China’s State Council, or cabinet, has issued guidelines encouraging deeper links between online businesses and bricks-and-mortar stores, pledging to cut red tape and promote tax and financial support to make it happen.
The guidelines, dated September 18 and published late on Tuesday, were cast as a way to spur consumption and economic activity. They come at a time when China’s economic growth is at its slowest in years.
“Online-offline interaction has become one of the most dynamic forms of economic activity. It is a new channel for promoting consumption and a bright spot in innovation and development of the flow of commerce,” it said.
“Developing online-offline interaction is very important to the transformation of physical stores, the promotion of business model innovation, the enhancement of new driving forces in economic development and in serving the entrepreneurship and innovation among the masses.”
The guidelines encouraged quicker uptake of mobile Internet, big data, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, the made-in-China Beidou Navigation System, global positioning, and biological identification in authentication, direct payment and logistics.
The government encouraged partnerships between Internet companies and physical stores in order to combine their advantages.
It also promoted the development of e-commerce and improved logistics in rural areas, and encouraged the merging of domestic and overseas markets via the Internet.
State news agency Xinhua said the government would also unveil financial support for the sector.